This might seem like an innocuous topic for contemplative practice but stick with me. The world is obsessed with power, be it physical power, personal power, military prowess, such as we witness in the takeover of Ukraine, or political power (the one I detest the most). What bothers me most is that when we use power, it is always seen in physical power (e.g., black hole) or who has the most muscles. Let me lead you through four questions I have confronted as I look out on reality and ask WHY? Your answers might differ from mine, but I offer these to stimulate your thought processes.

What follows is an excerpt from my book on Power and Corruption.


If I Google that question, I get this site as an answer. Look it up. https://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/news/20may99.html It is called a hypernova, and the mind-blowing thing about this is that there may be energy out there that is more massive than this. Science does a great job of probing the depths of inner and outer space to discover what it is, why it is, and where it is. In the face of this hypernova, humans would not survive, just as they would not survive in outer space without artificial atmosphere and heat regulations. Everything that is is part of the physical Universe and is subject to the laws of nature. So the question remains, what is the most powerful energy in the whole world? It must be a hypernova, correct? It has energy so much of the scale that we have not developed instruments to adequately measure it. I raise the question with you, What hypernova knows that it knows? What hypernova can love? What hypernova knows its purpose in life? We live within the Laws of Nature. We are not the Law, and we don’t make up these Laws.


Part of the assumptions underlying for humans to know that there is a hypernova is that, until very recently, we did not have instruments to discover its existence. Which brings us to the following question: Who has the most powerful reason on Earth? All reality, all living on Earth. All have some form of communication and intelligence with its surrounding. What makes humans unique? The famous physicist Enrico Fermi’s question is: where is everybody? https://www.seti.org/seti-institute/project/fermi-paradox In all the Universe that we know of so far, with the Science and Logic that we have so far, no life has been found anywhere outside of Earth. I grant the argument that there is no reason to think there should not be life out there, given the enormity of galaxies. Dr. Frank Drake even came up with an equation that lists the probability of life in the cosmos. ttps://www.space.com/25219-drake-equation.html https://www.universetoday.com/39966/drake-equation-1/

The argument always presupposes that another life exists (life, I might add, is sentient). To date, we have not even discovered anywhere capable of sustaining organic life of any kind, much less sentient beings. It may exist, and it may not exist. I know that scientifically I may be anathema, but I wonder if we are the only ones in the whole of reality that know that we know, and, if so, why is that? Humans are not designed for space travel but to live within the parameters of this Earth (we must breathe oxygen, exist within a sustainable life temperature, and be subject to the laws of nature that dictate we must die). Why do we live for only seventy or eighty years? That is not long enough to get a running jump on why we are here and discover our purpose in life. Everything deteriorates or has limitations. This is the corruption of matter. The corruption of matter is not moral corruption but the condition into which all humans, indeed all life must conform. This is the corruption of being human, but ironically, human nature was originally created as good but became wounded by the sin of Adam and Eve. (Romans 5)

What we do know is that we know that we know (although some think they know more than others), and so up comes the question again “Of all living things on Earth, or anywhere for that matter, why are humans the only species to reach a level of self-awareness that allows us to reason and to make choices for ourselves?” Animals don’t know that they don’t know.

To answer this, I have concluded that humans (either through natural selection or some other means) moved from animality to rationality. Humans live in the mental Universe, a wholly separate one from the physical Universe, although we must use this physical universe of matter as our base of existence. We live in both the physical Universe (our base of existence) but have grown as a race into being that know that we know. The most powerful energy on Earth and maybe in the whole Universe, as far as we know, is a sentient being. Growing slowly but exponentially, collectively, our human nature has moved from a primitive life form to the human we know today, capable of Science, Mathematics, Medicine, Philosophy, Poetry, and Spirituality to explain what is, why it is, who it is, where it is, and when it is. It is important to note that we are moving from this to that. We have reason to help us determine what the “that” is. We have developed the art of logic from Greek philosophers’ time to probe the depth of reality, discovered the wonders of matter, time, and energy with science, and collectively tried to discover meaning in life. What Aardvark goes to the library to look up the history of facts about life in the 1900s? What pet dog can answer the question,” Can you join me at 9:00 a.m. at Starbucks for a cup of coffee?”

