To wander through the high grass of the English language is to walk through paths that are sometimes strewn with weeds among the wildflowers. The communication problem becomes one of learning to delve into the assumptions underlying the words we use. For example, to say the word “Love” might mean one thing to my wife but something else to me, both of which would be correct according to how it is interpreted.
This is, at least in part, due to how each individual human places meaning on the words that we speak. We receive meaning from languages with the sum total of our life experiences and both successes and failures we have endured. We are the sum of the choices we make and their consequences. I am not a physician and do not know the language of medicine, although medicine affects us significantly. I am a user but not a practitioner.
Five people might read the phrase, “You must deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me,” and yet react in five different ways.
Whatever these people think, they think based on their assumptions about what the words mean. What the words mean depends upon the uniqueness of their lives and where they are in terms of their center (the one principle that, if you took it away, nothing makes sense).
This may lead you to believe that assumptions are not important to how we look at reality. Truth be told, they are actually the foundation and reason we think the way we do. When we recite the Creed at the Eucharist each Sunday, each individual does so using the assumptions they have formed through a lifetime of trial and error. These assumptions are how each interprets reality and form the basis of Belief. The assumptions we use when we believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, are the limits of our individual experiences, both good and evil. Like snowflakes, no two of us relate to God in the same way. That is neither good nor bad, but rather how humans process any information with our senses.
Genesis 2-3, the most eloquent of commentaries on what it means to be human and live in a morally corrupt world and yet be destined to live in incorruptibility, speaks of how human nature has the freedom to eat of the knowledge of good and evil yet is forbidden by God to do so under pain of death (the wage of sin is still death). The choices we make today about what is good or bad for us, as those who inherit the consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve, we make assumptions that come either from ourselves or from a power outside of ourselves.
As a Lay Cistercian who tries to seek God each day in this land of the lost we call the world, I try to solve The Divine Equation each day. To review, The Divine Equation are those six questions each human must answer to be able to become fully human. The Divine in The Divine Equation denotes both the questions and the correct answers come from God. They are the answers to what is good and evil and from what is its origin.
ASSUMPTIONS UNDERPINNING THE DIVINE EQUATION
For some reason, always unknown to me, the notion of The Divine Equation popped up in my Lectio Divina this morning. I have been writing down what I myself have received from the Holy Spirit without totally knowing what I am writing but hoping to gradually put the pieces together. I realized that I am unique in all the world with my view of what reality looks like but that I must exercise my reason to being into the Equation not only my Faith but the Faith of the Church, the Church Universal as it has been since the time of Christ. The Church is like a bank, housing the wisdom of those who have not only written the Gospel and Epistles in the New Testament but also preserving how those in each age use their assumptions to live out what it means to die to self to rise with Christ to new life, again and again, until death.
The Divine Equation might mean something different to you and to me. What the words mean depends on how I interpret them according to the total accumulation of my knowledge, what I learned about the purpose of life, and what my purpose in life is. The differences are assumptions I make about what the words mean. Assumptions are those hidden ideas in my head that prompt me to say something in a particular way. You may not know what those hidden ideas are unless you ask. Guessing about assumptions in what another person says is called assumicide.
Back to the Divine Equation. “Divine” in the Divine Equation does not mean it is an equation that proves who God is or defines once and for all God’s nature, which is impossible with mere human languages. I assume that “Divine” means that the six questions and their authentic answers come from a power higher than ourselves and outside our human nature. The Divine Equation gives humans what it means to be fully human nature and the end result of human evolution.
MY ASSUMPTIONS AS A LAY CISTERCIAN AS I COMMENT ABOUT SPIRITUAL REALITY
Assumptions are like icebergs; what you see, hear, taste, touch, and feel and thus know about the reality around you at any moment always has something deeper involved; in this case, my assumptions that you cannot see unless I share them.
All assumptions are important because how I look at reality (and how you view the same situation) is different. Each of us looks at who God is by using our assumptions about who I am. God may be one, but each human has the potential to be an adopted son or daughter of the Father with Baptism or with God’s mercy in the case of those who do not know The Christ Principle. Assumptions are the frame of reference that shape how I think about anything. Assumptions can change by adding or detracting from what we believe or how we act. Assumptions might be good or destructive to how you view what is morally correct. If your assumption is that stealing is acceptable as long as you don’t get caught, your behavior follows. Ex fructibus cognocsetis. Watch how a person acts, and it will tell you what is in their heart.
15“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.k
16l By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
17Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.
18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.
19Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
20So by their fruits you will know them.m
The True Disciple.https://bible.usccb.org/bible/matthew/7
Use this full text to ponder in your heart about what assumptions you hold about being next to the heart of Christ in contemplation. Take some time with this practice.
What follows are some cryptic statements that I hold due to having made The Christ Principle one of my assumptions.
The New Commandment.
32[If God is glorified in him,] God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once.r
33My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, ‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.s
35This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”https://bible.usccb.org/bible/john/13
Praise to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. –Cistercian doxology