Each human being has a beginning and an ending. We experience the physical universe of matter, energy, time, space, all that lives on the earth within our lifespan. It is our base of existence, the physical foundation of our humanity. This humanity has characteristics or charisms that differ from other life forms.
The very fact that I know that I am not a monkey, although we share some of the same DNA, means I am not it. My ability to reason defines who I am. But there is more; I also have the ability to choose what I want that I consider good for me. My limitations are societal laws, plus individual forces to prevent me from doing what I want. There are consequences to my behavior. My world has several dimensions as I grow in awareness and sophistication. My world is the sum of my life experiences and experiments on what is good or not so good for me. There is the world as in all humans who are alive on this earth and have the power of societies and movements to influence my individual choices if I assent to them.
Human nature comes to a range of behaviors with myriad emotions. There is both bad and evil out there in the world as an option and some choices, such as murder, rape, theft, jealousy, envy, duplicity, hatred, and pride, just to name a few. Not all complement what it means to be human. A fragile line separates our animality from our rationality, and we tend to wobble from one side of it to the others throughout our whole lifetime.
On the positive side, humans seek love, respect, heightened understanding of the other, service to and for others, family ties, and belonging to something greater than the individual. There is great nobility in the human spirit, just as its opposite. I remember watching a movie called Constantine, in which Keanu Reeve’s character is being dragged to Hell by the Devil. The keyword here is sacrifice and its effect on reality. The noblest attributes of humans are sacrifice, love, endurance, mercy, and fierce friendships, just to name a few. Yet, we can observe people around us who possess some of these positive traits and exhibit their counterpoints, choices that hurt others. This is our world, and we are in it until we die. So, now what?
In my latest Lectio Divina, the thoughts from the Holy Spirit led me to explore how I can approach this duality of good and evil and how would I know what is good and what is bad for me. Sounds like a classic Genesis dilemma, not so? Not coincidentally, this is the same perplexing choice facing those who live in our particular age of so-called enlightenment due to technology. There are so many competing “ologies” and “religions” all vying for my allegiance (they don’t mean a thing if I don’t buy into them). I can activate them by my choice. So, is what I choose correct just because I have made this or that choice? Is something automatically good, just because I choose it? G. K. Chesterton, noted author and apologist in the last century, wrote: “I don’t want a Church to tell me what is bad that I know is bad; I want a Church who will tell me that what I think is good, is bad.” The questions for each person to discover are: How do I know what is good or bad for me and my measurement against which I know good from the bad?
I have discovered six questions, or six thresholds in my life through which I passed that are progressive and must be answered in order, that lead me to seek answers that allow me to approach a way to measure good from the bad.
These six movements are part of The Divine Equation.
Now comes the big challenge. Where can I find the answers to these six authentic questions and will lead me to fulfill my humanity? Against what should I measure these answers to know that they are sustainable one hundred, even two hundred years from now? Militating against my quest is the corruption of matter and mind, the condition of deterioration of everything that has a beginning and an ending, which offers numerous false trails and promises of fortune and glory. The choices I want make me happy and content for the present, but not necessarily correct ones.
In my case, I have reason to determine what is right for me and the freedom to choose what I want. Where can I get the authentic answers to the questions about the meaning of life? There are two places I have tried:
Inside of myself— Because no one can force me to choose what I don’t want, and all choices are equal, what is inside me (the sum of my human experiences, meaning, and probing for what is true) determines what is true or false. Remember, I only live seventy or eighty years, so this choice is non-sustaining nor permanent but rather relative to that of others.
Outside of myself –– Although it goes against my human instincts, I can choose to give this choice to a power outside of myself, beyond myself. If I give this power to, let’s say, the Democratic or Republican (or any other human “ology”). There must be a higher principle than the corrupted human experience to measure the cornerstone of meaning, the one key that will explain the six questions of the meaning of where we find ourselves on a rocky planet that defies all odds of our survival. The gift I have for God, one that God does not have, is to do God’s will and not my own.
I choose The Christ Principle (Jesus) as the key to my destiny and hope that his teachings and promises are true. But, there is a problem because of the corruption of matter and mind. I can’t go beyond living each day without a constant struggle to keep myself centered against the encroachment of both the effects of the physical and mental universes.
This Lectio Divina produces a simplicity within my heart as it grows from all the chatter of competing ideologies to the profound awareness that I am an adopted son (daughter) of the Father and do not deserve anything but God’s mercy on my shortcomings. So, each day, I realize that I must sit on a park bench in the middle of winter (the effects of Original Sin) in silence and solitude and wait, just wait. I prepare myself for whatever comes my way each day by transforming my will (humility) to be more like Christ and less like me (my corrupt self). Now, when I use the words “profound” or “fierce love,” I think of living now, n the Kingdom of Heaven, and later on, in the profound stillness of the Trinity.
The profound stillness is real. You will know it when you feel its power producing simplicity, illumination, peace, and love.