In looking at sentient (reasoning) beings, we ask why? Why us? Why do we have the ability to love and hate? Why must we die and not live forever? Why is there pain and imperfection in our behavior so that some have peace while others are murdered for no reason? Where does this evil come from? Does it come from God, who is incorruptible? We might be the most powerful energy on the planet, but we can’t solve these questions. We don’t live past seventy or eighty, even if we are strong. We have the keen minds to solve some of these problems, but the results have been disappointing. If we are the most powerful and have the most energy of all lifeforms, do we need to abandon our collective Ego and move towards solutions consistent with these four questions? Remember, these questions are asked by people living on the cusp of historical documentation or a very long time ago. Genesis is the book that sets forth archetypal consequences of our being human. We have reason to even identify consequences to our behavior and good and bad choices.

We are limited to living on this planet and not visiting the stars? We don’t know gravity’s effect on ourselves or our offspring in prolonged space. The distances are so great that, as of now, we can’t move from planet to planet, much less galaxy to galaxy. We don’t know the effect of space radiation on our reproductive or mental health systems. There is always hope in the future, but we must focus on where we are for now. Remember, a limitation brought up by Psalmist is that we live to seventy to eighty years if we are strong (and don’t get cancer or dementia.) We just wear out. This is the effect of the corruptibility of the mind.

The answer to the first question of the most powerful energy in the Universe is the human mind. The answer to the second question to which of all those lifeforms on Earth can answer the questions of Why? When? When? and How? What is the purpose of why we are here? The human mind and the ability to make free choices affect our collective and individual destiny. Although humans know that they know, they also live in the NOW where there are choices, some leading to meaning and some leading to a dead-end. We are free to explore them. The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States calls them inalienable rights (those all humans share), and they are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Why are humans the only species that knows that it knows? That can choose their destiny outside of Natural order? With all due respect to B.F. Skinner and his operant conditioning explanation of behavior, humans can choose to endure pain for a higher purpose and are not victims of their emotions, e.g., Christ died on the cross, knowing what was to come and that it was his destiny to allow us to move from just the physical and mental universes and open the spiritual Universe to us. This fulfills the questions posed by Genesis and restores us as adopted sons and daughters of the Father. You have a reason for an excellent reason. The problem comes when many people have many different ways to interpret what is meaningful.

Let’s look at the human experience we find ourselves in right now. We are so fortunate to have science tell us the how and the why something is in the physical Universe and how we can look at reality using the tools of Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, and Astronomy. We are so fortunate to have philosophy and psychology tell us about the hidden part of our reality and put forth ways to discover what is meaningful. Medicine helps us with health, mental health gives us hope to keep our minds clear and bright, and social work helps us discover meaning in work and leisure. Individually, we are the sum of our life experiences. We are defined by the choices we have made. Collectively, we stumble down the pathway to truth, hobbled not only with our reason are assumptions about what is true or not. Objective truth is one and must exist above all meaning. (God’s center) It is the cornerstone, the center of physical, mental, and spiritual existence. The problem is humans have always squabbled about what truth is. This is both the glory of what it means to be human and the problem that must be solved by the next level in our evolution. The story in the books of Genesis 11 tells of the confusion of tongues, which is another way of saying that people could not agree on what is true. We still have our problems with truth because no one can accept that truth answers the questions of wonder if we are alone in the Universe, why only humans have reason and freedom to choose good or evil, and what is the next stage in our evolution as humans?

III. WHY ARE HUMANS ALONE THE ONES WHO HAVE THE ABILITY TO REASON AND THE ABILITY TO MAKE CHOICES THAT ARE GOOD OR BAD FOR THEM? Why is that? Suppose the Physical Universe is our platform for housing human reasoning and the ability to choose outside the Natural Law. In that case, the Mental Universe allows us to choose what is good for us and discern what bad choices make us unhappy. The question becomes who chooses what is good for us and who determines what is bad for us? If the Physical Universe gives us the formula for reality and the mental universe factors in the human condition, we still do not answer what makes humans human? Is there one powerful person against which we measure our worth and determine what is good for us? A characteristic of corruption in the mental universe is that humans don’t want anyone telling them what to do. Do we have a North on the Collective Human Compass, or are we rudderless and adrift on a sea of individual rationalisms?

