I was never very good at academics in school, having the curse to have a slow mind that seems to dwell on how things fit together rather than their composition. I seem to gravitate toward the bigger picture. The problem is that the bigger picture kept getting bigger and bigger. As I look back on eighty-plus years of mostly being too full of myself to focus on Christ, I have developed a passion for trying to make all things new in Christ. My center, Philippians 2:5, informs each day as I try to do God’s will and not my own.
Of the many ideas presented to me by the Holy Spirit, I try to use my penchant for linking all things together with Christ. It makes sense (or more accurately more sense) for me than the view of reality presented by the World: you are born, you learn, you procreate, you eat, you discover the meaning of love, you wonder about what can solve that hole in your heart that seeks something to bring all things together, you die.
I don’t speak for the Holy Spirit. I speak of principles because that is what the Holy Spirit placed before me to see how I would use my talents to make sense out of it. I ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me and listen through all the distractions brought on my Original Sin.
THE VALUE OF PRINCIPLES IN SEEKING GOD EVERY DAY
Some things change every day, and some do not. Principles are such focal points that do not change, but they moderate anything going into them and coming out of them, much like a black hole in science or the US Constitution in political discourse. Principles are those ideas or values we place at the center of our way of thinking against which illuminates all the reality against which all that is. My personal center is Philippians 2:5, with which I begin each Lectio Divina meditation and against which I measure myself in Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict each day. I always come up short when measuring myself against the Christ Principle, which is why I try to convert my false self into the true self as an adopted son (daughter) of the Father. Conversatio morae (conversion of life) is a mindset that helps put my Lay Cistercian practices into perspective. Daily conversion from my false self to my true self is only possible with the energy source from God, not from me nor anything in the world. I get this energy by being in the presence of God in the Cistercian practices and living the charisms (humility, obedience, hospitality, mercy). It is not so much that I demand that God touch my heart as much as it is that I listen with the ear of my heart to what the Holy Spirit directs. The divine energy flows from that which is divine to that which is human, not vice versa. God doesn’t need any human energy to be God. The Psalmist says:
“Listen, my people, I will speak;
Israel, I will testify against you;
God, your God, am I.
8Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
your burnt offerings are always before me.
9I will not take a bullock from your house,
or he-goats from your folds.
10For every animal of the forest is mine,
beasts by the thousands on my mountains.
11I know every bird in the heights;
whatever moves in the wild is mine.
12Were I hungry, I would not tell you,
for mine is the world, and all that fills it.f
13Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of he-goats?
14Offer praise as your sacrifice to God;g
fulfill your vows to the Most High.
15Then call on me on the day of distress;h
I will rescue you, and you shall honor me.”
The energy of God comes from divine nature, not human. There are three principles that God has given to humans whereby they can interpret The Divine Equation and move from their false self to their true self. Here are the three principles that are sources of power that humans marked with the sign of contradiction may claim to propel them to heaven, their destiny, and the final stage of human evolution.
THE GENESIS PRINCIPLE- God inspired the sacred authors (who may not have to know the extent of what they wrote) to identify the first principle of God’s energy, life itself. Here is some thought for your meditation:
Don’t get tripped up by how long it took God to create the world.
God is the author of all life, all matter, all physical energy, all time.
What God made is good, or, another way of saying that, “There was resonance.” Resonance is being what God created as part of nature.
In the case of humans, at some point in their evolution, God selected two persons to be endowed with human nature and the freedom to choose good or evil.
Genesis is the archetypal story for ordinary humans to see how human choice affected how they lived their lives.
God made Adam ( from the soil) and Eve (from Adam’s side) to be pleased and to enjoy The Garden of Eden (Heaven) forever. Because they had reasoned, they had the opportunity to make choices. This choice is the metaphor of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and God said don’t eat of this tree for you will surely die. Everything to this point was in resonance with what it should be according to God’s will.
Something happened that caused this relationship to terminate. Since Adam and Eve are our first progenitors with human reasoning and the freedom to choose what is right, they represent humanity. Saint Paul says it well in Romans 5.
Humanity’s Sin through Adam.12 Therefore, just as through one person sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all, inasmuch as all sinned*—13 for up to the time of the law, sin was in the world, though sin is not accounted when there is no law.i14 But death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin after the pattern of the trespass of Adam, who is the type of the one who was to come.jhttps://bible.usccb.org/bible/romans/5
With God is resonance; that is, everything acts its nature. With Adam and Eve, they made a poor choice, and sin entered the world. This is the beginning of dissonance and the fundamental premise for the rest of the Old Testament until the restoration of this collective dissonance by Adam and Eve is redeemed. Again, St. Paul continues in Chapter 5 of Romans.
