The Difference

I was at Barnes & Nobles the other day, and I overheard a conversation between two young women (prob. college-aged) while I was browsing the theology/religion/spirituality section.

One of the girls (speaking to her companion) said something like, “the difference between me and you is that I have accepted Jesus into my heart . . .”

And that sparked the following thought . . .

We are created, hand crafted, one of a kind collectibles. We are unique creations of God. We have God’s own breath and Spirit moving within us. It’s Matthew Fox’s “original blessing” all over again.

So I take it to mean that we already have Jesus in our hearts. Christian or not, believer or not, God’s life – grace, God’s own presence – is moving and animating us.

So it seems to become an issue of perception, not acceptance. When we are awakened to the reality of God with us, it’s only a shift in perception. It goes back to having a sacramental worldview, a view that says that all creation is charged with the beauty, the majesty, the grandeur of God – including us. (We are part of creation, after all!)

The individual sacraments, especially the sacraments of initiation, then become moments when we are awakened to the mystery of God already residing in the depths of our soul. They help shift our perception to the point where we can recognize, not accept, that we are already members of God’s family, members of the Body of Christ for Christian believers. They continually call us to this shift, this metanoia, this conversion. Every Eucharist, every Reconciliation – they challenge us to move our awareness of God’s presence deeper and deeper.

I remember once, in college, going on a retreat to a camp somewhere in Texas. During one of our break times several of us walked on a small ledge overlooking an ancient river bed. We had to walk the ledge with our bodies pressed against the rock face, inching side to side along the precarious perch. I was doing fine, until we stopped for an unknown reason. I happened to glance up, and inches from my right hand I saw a spider about 1.5 times the size of my hand just sitting there.

I don’t like spiders.

My perception shifted – I was no longer walking on a narrow ledge in relative comfort . . . I was inches away from a feared enemy. I froze. I couldn’t move on. If I hd been alone, I might have stood rooted to that spot, jumping if the spider got too close, or inching away as fast as I could if it finally moved away.

I also remember a story I read in The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People (or it might’ve been in Stephen Covey’s son’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Teens – can’t remember which one), about a man who boards a bus with his two children. The man sits down, oblivious to the bus, his kids and everyone else on the bus, while his children proceed to run, jump, shout and generally annoy everyone else on the bus. A woman finally works up the nerve to confront the father, asking him to reign in his children. The man proceeds to tell her, and everyone else on the bus, that they are coming from the hospital – they have just learned of his wife’s death. He says that he does not know how to handle it, and neither do his children.

Again, the perception on that bus was changed for the other passengers. They no longer thought of this man in negative terms; they only had compassion for his plight and for the suffering of his children.

A case of perception shifting the reality of each person.

I think the Church’s emphasis on discernment fits this well – as we develop our intuition and intellect, it becomes easier to listen to the still, small voice of god enshrined in our very bones – we become better able to follow the Spirit’s promptings – we become better able to join our lives and our stories to The Story, the life of God and the story of redemption and salvation being played out in our world.

I’ve been corrupted 🙂 to the point where I can’t preach an elite salvation, a salvation of gnosis, where only those with the right passwords can get in. I have an inkling that God may be more just and merciful that we can ever imagine.

I would like to believe, along with my Muslim brethren, that even the Devil will, @ the end of time, be converted, shaken from it’s self-imposed exile of pride and unforgiveness.

Speaking of which, I’m moving toward seeing Lucifer as it’s portrayed in Job – the Satan, the anadvocate, the tempter, the tester – someone/something in God’s employment that does what God needs it to do . . .

But more on that another time.

Wishing everyone a (belated) happy New Year . . .

Blessings & Peace,

Hugo

2 thoughts on “The Difference

  1. Hugo says:

    As I peruse my past posts I notice that I never replied . . . so not sure if ou’ll ever read it . . . I see it that God has put himself into our very core . . . we coe from God and are supposed to go back to God . . . so why would God build us (so to speak) without hiself in us already? We are called temples of the spirit and image of God for this reason – that God in Christ is already a part of us – it is the part that responds when we hear th egospel message – it is the part that longs to go back to it’s true home in heaven . .

    Blessings & Peace,
    Hugo

  2. Jeff says:

    I find your theory really interesting and deep. I’d give you my opinion if I really had one. I do believe that Jesus isn’t really within us unless we accept him and allow him in. I’ve never really heard it described in your terms before.

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