The answer is the Spiritual Universe, not just any amorphous, spiritual place as I see reality. The Mystery of Faith is the way to look at the reality that explains (but does not define) how Science, Medicine, and Philosophy can fit together. They each have different ways to measure different levels of meaning. The reason why we have a Spiritual Universe is love. Granted, love is not the most popular subject of scientific inquiry. Still, it motivates the human heart by allowing us to seek that which is essential, often invisible to the eye. Up to this point, we have tried to find a unified theory of everything (read the late, brilliant work by Steven Hawking). I cannot make sense of it when I squeeze the physical, mental, and spiritual universes together. But, using the sign of contradiction, if I pull each of the three universes apart and realize that one is not the other, but all are one with each other, all their own distinctive measures for reality, it makes more sense. I wrote three books called Spiritual Apes to tease out my hypotheses.


Humans are the most powerful lifeform on Earth because they can say YES or NO to anything. It is free will that is an inconvenient truth. There is objective truth out there, the truth given to us by God through Christ, but millions of people disagree on that truth. So, does that mean the truth is not objective? Humans become their own Law, their own interpretation of the truth, and no one can tell them they are wrong. Just as any individual human can go beyond the Nature Law and do whatever they want, so the opposite is true. Humans can stop logic and block reason if they so choose.


To move from animality to rationality, to a higher level of being, two qualities are needed, those that separate us from what we just left (being an animal nature): First, the ability to reason; Secondly, the ability to choose what is good for us. We do not receive infused knowledge of good or bad when we are born. We must learn that from experience. That is where reason comes into play. Although we are stand-alone in our ability to make choices, we do not choose anything bad for us. The problem comes when we think what is good for us is bad. This is the inconvenient truth about our freedom to choose. Here, what is at stake is nothing but our ability to fulfill what it means to be human. Wrong questions about how we see others, our purpose, our view of what makes up reality, how we love, and even our perspective about what it means to die depends upon asking the right question. Again, the old inconvenient truth pops us, as it does in any argument over what is true. No one can tell us what to choose. It is a freedom that comes with terrible consequences if used poorly. The issue is not that we have free will or can make choices. It is over the values of what we choose that is good for us. Who determines what is good for us or what is bad for us. We have two choices there, too. I do, or God does. Even with this concept of an inconvenient truth, I have had people tell me, “that is just your view of reality and not mine.” Is there no objective truth? My conclusions from Lectio Divina and using my gift of human reasoning is “not in this World.” Again, we are free to choose, but the hurtle we humans can’t jump over is who chooses what is good or bad for us. It is at the heart of the Archetypal story of Genesis 2-3. Reread it.

Let me offer an example. A widespread dilemma in our age is the one over abortion. One side touts freedom to choose as the shibboleth for independence from rules and external truth, while the other side sites the consequences of the choice results in the death of a person. Of course, these are two irreconcilable positions, like black and white. So, are we left with truth being half of one and half of the other, the answer being truth is what you think it is? This type of thinking is called rationalization: each person is correct in their thinking because they have the freedom to choose to think whatever they want. Truth becomes relative, that is, without permanency or more than an amorphous, hazy principle. So who is correct? Both? Is truth like a bowl of Jell-O, without nutritional substance, one that tastes good but offers no nourishment in the long run? The inconvenient truth here is that people are free to choose whatever side suits their own assumptions about good, authenticity, and consequences. When the question of ultimate truth (objective truth from God) comes up, the fallback is always “that is your opinion, and I don’t share that.” So, is genuinely one, or whatever the individual says is true, just because they have the right to say so, and there is no independent truth out there against which we measure what is good for us from what is bad for us, either short-term or long term? Since there can never be objective truth as the world sees it, but our reason tells us we cannot have two masters, we end up saying, “there are consequences for each behavior we have, each thought we make, each act of love. Maybe we won’t know what is true until we reach Heaven (again, my concept of reality), but we must live our lives with the principles we choose freely to make and not by the exceptions (everyone’s truth is the ultimate truth).

