Thus passes the glory of the world. What a profound saying as the whole world seems destined for hatred and power-grabbing. My thoughts in a Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) had to do with what doesn’t pass away, what is secure, what lasts forever, plus how can I get some of that in my life.

I reflect on the words of the Lenten sacramental “Remember, Human, you are dust, and into dust, you shall return.” These are both somber and sober thoughts about life and the real purpose. Of course, the answers to all the corruption of matter and mind are there and have been since Christ first set us free from the power death had over the evolution of our humanity forward. My hypothesis here is that we are destined to know, love, and serve God in this life so that we can be happy with God in Heaven in the next. (Baltimore Catechism, Question 6).

I can still remember sitting in the upper room (second story) of the St. Francis Xavier Grade School, the first public school in the State of Indiana, and listening to Father Henry Doll droll on about the purpose of life. For some strange reason that I still can’t explain, I remember him reciting Question 6 of the Baltimore Catechism (above) and my thinking, “Wow. I now have a purpose in life. Isn’t that good of God?” Mind you, this was 1952 (or so). What happened to me is that God’s grace penetrated my heart via my mind, and I had no idea what happened. St. Thomas Aquinas says, “Knowing precedes loving.” (AZ quotes)

Everyone has a center or core of their being. If you take it away, it is the one principle that “Life is not worth living.” Conversely, suppose you place it there because of the corruption of matter and the mind (everything deteriorates). In that case, you must work daily to keep other false centers from invading (power, pride, money, orgiastic sex according to Erich Fromm, hedonistic pleasure, the Church, the Blessed Mother, and most especially you) the center for which you were intended. I am here to know, love, and serve God in this lifetime. My spiritual universe begins with my Baptism, an action outside of me that I must eventually confirm internally in my heart. The spiritual universe is the kingdom of heaven that is incorruptible and starts when I confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father in Heaven. My problem, until I die, is to keep myself centered each day on The Christ Principle, my center, Philippians 2:5). It is work, sometimes painful, often choosing the opposite of what the world teaches (If you want to be my disciple, you must take up your cross daily and follow me.) Do you know how heavy that cross is? It is the weight of all my sins, and I often choose what is easy rather than correct.

Although Lent is a time where we liturgically (as Church Universal) all repent of our sinfulness through penance, as a Lay Cistercian, I actually find my whole life each day trying to convert myself from my dependence on the world for my center to that of the stability and immutability of The Christ Principle. From the moment I am Baptized, I begin my training to inherit the kingdom of heaven (to be happy with God forever in heaven). In the kingdom of heaven after I die (remember, I am an adopted son (daughter), and my inheritance is not of this world of matter and mind. This is only spiritual time (the eternal NOW).

I try to live as a penitential person, conscious of my MANY failures and making a complete fool out of myself, yet more aware that God can still love me with all the bruises and cuts from living my particular life events while on earth. I have this vision of reaching out to God after I die with my hands and Jesus reaching back to me, lifting me up. Jesus tells me, “Let me see your hands.” I show Jesus my hands and arms covered with bruises and cuts that have healed. “Welcome into your inheritance I made for just you from when there was no beginning and end. You picked up your cross as you could or were able to do. It is in the trying and failing and trying again and again that love ripens and bears fruit.” I see the hand and arms of Jesus reaching out to me, ones that have the holes in them from the nails and his arms covered by bruising and the effects of scourging at the pillar. “Let me lift you up one last time, “Jesus says. “Mi casa su casa.”

What follows are some reflections for you on mortality and immortality, corruption and corruption, and dissonance and resonance.

Sic transeat gloria mundi

Te deum laudamus

Non nobis Domine

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