How is it possible for the Spirit to be corruptible if God is incorruptible? It isn’t. What is possible is, once I am baptized, I am corruptible in my resolve to keep myself centered on The Christ Principle. I am continuing my reflections on reality as I focus on the impact of Original Sin on my seventy or eighty years of trying to keep Jesus as the center of my life. I am assuming that you have read my previous blog on THE CORRUPTION OF MATTER AND THE MIND, which you can find at http://www.divineoffice.org, and go to the bottom right side of the page to find A Lay Cistercian reflects on spiritual reality. Just click it and scroll down to my initial blog.
I have been inundated with thoughts during my Lectio Divina meditations on the topic of Corruption. These ideas are not a part of my normal Lectio but I suspect from where they might originate. My reason can randomly create good or evil thoughts, and my free choice allows me to choose what is easy or pleasurable without apparent consequences.
I think my ideas about corruption are good because they help me answer why my Lay Cistercian practices are such a struggle. It has to do with Original Sin, I know. What follows is my deep dive into what I term the spiritual universe, beginning with my Baptism and ending as I claim my heritage as an adopted son of the Father. This blog will be one of five commentaries on the topic of corruptibility.
II. THE CORRUPTIBILITY OF THE SPIRIT
I need you to pay close attention to this next blog and focus on the seemingly contradictory statements. It took me five Lectio Divina meditations before I got this one right (describing what the Holy Spirit told me).
I am trying to address the question(s) related to why the Old Testament (to a lesser extent) and the New Testament (to a greater extent) all point to incorruptibility as an outcome of human existence.
In the previous blog, I listed my hypotheses that the universe of all physical matter and its properties are corrupt. This is not moral corruption but guided by the laws of nature. Humans were a part of this universe before they received rationality and free choice. We inherit their genes, emotional vulnerabilities, and the capacity to make choices inconsistent with our nature. Everything I observe has a beginning and an end. Although we share some characteristics, I can observe the physical universe and ask why I am not like other living things. There is a separate physical universe, a mental universe that is one but with entirely different purposes. Humans wake up to find themselves on a ball of gases with the capability to reflect on the physical universe and seek answers. Human nature is good but flawed because it exists in a corrupted physical and moral corruption state.
The next step in our evolution is based on our reason and free will. We have these abilities for a reason, and that reason is to choose our next level of progression, the spiritual universe. Here are some thoughts that come from my Lectio Divina experience.
The next stage in human evolution (animality to rationality) is spiritual.
Being spiritual, as God defines it, is being incorruptible. But, humans live in a corruptible world of matter and mind, which is everything has a beginning and an end. If there is such a thing, God’s problem is how to make humans incorruptible (able to claim their inheritance in the Kingdom of Heaven after we die) while still living in a corruptible state of matter and mind until they die.
The spiritual universe began with the Christ Principle giving up his life for the ransom of many, dying and rising from the dead. Death now has no hold over humans, and they can proceed in their intended evolutionary path to be sons and daughters of the Father and heirs of the kingdom of heaven. Because each individual lives in a world of matter and mind, they have a beginning and an end, unless there is a power to raise them to a higher level of incorruptibility. By themselves, all humans who ever or will ever live do not have the power to lift up our nature to the next level.
The resurrection is the power that comes from divine nature and lifts up humanity to have the opportunity to claim their adoption, the ultimate purpose of the human race. This spiritual universe began with the Christ Principle but must be ratified by each person to claim their inheritance. To do this, humans must become incorruptible (having a beginning but no end). Baptism is the initiation whereby God gives us the gift of Faith to claim our inheritance which must be by choice. Baptism ratifies and completes the gift of Christ to the Father on the cross but also legitimizes each individual with a sign of contradiction on their soul. The challenge for those marked with the sign of Faith is to live their lives out in the context of the corruptible world and mind while taking their strength and power from the source of power that brings humanity to completeness as intended in the Garden of Eden before the Fall.
The power of the resurrection is the energy of God made manifest in the lives of each person, if only they claim it. Because of the corruption of matter and mind, we inherit the effects of the Original Sin of Adam (we feel pain, we have the propensity to do both good and evil, we are sometimes ruled by our emotions rather than grace, we must all die and many more conditions). Jesus became one of us because of love and sharing that very same love with those around us, even those who wish us ill or hate us.
I perform Lay Cistercian practices and try to transform myself with charisms of humble obedience to place myself in the presence of Christ and open myself to the power of the Holy Spirit as much as I can receive (capacitas dei).
I have been puzzled why a Church so evidently full of sinful people can be considered Holy (as in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic). The simple answer is it can’t be holy, but with a very interesting caveat. When I apply my notion of corruptibility and incorruptibility (the spiritual universe), the Church is most definitely in the spiritual universe, but it has corrupt people. Allow me to make an analogy. The spiritual universe is incorruptible because it was purchased (redeemed for the ransom of many) by Christ, who has both human and divine nature. Yet, except for Jesus and his mother (due to the Holy Spirit), everyone is sinful, some more so than others. The corruption of matter and mind tend to present obstacles to my journey.