As soon as I say, “God doesn’t permit murder,” or, “Killing the fetus deprives them of being able to choose their destiny freely,” I am hit with the argument, “You can hold whatever you want. You can’t tell me what to believe, no matter how ridiculous my position is to you.” That is the inconvenient truth about choice. You choose what is suitable for you or what is bad for you, and no one can tell you what is good or bad. No one can say this is true because you can say back to them, “that is your opinion.” And, they would be right.

Reflect on what you just read above about humans being the most powerful individuals. When humans evolved from animality to rationality, they did so with the power of reasoning and the ability to choose what was good or bad for them. Genesis is a book that looks at the epicenter of humanity, reason, and free will and tells the story of who Adam and Eve chose what they thought was good for them but actually bad for them. This choice had consequences. The archetypal story of what it means to be a human being in temptation, choice, happiness, and the consequences of making bad choices. Adam and Eve were sincere, but sincerity is no substitute for the truth. The Devil is sincere.

There is no morality among any living species except for humans. All animals follow the Natural Law. Elephants don’t debate among themselves if they should have little elephants. They do it because of their animal nature.

Humans are the most powerful lifeform on Earth because they can say YES or NO to anything. They are the brick wall of logic. Just as any individual human can go beyond the Nature Law and do whatever they want, so the opposite is true. Humans can stop logic and block reason with a NO. The Blessed Mother opened up a new Epoch of Spirituality with a YES.

Ultimate truth exists only in the mind of God, the author of truth. God wanted humans to have the truth, but there was a problem. How to communicate what he wanted to tell them about what was good or bad for them. We call the terrible stuff sin, for lack of a better way to describe it. The good stuff is called love. God gave Himself to show us how to love (Philippians 2:5). God spoke of His Coming through Abraham and the Prophets, then through the most contradictory of all events, The Nativity, we became one of us. He told us to look deeper in spirituality to find the truth and disclose the Trinity, a community of perfect. He had to die on the cross in reparation for the sin of Adam and Eve (Romans 5) so that our race might become adopted heirs of the truth and that truth would set us free. Truth from God can only be one. The problem comes when humans begin to tell others what that truth is. The Church was founded to do what Christ came to show us, from age to age, until He again comes in glory to judge the living and the dead. We recite this each Sunday in the Nicene Creed (one of three Creeds of the Body of Christ).

RECAP: The most powerful energy in the physical Universe is the hypernova. Humans wake up (self-awareness) on the Earth and gradually discover that they have reason and the ability to make choices and are not subservient to the Laws of Nature. There is a problem. What is good for someone or bad for someone. As a loving Father, God tells us what is good or bad for us, as does any Father worthy of that name. Some people resent the Father telling them anything, so they rebel (Satan and the Fallen Angels, Adam and Eve, and each person is born knowing that they know and have the freedom to choose good or evil. Every time we sin, we are like Adam. We fall into the snares of Satan. There is the temptation to present the golden fruit of either good or bad. Sometimes we don’t know something is wrong with us until we take a bite of that golden fruit, and it tastes like persimmons that are not ripe. Yech! Some are more powerful than others of all humans who know that they know.

The inconvenient truth is because everyone is free to choose their assumptions about what is and why it is, the choice becomes an individual one (I am the reality against which I measure what I think is true or not) OR, God is the reality against which I measure all that I am or hope to be. This is the crux of the Genesis archetypes of knowledge of good and evil and how Adam (representing all humans) made the wrong choice. For those who choose God as the ground of their being, Scriptures is a series of love letters to humans (written by humans inspired by the Holy Spirit) to tell us, to show us that love is the purpose of our lives. Scriptures are a series of stories about what God suggests is good for us versus evil (sinful) to develop our human potential. A loving Father gives us what we need to help us in our struggle to make those choices that have good consequences for our future. One of the things the Father gave us to help us use our reason rightly was His Son, of Himself, Jesus Christ. Not everyone will see this to be true. All we have is a chance to look at life and see those things worth preserving for our posterity. Christ left us but one command: love another as I have loved you. The challenge is what does it mean to love as Christ loved us. This is one of the reasons I joined the Lay Cistercians, following the School of Love of St. Benedict as interpreted by Cistercian spirituality.


