The problem with trying to solve any equation is knowing the formula. Granted that the Divine Equation’s six postulates have been answered correctly, there is still one thing left to do. You must use the correct key, the only one that fits into this lock, and turn it, to open the door to the fullness of what it means to be human and allow you entrance into your destiny. Once inside, several languages help to grow deeper into the inexhaustible knowledge of how all reality fits together and what it means to be what nature intended us to be. St. Thomas Aquinas states that “Knowledge precedes love.”
THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
It occurred to me that, given that I answered all six postulates of The Divine Equation correctly, there was still another glaring problem, one that is archetypal in its implications for what it means to be fully human. What is the key that allowed me to interpret the information correctly? By key, I don’t just mean a physical key like the one I use to unlock my house, although that analogy is part of my description. I have in mind a key more like the Enigma machine of WWII fame. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0x8yfrsIoko
In my intellectual probing of reality, I have been through many Lectio Divina meditations on this subject of free choice. Most of the time, I have opened up more questions than answers. I began to realize that this feeling of incompleteness is an answer, but one, like the Enigma machine, needs deciphering. What language can I use to ask the correct questions and get the correct and authentic answers that allow me to gain more insight into what it means to be fully human as our nature intended? Well, it all comes down to this key. Like the Enigma analogy, neither the experience of how to walk this way (path) nor what is true comes with being born as a human into the context of Original Sin. Like Erich Fromm’s premise in his book, The Art of Loving, we don’t automatically receive infused knowledge on how to love fiercely. All knowledge humans use is intelligent progression; it is acquired, not infused. An intended or unintended consequence of Original Sin is that humans must work for our bread (Genesis 2-3). That also applies to knowledge, love, and, most significantly, what it means to wake up on this rocky ball of gases and realize that you can ask the questions in The Divine Equation and be sure that your answers are authentic.
Now comes the most challenging question of all, one that gives The Divine Equation legitimacy, one that allows me to ask and answer questions with one immutable answer, beyond my limited human abilities, and one that is true. These answers do not come from humanity but from pure energy, pure knowledge, pure love, and pure service, yet, once applied, they open up a reality that we could not possibly achieve with reason and our free will alone. This is not the freedom to choose what we want, but rather knowing what to choose and how to do it, moving into a realm where the truth will make me accessible. What is the correct key that, if applied to these six postulates, allows me to approach (not solve) this paradox of what it means to be human? Truth is one because there is only one truth. I had not been aware of the implications that what I choose as answers to The Divine Equation must have resonance and not dissonance with the totality of all that is. Of all the choices of all the people who ever lived, I have seventy or eight years to get it right, if I am lucky. It is not enough to know the questions of The Divine Equation. I must answer what it means to be fully human correctly. Where do I find the truth?
KEYS I EXPLORED TO UNLOCK THE DIVINE EQUATION
SCIENCE AS A KEY — When looking for one key that unlocked the secrets of what it means to be human, I first turned to the scientific approach to life. I still use it because it makes sense to look for the answers to physical reality with the tools of mathematics, chemistry, physics, medicine, artificial intelligence, and research into cures for cancer and other physical ailments that plague humanity. The approach is that we know what we can observe and prove with the language of Science. There is applied Science and theoretical Science, for example, doing physics to find new ways to expand our knowledge of this discipline. An essential part of how I look at reality as a Lay Cistercian comes from the scientists who pose questions about humanity based on their recent discoveries. It means I am challenged to continually seek a deeper reality based on my accumulated knowledge. I am not a trained chemist or astrobiologist, but I know enough that what I know needs more to satisfy my curiosity. I love Science because it asks the interrogatives (Who? What? Why? and Why Not?, Where?), just to name a few. The essence of science is the process of wondering, what if?
The Achilles Heel of Science
All these keys have an Achilles Heel, either a blindspot or assumptions you hold that will not allow you to advance. What’s the story of his ‘Achilles heel’?