The realm of the Spirit (Galatians 5) must militate against the encroachment of the corruption of mind and matter. This is the unconscious struggle we feel tugging at us to do what makes us feel good (our natural inclination coming from our animal DNA) rather than to do what may be painful and the opposite of operant conditioning (apologies to B.F. Skinner). When we accept entry into the Kingdom of Heaven, we soon realize we can’t walk in this minefield without some help. We get this help as much as we want or can contain from the Holy Spirit. Asking for help does not have to be with words but in the silence and solitude of our heart, placing ourselves, without condition, in Christ’s presence and listening “with the ear of the heart,” as St. Benedict recommends.
Each day is sufficient unto itself. That is due to my constant need to seek God each new day. I live in three universes (the physical one which is my base for survival and from which I evolved), the mental universe giving me human reasoning and free will about which my five senses inform my mind with information about the environment surrounding me) and the spiritual universe (one I entered at Baptism and allows me, not to be free from the corruption of the world, but to transform myself with the power of the Holy Spirit to be incorruptible in the midst of corruptibility). Each day, I begin anew until I die. This is the Kingdom of Heaven on earth and is incorruptible. As a pilgrim in a foreign land, I live in the moral corruptibility of the World and must struggle with the tension between flesh and the spirit (Galatians 5). I am “in the world but not a part of it,” as the famous saying goes.
A CORRUPT PERSON LIVING IN AN INCORRUPTIBLE UNIVERSE: How is that possible?
Put another way, there are two dimensions to this incorruptible Kingdom of Heaven. 1. One is the time from our Baptism until we die, where we live in a universe of incorruptibility, but our values and center come from the Father’s incorruptibility. When Christ opened the gates of Heaven by his sacrifice on the cross for the ransom of many, he saved us from being corruptible all eternity. 2. The second part, a continuation of the first part, claims our inheritance as promised by Christ. This is the Kingdom of Heaven, our destiny as adopted sons and daughters of the Father upon death, where we will be present to the real presence Forever.
I am adding Chapter 15 of I Corinthians for you to ponder what I have written in light of what St. Paul wants us to know about why we are incorruptible. It is rather long, so read it in segments over a day or two. In silence and solitude, place yourself in the presence of Christ and ask the Holy Spirit what it means. Remember, no talking, no agenda on your part. I love to sit on a park bench, waiting for my mind to be ready to receive whatever God has in store for me this Lectio session, and read each sentence. If you are standing watch before the Blessed Sacrament, this technique of Biblical meditation will make the time pass so quickly that you won’t believe it. Listen in silence and solitude with “the ear of the heart.”
The Gospel Teaching.*
1Now I am reminding you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand.
2Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
4that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures;b
5that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.c
6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
7After that he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
8Last of all, as to one born abnormally, he appeared to me.d
10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective. Indeed, I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God [that is] with me.
11Therefore, whether it be I or they, so we preach and so you believed.
Results of Denial.*
12But if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead?
13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised.f
14And if Christ has not been raised, then empty [too] is our preaching; empty, too, your faith.
15Then we are also false witnesses to God, because we testified against God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if in fact the dead are not raised.g
16For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised,
17and if Christ has not been raised,* your faith is vain; you are still in your sins.
18Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.
19If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all.
Christ the Firstfruits.*
21* For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being.
22For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life,i
23but each one in proper order: Christ the firstfruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ;j
25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.l
28When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will [also] be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all.o
29Otherwise, what will people accomplish by having themselves baptized for the dead?* If the dead are not raised at all, then why are they having themselves baptized for them?
31Every day I face death; I swear it by the pride in you [brothers] that I have in Christ Jesus our Lord.q
32If at Ephesus I fought with beasts, so to speak, what benefit was it to me? If the dead are not raised:
“Let us eat and drink,
for tomorrow we die.”r
33Do not be led astray:
“Bad company corrupts good morals.”
34Become sober as you ought and stop sinning. For some have no knowledge of God; I say this to your shame.s
35*But someone may say, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come back?”
The Resurrection Body.
37And what you sow is not the body that is to be but a bare kernel of wheat, perhaps, or of some other kind;
38u but God gives it a body as he chooses, and to each of the seeds its own body.
39* Not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for human beings, another kind of flesh for animals, another kind of flesh for birds, and another for fish.
40There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the brightness of the heavenly is one kind and that of the earthly another.
41The brightness of the sun is one kind, the brightness of the moon another, and the brightness of the stars another. For star differs from star in brightness.
42* So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible.
43It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious. It is sown weak; it is raised powerful.v
44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one.
46But the spiritual was not first; rather the natural and then the spiritual.
47The first man was from the earth, earthly; the second man, from heaven.
48As was the earthly one, so also are the earthly, and as is the heavenly one, so also are the heavenly.
The Resurrection Event.
52in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.a
53For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality.b
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
55Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”d
57But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.f
58Therefore, my beloved brothers, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Amen and Amen.https://bible.usccb.org/bible/1corinthians/15
Nota Bene: Part II of this blog will deal with THE CORRUPTIBILITY OF MORAL BEHAVIOR IN A PERSON DESTINED FOR INCORRUPTIBILITY
Nota Bene: Part II of this blog will deal with THE CORRUPTIBILITY OF MORAL BEHAVIOR IN A PERSON DESTINED FOR INCORRUPTIBILITY