God is the most powerful energy in reality (physical, mental, and spiritual universes). Heaven is love. Heaven is our destiny as humans, despite all of our struggles on Earth. The Church Universal helps us with these struggles by presenting Christ in Eucharist, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, reading Scripture, Lectio Divina, Liturgy of the Hours, contemplative prayer, reading, and becoming Chapter 4 of St. Benedict’s Rule. God is so good to us that He gave of Himself (Jesus) to take on our nature and show us how to love authentically, be spiritually authentic and not like what the world says is good.


Humans are designed to make free choices. We have reason to determine what is good for us and what is bad. The problem for all humans is, what is true and who tells us what is good for us or bad for our human maturation?

Like scientific inquiry, where not all such opinions (science calls them hypotheses) end up successfully discovering the truth, pseudo-spirituality (fortune-telling) often leads to short-term exhilaration; seducing believers is this or that self-belief using their own Ego. If the Physical Universe asks and seeks to answer the questions of WHY, HOW, WHEN, and WHERE, then the Mental Universe, because of human reasoning and free choices, asks and answers the question of WHAT DOES IT MEAN and WHAT IS OF VALUE to human occupation of this blue, ball of gases and rocks. The one set of Laws that all humans follow is the Natural Law, as far as we know, extending throughout the whole realm of reality. The problem is one of ever-growing complexity. As our species become more familiar with technology and advanced techniques to resolve, up to this point, unsolvable problems (e.g., cancer, medical and surgical techniques to prolong and improve the wellness of all), each person becomes more and more capable of making free choices outside of their natural cycle. Cows can’t regulate being in heet by themselves. Humans can now regulate their birth cycles with chemicals or prolong their lives through medication.

There are two ways to look at reality (I know, I simplify), the first one loves others because Christ first loved us and showed us the authentic meaning of love, and secondly, as an individual, I discover what love is for me now, and all decisions are based on me. The problem with that last one is, I only live seventy years if I am lucky.


The most powerful energy of all, using human reasoning and choosing good or evil, is love. Spirituality is the way of looking at a reality that provides answers to the questions of the physical and mental universes. There is a catch, you only get to the spiritual Universe, one that contains the Mystery of Faith with the help of your reason and free will. But there is a catch to that, too. Because we are dealing with possibilities beyond our human comprehension, reason can take us only so far, no matter how long we live. Faith is a term we use for what we don’t know but hope for because reason has led us to the edge of the cliff. Our human instincts tell us you don’t jump off the cliff. It doesn’t make any sense. The assumptions we hold about spirituality tell us that there is someone out there greater than human nature, a living nature, just like humans, one more powerful than human nature, a divine one (for lack of a better word), and all reality is careening down the highway of life towards it. Some call it by the name Omega. Like any gift from God, Faith can be lost by careless thinking or inactivity. From my experience, Lay Cistercian spirituality provides a structured form of relationship with God all through Christ and using the Holy Spirit as experience To be like Christ, who left the security of being God to take on our human nature (Philippians 2:5-12), we too must leave the security of our humanity to follow the Master by loving others as He has loved us. Christ wanted to be with us in the most practical way: become one of us. For me, this takes the form of as much of the following daily practices as I can do:

  • To have in me the mind of Christ Jesus at my morning offering (Philippians 2:5)
  • Lectio Divina on what the Holy Spirit wants me to hear today (Philippians 2:5)
  • Liturgy of the Hours: (Office of Readings and Morning Prayer in the am; Evening Prayer in the pm)
  • Rosary meditations of the Life of Christ
  • Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament (combined with Lectio or Rosary sometimes)
  • Attending and receiving Eucharist
  • Receiving Sacrament of Reconciliation to make all things new (especially my heart)
  • Read the Rule of St. Benedict daily, especially Chapter 4

These are Cistercian practices that I do, not because if I don’t do them, I commit sin, but rather, if I do them, I do so because I want the love of Christ to dwell in my house all the days of my life. I offer my obedience (the only power God does not have) to the Father in gratitude for all God has given me, undeserving as I am to be an adopted son.