Grace and Life through Christ.15But the gift is not like the transgression. For if by that one person’s transgression the many died, how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one person Jesus Christ overflow for the many.16And the gift is not like the result of the one person’s sinning. For after one sin there was the judgment that brought condemnation; but the gift, after many transgressions, brought acquittal.17For if, by the transgression of one person, death came to reign through that one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of justification come to reign in life through the one person Jesus Christ.18In conclusion, just as through one transgression condemnation came upon all, so through one righteous act acquittal and life came to all.k19For just as through the disobedience of one person the many were made sinners, so through the obedience of one the many will be made righteous.l20The law entered in* so that transgression might increase but, where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more,m21so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through justification for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.nhttps://bible.usccb.org/bible/romans/5
This first principle is one where all reality begins to be. The principle of life from which all flows and into which all converge is one of resonance. As described in the Pentateuch, the Genesis principle is a series of stories about the consequences of that Original Sin as history unfolds. Although God did not abandon his people, Israel, there was still dissonance between them. They would never have been able to be made “righteous,” as St. Paul says above unless God Himself would become human and restore resonance once more. This leads me to think of the next principle, The Christ Principle.
THE CHRIST PRINCIPLE
The act by God to become one of us is similar to one of the first principles, that of life. This next evolution of our redemption comes as the person of Jesus Christ, both divine and human. God once more intervened in space and time to re-create us in the image and likeness of Christ. The Christ Principle is that from which all things flow, and into which all reality converges. According to Philippians 2:5-12, Christ saved us from just living and dying by paying the price of our redemption. That word, redemption, is significant because the Hebrew word is gaal. https://biblehub.com/hebrew/1350.htm It means a kinsman goes to the pawnshop and buys back the pawn ticket to redeem that which sold. This kinsman is Jesus, who is both divine and human, and he must pay the price to repurchase us. The price for our redemption is to complete the act of love which Adam and Eve destroyed by their one choice. This price is to suffer and die on a cross, to offer his life as a ransom for the many. It is the ultimate sign of contradiction that God would submit to such indignity. If you haven’t already, read Philippians 2:5-12.
I have heard that Jesus is Lord and Savior. That meaning depends a lot on my ability to learn from books and theologians all the scholarship of the ages. I am more and more aware of how my teacher is not a book but the Holy Spirit. My capacity to know more about Jesus has morphed into my capacity to be more in the image of the likeness of God. Simply put, to love others as Christ has loved me.
Savior means Christ paid the price of emptying himself of his humanity (death) so that all humanity could be restored to resonance with God.
Savior means Christ saved me from just living in the physical and mental universes of the World, to open up the spiritual life to those who choose to be adopted sons and daughters of the Father.
Savior means Jesus is the way for humans to traverse the rocky road of life by giving his very flesh and blood to eat and to make all things new for those who love him.
Savior means Jesus is Messiah, Son of God. (John 20_30-31)
Savior means Jesus is not only the WHY and WHO that completes The Divine Equation but also the authentic answers that cause continuous resonance in a world corrupted by Original Sin.
THE PRINCIPLE OF TRUTH
There is only one truth. Humans have struggled over what the truth is since the story of the Tower of Babel. It doesn’t help that each individual human has the power to say YES or NO to anything. In the Genesis Principle, God allowed Adam and Eve to choose good or evil freely. With choices comes the consequences of that choice. In the Christ Principle, God chose to become human (Jesus Christ) to give each of us a chance to complete the original plan of God, for all of us to be together in heaven. Still, humans make poor choices, some sinful (against God’s advice on making it through the minefield of life without being destroyed), others just dumb.
It all comes down to me. I live seventy or eighty years ( I am 80+ and very lucky). During that time, I have a chance to be an adopted son or daughter of the Father, to know my purpose in life, to know what reality looks like, to use my reason and ability to choose to see how all fits together, to learn how to love fiercely, and to prepare to live forever.
This last principle is just for me, and all others who are human. The Holy Spirit, the Truth, informs my reasoning when I am humble of heart and seek God daily in my heart.
These three principles are God, intervening in the human condition.
These principles are persons.
God the Father is the Genesis Principle, the principle from which all life exists, THE LIFE.
God the Son is the Christ Principle, the principle to reconnect humans and the divine, THE WAY.
God, the Holy Spirit, is the Principle of Truth, the principle for humans to rise above mere human knowledge, love, and service to have in them the very energy of God, as they have the capacity to receive it. (Capacitas dei)
My Lay Cistercian practices allow me to place myself in the presence of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit and listen with “the ear of my heart.”