“Thetis gives birth to Achilles who, unlike her, is mortal. She attempts to make the baby Achilles immortal, by dipping him in the River Styx (the river that runs through the underworld), while holding him by his heel. The one part of his body left untouched by the waters becomes his only point of weakness, hence the phrase ‘Achilles heel’.”https://blog.britishmuseum.org/who-was-achilles/
I tried the key of Science to unlock The Divine Equation, but it fit but would not open the door to knowledge. When I applied Science to answer the questions of the Divine Equation, I found that this key is excellent at describing what is going on in the physical universe using the mental universe. The Achilles heel of Science in my search was twofold: It is a tool of the mind to seek reality with what it can observe and proven. I like that approach. The problem is Science does not include reality; it cannot see, such as what is invisible. Secondly, it does not admit that such a reality as the spiritual universe exists, so they don’t seek to include it in their definition of reality.
I have what I consider the answers to the six postulates of The Divine Equation. Who tells me what is a good or bad answer? Who is to tell me what is correct and not authentic and why? I need a key or an authority against which I can measure my answer to see if it is correct. Again. Science as a way of answering The Divine Equation is just one such key, but, as I have pointed out, it is not so much wrong as incomplete. All humans have the freedom to choose what they want to be at their center, but not all centers will make us accessible and fulfill the destiny of what nature intended for us. It depends on what we choose to use as a key to interpreting reality to determine if something is moral or not.
HUMAN REASONING AND FREE CHOICE AS A KEY — If Science uses the disciplines of mathematics, chemistry, physics, medicine, psychology, and biology, to look at the physical and mental universes to discover what makes us up and to explain the environment in which we find ourselves, then everything else (logic, literature, poetry, religion, etc…) is the second way to look at The Divine Equation. We seek the answers using this second key based on the physical and mental universes. No God exists, no supreme being, just what we accumulate about what life is from the trials and errors of the human mind over the centuries. Science and human reasoning are not the keys, but there is no key without them.
Then, a paradigm shift in time and space happens; I am alive during whatever time I live. I look at what humanity left me to figure out the purpose of life and what my purpose is. I get to choose what I want as my center, good or bad. Now comes a third filter to add complexity to my quest for meaning–what does reality look like. Suppose I look at the amalgam of ideas from Aristotle through Jesus and continue to be modern apologists for humanism and nationalism. In that case, I get my ideas from those around me and forge two basic ways to look at reality (one, the physical and mental universes that St. Paul termed the World, and the second one is three universes that add spirituality to the first two). What does all of this mean, or, more correctly, how does it all fit together? Here, I can insert one of my keys to see what is behind my chosen door. It sounds like the game show “Let’s Make a Deal,” starring the late Monty Hall. Strangely, it is a game show. We make a choice but must live with the choice and its implications. While living, we can change curtains if we don’t like the one we selected. We must also live with what we have chosen unless we change it.
This second key (you may know of more) is about me and the accumulated situations, choices, and experiences that are unique to this body. I make choices, what is good for me or what I think is good for me that will actually hurt me with the sum total of who I am. I am the key who must open the lock of The Divine Equation. If you notice, with this approach, your lock is not my lock, nor are your choices my choices. Only one key can open the door of purpose and, eventually, what it means to be fully human. That might not make sense on the surface but consider this. If TRUTH is one, then if you or I live our lives measuring our choices against that TRUTH, it is the WAY for both of us. Even though our LIFE might be totally different, as long as our center is one, then the products of TRUTH will be the same, even though the way we achieved it was different.
There is one (or more) problem; I don’t possess the ongoing energy to be able to sustain my key to turn it in the appropriate lock. Even if I want to be able to discover the purpose of life, I lack the energy to make choices that will enable me to be fully human. I can’t turn that lock with my humanity alone. Original Sin seems to have revealed its poison pill again. Only humans can turn the lock of their free choice yet, lack the power to do so. One reason that comes to my mind is that behind that door we try to unlock contains our destiny in another spiritual universe. Humans can’t unlock the Divine Nature, yet we are called to be adopted sons, daughters, and heirs to God’s kingdom. f I am the key, which I am, then has God played a cruel joke on me, a type of divine bate, and switch that toys with my emotions and longings? If there is no resurrection, then life is just a cruel fantasy in which I am the main character.
There is only one answer to this seeming conundrum. Your destiny as a human being exists behind a door numbered ONE. I am the key to unlock what is behind that door, but I don’t have the energy to fit my key in the lock and turn it. It is above my pay grade. All is not lost. God hears the cry of the poor and feels our hurt. God sends Himself, His Son, to become Sin so that everyone (everyone) has help opening that door. Jesus is the energy of the Father that helps each one of us to open the door of our hearts to become fully human, but there is a catch. I must give back to God the one thing that defines me as a human being, more than the animals, capable of love, freely as a gift back to God. Thy will be done, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in the heavens.” I do this by following the footsteps of Christ, who said, “Learn of me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will have rest for your souls.”