My human nature is good, but, like St. Paul points out, “there are things I do that I don’t want to do, and things I don’t want to do that I do.” While I live in the incorruptible universe of Baptism until I die, I also am hostage to the effects of Original Sin because of my dual citizenship (human and adopted son (daughter) of the Father. When I die, one citizenship dissolved into corruptibility of the body while one citizenship has life changed, not ended.


As you can probably tell, I am conflicted in walking through the minefield of logic, scientific inquiry, philosophical speculation, and spirituality (with all the conflicting and splinter theories of truth). They don’t fit, nor are they supposed to, any more than God fits with humans or humans fit with animals. They are separate entities, each with their own realities and characteristics, each using different measures to identify what is real in each one. There is one reality, each having distinct aspects of reality, just as the Trinity.

  1. I know that there can be but one truth., one reality.
  2. I know that humans have reason for a reason but also the ability to choose what is good for them or what is bad for them.
  3. I know that no one chooses what is bad for them if they know it is bad. Humans have reason for a reason.
  4. I know that spirituality is the next level in the evolution of humans towards fulfillment of what it means to be human. I also know that not everyone hold the same view as I do.
  5. I know that I hold my views because I espouse and encourage scientific inquiry, the ability to assimilate various ways to look at reality (existential phenomenology, Teilhard de Chardin, Erich Fromm, Martin Buber, St. Thomas Aquinas, Scriptural writers of the Apostolic Era, and the heritage of spirituality down through the centuries), and have concluded that the only way this makes sense is to tease out three universes (physical one that in our heritage of life and uses the Natural Law, the mental one that is our collective heritage in developing various ways to look at reality, such as scientific inquiry, philosophical logic, but that these two universes don’t explain the whole of reality). The spiritual universe takes all we know, all the questions we have about purpose, my place in this reality and makes sense from its seeming conflicts and contradictions. Not everyone will see this or believe this. Each of us has the opportunity to know the truth and that truth will make us free.
  6. Erich Fromm wrote his classic book, The Art of Loving, to explain his thinking that humans are not born knowing how to love, but must be taught how to love by parents, family, friends, and society. I make the same comparison with Christ teaching us how to love as he loves us. We know what love is because Christ first loved us. My book, Learning to Love, goes into more detail. https://www.amazon.com/Learning-Love-Cistercian-reflects-learning/dp/1728914590
  7. Here are a few of his ideas about life and love.

“The fact that millions of people share the same vices does not make these vices virtues, and the fact that they share so many errors does not make the errors to be truths, and the fact that millions of people share the same form of mental pathology does not make these people sane.” ~ Erich Fromm

“To love somebody is not just a strong feeling – it is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise.” ~ Erich Fromm

“Respect is not fear and awe; it…[is]the ability to see a person as he is, to be aware of his unique individuality. Respect, thus, implies the absence of exploitation. I want the loved person to grow and unfold for his own sake, and in his own ways, and not for the purpose of serving me.” ~ Erich Fromm

“Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says ‘I need you because I love you.'” ~ Erich Fromm

“To have faith requires courage, the ability to take a risk, the readiness even to accept pain and disappointment. Whoever insists on safety and security as primary conditions of life cannot have faith; whoever shuts himself off in a system of defense, where distance and possession are his means of security, makes himself a prisoner. To be loved, and to love, need courage, the courage to judge certain values as of ultimate concern – and to take the jump and to stake everything on these values.” ~ Erich Fromm


Remember the two types of spirituality? I call authentic spirituality living authentically. This means different things to different people.

I. You, The Individual as Center — This has you as the center of your world, and so your spirituality follows, but it is unauthentic.

  • You don’t admit to a center outside of yourself, much less one that has come down through the wear and tear of the centuries.
  • You accept Christ, but you determine who Christ is, what Christ thinks, what Christ says to you and you say to others.
  • You are your own church, your own pope, your own authority.
  • You find it difficult to deny yourself and take up your cross, and if so, it may be paper mache or styrofoam.
  • Each person has an opinion, an interpretation about Scripture which is correct because you hold it.
  • You don’t admit of tradition or heritage.
  • You look back at Scripture and are content to read the Bible and make assumptions about it based on what you think it true.
  • You don’t have anything outside of yourself upon which you can based the truth.
  • Your are authentic in your spirituality as long as you remain within your own set of assumptions.

