I had something else laid out and ready to go this week, but coming up on the Independence Day Holiday, I felt a need to say something more.
When friends ask how I am lately, I say cheerfully that I have my ups and downs. But this past week, after news of the Russians putting bounties on the heads of American service members, and the continuing surge of the Corona Virus, I have felt great despair over the future of our country. I am perfectly capable of going off on a political rant, but I don’t want to do that. It would serve no practical purpose beyond an emotional release. I am seldom persuasive. I don’t think I have ever changed anyone’s mind about anything.
Instead I want to talk about our souls.
As many of you know, I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church and until recently I continued to participate in many of its rituals. The truest thing I can say about my faith now is that I believe in everything and nothing.
I firmly believe that if God is all powerful, then s/he/they are able and willing to manifest Him/Her/Them Selves in whatever way will best reach any particular creature. I believe every religion that teaches open-hearted loving acceptance of others is true. I believe Yahweh, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, and Wiccan Goddesses are all manifestations of the Divine. I believe you and I are manifestations of the Divine.
Or perhaps not.
This disclaimer is an admission that I don’t know. Anyone in a human body who claims to know with 100 per cent certainty is probably trying to con you.
I’ve been using this honest disclaimer for a while now, I guess as a way of keeping my options open, but also as a way to fit easily into any discussion of spiritual matters. Yeah, I believe it all! It’s all fine with me.
I’m not sure why, but this week I want to articulate my beliefs more clearly.
I want to believe, and so I will in fact choose to believe—that we—each one of us—has chosen to be here. In other words, we are made for these times.
I have read stories of reincarnation, a belief that we live many lives. I have heard theories that after death, each soul meets with God or with a metaphorical Saint Peter or perhaps with an entire team of angelic advisers to plan out one’s next moves. For my friends and former colleagues in special education, this reminds me of an Independent Education Plan (IEP) meeting when parents, teachers, and various therapists get together annually to formally document a child’s progress and decide which classes and special therapies the student will participate in during the next school year.
Yeah, I just don’t think it happens like that on the celestial level. Not exactly.
Another thought: my Catholic upbringing encourages me to embrace a spirit of service to others. I was raised to believe this was our purpose in life, to continually grow toward a more idyllic “heaven on Earth,” where all people regardless of ethnic and religious differences would live together free of poverty and oppression and war.
Yeah, I don’t see that happening any time soon either.
Recently I read something I liked, that resonated with me, but when I went back looking, I couldn’t find the source of the quote. So I’m paraphrasing, but if it sounds familiar, please let me know. I have no wish to steal. Here it is:
If God has a purpose, it is self-revelation.
In other words, God/Divine Energy/ the Universe wants us to know Him/Her/Them. God wants to be in relationship with us.
I believe that this God is so mysterious, so unlike our human experience, so agile and spontaneous and, okay, magical, that this Entity is beyond anything that we might imagine. But I believe this Entity or Energy is active and creative in the here and now. Perhaps we cannot imagine it, but It has imagined us.
It is an age-old question, especially popular in the age of Corona Virus, to ask why God allows suffering. Again, I don’t know, but my thought is this: anything and everything we perceive here on planet Earth is an opportunity to know God. Pain is a powerful portal where we might encounter the Divine. And where the Divine will encounter us.
Matter cannot be created or destroyed. It’s the same matter forming and re-forming itself, like water to steam to rainfall to ice to water again. Likewise our consciousness is forming and re-forming itself and the Divine forms and re-forms with us. We are here now for a reason. I don’t know how or why but I propose that people of faith must now imagine a better way, a consciously sacred path forward, a prayer that will lead us back to the unselfish dream of something more heavenly here on Earth.
I know this all sounds disjointed, but I’m okay with that. I’m not trying to convert anybody to my bizarre religion of one. I am extending an invitation to pray or imagine—which in my mind is often the same thing. Imagine healing, imagine grace, imagine a holy outcome that will include health and happiness for all creatures on this planet. Then ask the Divine to lead you, to lead us, to show us the way.
What more can you do? Ask and more will be revealed.
I pray and affirm that our God imagines and manifests a sacred path of healing, and guides us to follow it. Amen.
Photo by Mark Basarab on Unsplash.