The Gentle Mastery of Christ.
30For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”https://bible.usccb.org/bible/matthew/11
God’s gift back for you dying to yourself to become more like Christ and less like you is the adoption as a son or daughter. Your gift to God echoes Mary’s, “Let it be done to me according to Your Word.” Luke 1:46-55. These full quotes allow you to pause, think, pray, and say “Thank You.”
The Canticle of Mary.
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;w
47my spirit rejoices in God my savior.x
48For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.y
49The Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.z
50His mercy is from age to age
to those who fear him.a
51He has shown might with his arm,
dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.b
52He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones
but lifted up the lowly.c
53The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.d
54He has helped Israel his servant,
remembering his mercy,e
55according to his promise to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”fhttps://bible.usccb.org/bible/luke/1
The more sophisticated humans become, the more they want to examine the WHY of how they find themselves with seventy or eighty years on this earth.
Human reasoning alone is not able to comprehend the concept of God.
There is something more to life than just existing and passing time until you die.
Humans moved from animality to rationality while retaining all the emotions, traits, most of the DNA, and urges for power, procreation, dominance, and a natural affinity more closely aligned to animal past than spiritual future.
Humans are naturally inclined to act as animals, but those with reason and freedom to choose what is good for them.
In the Old Testament, God used Israel as a pilot program on inserting a way to become more and more like what nature intended. In the New Testament, Jesus became one of us because we were not able to process what it means to be what our nature intended. Jesus had to redo Genesis once more but this time getting it right. The caveat is, we still live in the world with our inclinations to do what is easy for us, whereas Christ’s lesson is to get rid of those false inclinations by dying to what seems like our normal self but is, in reality, lacking the power to be fully human.
Humans are not evil in their nature but rather prone to choose what is easy and convenient over what is right. God tells us and Christ shows us the way to be fully human, how to use what is true to become adopted sons and daughters of the Father, and how to live a life that will lead us to be fully human.
RECAP So far, I have uncovered two languages that have the potential to unlock The Divine Equation, the set of proposals that, if opened correctly, tell us what it means to be fully human and to claim the inheritance our nature intends.
THE THIRD KEY: The Christ Principle
This third key is one where I must abandon everything I know to this point in order to energize the key. I must still turn the key in the lock. What could this possibly mean? I give my limited power to turn the lock in my center to Jesus in return for His divine power to do what I could never do for myself. As a result of that dying to self, I am now becoming more and more human as I complete whatever time and tasks God has for me. It is only when I give away the two seemingly most important things to me, knowledge of good or evil and the free choice to make my humanity fulfilled, that I can have the power to turn the key in the lock of The Divine Equation.
The Christ Principle is the only way, the one truth, and the only life I will ever need as the Father’s adopted son (daughter). It is also the only way I can possibly have enough energy to turn the key in this lock of tomorrow.
The late Rev. Dr. Billy Graham gave me the spark that enlightened my darkness about how much God loved me. Here I am talking just about me, not Church, not Lay Cistercians, nor any organized group. I am the only person in the entire existence of the physical, mental and spiritual universes that lives in my space and my time. There are no two of us, but each human ever born has that envelope or bubble of time (seventy or eighty years, if we are strong), to discover about life and become what we discover. My awareness from the Holy Spirit snuck in the idea that all of this was so that I could say YES to the invitation to become a son (daughter) of the Father. This is so from before time had its first “tick”. The purpose of my life is to discover why I am here and to fulfill my destiny as a human being. God’s love is so great that, if I was the only person who ever existed, this would be my destiny.
Deep Dive into the Christ Principle
LAY CISTERCIAN PRACTICES AND CHARISMS
Among the many ways to practice how to sustain love until we dty. This is a way that I die to myself to rise each day to have the mind of Christ Jes in meus. (Philippians 2:5).
This repetition of seeking God each day becomes an occasion to show how I must die for the convenience and comfort of doing what makes my physical body happy, transforming this happiness into what will ultimately make me more human and less animal.
Lectio Divina is simply me making room for the Holy Spirit to sit with Christ on a park bench in the dead of winter and wait.