Your roots are planted on the soil, but the topsoil is on rocky ground. The seeds grow but soon die for lack of depth and nourishment. The crazy thing is, you are convinced you are correct. Matthew 25:31

In terms of who is the most powerful human in the world is, you are, if you freely choose this type of spirituality, even if you believe it is authentic. Freedom to choose is power. The ability to reason is power. Who is to say you are not? You have the right to think what you want, but that does not mean that you think is right. You don’t care.

II. Christ as the One center –– I am the vine, and you are the branches, says Christ. The vine lives, and so does the branches throughout the centuries as long as they are attached to the vine. It bears good fruit. Sometimes, the branches are diseased and need to be pruned. On the whole, it moves forward, although not without struggle. This is the second type of authentic love, not based on the individual but on Christ. This is authentic spirituality, opposed to what the world (Physical Universe and the Mental Universe) teaches us about what is good or bad for us.

Consistent with the freedom to choose, spirituality may only be entered by a free act of will or choice.

We use our reason to approach this great Mystery of Faith, but reason alone can only take us so far.

We signify that entry with water and the reception of God’s energy (the Holy Spirit).


If I were a rocket ship, I would need fuel (energy) to lift me off of the Earth and go against the Natural Law (gravity) by exerting more force from the rocket than to hold me to the Earth.

The first stage of the rocket is like the Physical Universe. This is our playground, and the rules are Natural Law.

But the next stage of the rocket is essential to lift us higher. This is the Mental Universe or the realm of the mind. The mind allows me to build a rocket ship knowing the Laws of Nature to help me navigate the multiple problems a human has in blasting off into an environment non-supportive of life. Why are we the only lifeforms on the planet? Natural Law is the Law before humans began codifying rules to live by. The second stage is mental. Why are humans the only ones to know that they know? We are the only ones to have the ability to reason for all life forms? Why? Stage one of the rocket is needed to lift us off the ground. Stage two of the rocket is needed to propel us out of orbit into a trajectory out there.

As the rocket’s first stage, the Earth is our platform for life? I need a third stage, the capsule capable of sustaining my life and bodily functions. This is spirituality, where I use my reason and the ability to choose to even seek to explore the cosmos at all.

Stage three of the rocket is needed to sustain the human mind (individually and collectively) and discover wonder and meaning. But where do we go? Why do we go? How do we go? And what do we do when we get there? Spirituality, far from being the amorphous Internet Cloud, helps us answer the questions of purpose and meaning., but only to those who know how to look there.


The challenge for humans is not all spiritualities lead to the truth. Truth is one, as is reality. So, who is right? There can only be one truth, one reality, one path to our destiny. We have reason for a reason, to discover what is true. We have the freedom to choose what is good for us or what is bad for us for a reason. Ultimately, you are the most powerful person in the Universe because you can choose what is true or not. God exists on a level that we can’t even imagine, except for what Christ shares with us. We can say NO to God and accept the consequences of our actions, or we can say YES to God in humility and obedience and live as we have been created in the Garden of Eden, now purchased once again by the cross and Resurrection of Christ. What matters is what God believes about you, not what you believe about God. Ultimately, we make the best choices based on reason and the freedom to choose what is good for us. There are consequences for all humans: we will be accountable for what we choose. That is the nature of free choice, and it is consistent with the image and likeness of God. Free choice does not make what you choose true. What is true happens when we measure ourselves and our purpose in life against something inside us (we make ourselves into God) or outside ourselves (God makes us adopted sons and daughters). It comes down to this: you have a reason for a reason. Use it. You can choose right from wrong, use it. You can launch the rocket, your purpose in life.

Spirituality is the capsule that allows us to live outside of Earth. This sustainability is all due to God, not to anything we do. Each individual has a center, just like above, but it is the person of Christ. The individual exists in a collective of faith called the Church. The Church is a collection of traditions and communities that each have an authority outside the individual, one who takes the place of Christ, one to whom the individual treats owe obedience as they would give to Christ Himself.

The Church Universal is not the way, the truth, or the life, but it is the best of teachers. Humans only live so long, but the Church is a segmented compilation of the accumulation of what Christ taught us that is good. Oh, you say, bad popes have led the Church down the wrong path. Indeed! Remember, the Church Universal is Holy and incorruptible, but individuals (except Christ and the Blessed Mother) are prone to corruptibility both in matter and of the mind.

Human existence is more than just being born, getting a job, perhaps having children, growing old, then dying in between all that living in the search for meaning, especially the meaning of love and the fulfillment of that urging desire to be one with that DNA from God calling us to ratify our adopted. Of all that is in the physical or mental universes, you alone have reason for a reason and the ability to choose what is good for you or what you think is meaningful and good for you but not. When you choose the truth, you use both the physical and mental universes plus the spiritual ones. As you read above, you can either be the center against which you measure what is true or accept the obedience that leads to doing God’s will in this specific age. Here are my thoughts on what I believe about truth.

  • Truth is One. You and the rest of the human species have two things that other living things don’t have: the power to reason and the freedom to choose what you reasonm might I add, with consequences of the choice, but definate consequences of what you choose. The wages of sin is death.
  • We may not be able to comprehend what is true because of our limited ability to factor in all that is real. This is called the Mystery of Faith and can be accessed only in a limited way. The photo below illustrates the foggy window that limits what we see beyond the window.
  • Our nature is created as incorruptibe but because of the consequences of the poor choice of Adam and Eve, we are born corruptible. Baptism makes us incorruptible again, through, with, and in the incorruptibility of God becoming one of us in Christ Jesus. (Philipians 2:5)
  • I am the most powerful person in the universe, not because a hypernova could disintegrate my atoms, not becaue I might have the military power to rape a poor, defenseless neighbor state that has no hostile intentions, but because I can say no to God. I can say NO to God, the power beyong human imagining and description, yet I can say YES and give my power to one greater than me. “Thy will be done, on earth as it is, in Heaven.” My YES each day to making Jesus Lord and Master links up with the YES of creation, the YES of Mary to the invitation to be God’s mother, the YES of the Church Universal to the Holy Spirit in the sharing the good news with the world, eighty years at a time. Now is the time, now is moment of salvation, where my heart as a Lay Cistercian just longs to be in the presence of the Word Made Flesh. I bring no words, no thoughts and no demands of God, only to love God with my whole heart, my whole mind, and my whole self, and also my neighbor as myself.
  • God loves me for the accumulation of who I am, warts, addictions, definite flaws and personality traits some good and some bad, and those times I chose poorly, and also the times I realized my failures as did the Prodigal Son, and ask for mercy each day.
  • I am born into corruptibility because of my human nature’s sin of Adam and Eve, but I am made incorruptibe through Faith and my choice each day to “have in me the mind of Christ Jesus.” Some days are better than others.
  • I use what I consider to be authentic spirituality to describe reality. I respect the right of others to have a differing opinion from me but that does not diminish my position. God will ultimately judge my heart as I stand before Him in fidelity and truth. I must be true to my heritage handed down to me through the Ecumenical Councils, and the teachings of the Fathers and Mothers of the Church about what it means to love Christ as He loves us.

In Western thinking and thought progression, the more you can define something and pick it apart, the more accurate it is. In the Eastern thinking of what is real, the more mysterious it is, the more profound. This thinking about the Mystery of Faith is at the core of the Spiritual Universe. Here is a picture of what I think it is.



I am the cup, the individual who must fill up my cup during my lifetime with what I think the reality is, with scientific wonder, stretching my mind with ideas and literature, finding meaning in conversation with others. Ultimately, I choose what goes into this cup. It is me, the sum of whom I am. It contains all those authentic experiences of love, as Erick Fromm relates in his book, The Art of Loving, such as respect for others, profound knowledge, caring, sharing yourself with your other(s). The window is cloudy, and I can barely see what is there, but I know it is there. There is light on the other side. This is the Cloud of the Unknowing, ideas about the Sacred as it affects the Physical Universe and Mental Universes.

Be careful what you pour into your cup.


http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/what-we-believe/catholic-social-teaching/foundational-documents.cfm http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_cons_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: