As we move into 2014, I continue to reflect on the homily given by Pope Francis on Christmas, and I feel moved to share these thoughts with you. My intention is to convey my reflections, and is not in any way meant to offend those who are not of the Christian faith. I believe that there are many paths to God, and I am dedicated to the study of theology and the practice of living with devotion. My only desire is to move the world and myself to a higher place, where love, humility, and boundless compassion help us all progress in our spiritual renewal. In this way, we can rekindle hope, and actively involve ourselves in molding a positive future through our actions.
To do so requires cultivating consciousness in our daily existence. But much of modern life conspires against this. More than ever before, life seems to be gathering speed. I believe—and I know that I’m not alone—that we are attempting to process too much information that doesn’t really serve us. Computers, smart phones, and TV are now the primary ways that we relate, socialize, and gather information, taking the place of genuine face-to-face interaction. As a result, we no longer live at the speed of authentic life. It’s no wonder that we feel disconnected, lost, and lonely.
I am inspired by the hopeful message of Pope Francis, and his encouragement for all of us to respect one another, as well as to respect all religions. In my personal experience, I have found that by expanding my understanding of other religions, I grow as a Christian and as a human being. For this reason, I read books not only on Orthodox Christianity, but also on Buddhism, Judaism, and all other faiths; for Christmas, I received a wonderful book on all of the Jewish holidays and what they symbolize.
In my reading, I notice that it often appears that the central tenant of Christianity and other religions is the belief that the Divine’s creative act is stagnant, something that was started and completed eons ago. So it’s easy to think that religion is merely cultural and not alive. As such, we can’t easily relate to it, and we reason that it has no meaning in our day-to-day lives. But the Divine is not over and above us. The Divine presence calls us into the fullness of our being in this moment, and asks only that our “doing” be a reflection of our “being.” My hope in sharing these reflections is that they will encourage you to consider how this applies to your life, and how you might respond in your unique way to the voice of God.
Excerpts from Pope Francis’ homily:
In recalling the birth of Jesus, we are reminded that it is the shepherds who were the first to see and receive the news of Jesus’ birth. They were the first because they were among the last, the outcast. “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Mathew 20:16) They were the first because they were awake, keeping watch in the night, guarding their flocks.
We bless you, Lord God most high, who lowered yourself for our sake through the birth of Jesus. You are immense, and you made yourself small; you are rich and you made yourself poor; you are all-powerful and you made yourself vulnerable.
Do not be afraid! Our Father is patient, He loves us, and He gives us Jesus to guide us on the way, which leads to the Promised Land. Jesus is the light who brightens the darkness. He is our peace.
What this means to me
Is this the God we expected? When we truly reflect on the miracle of Christ amongst us, do we (our spirit which is not of this world) say, “Yes, and I love you Lord above all else.”
The question I ask myself after reading this is, “Do I want to be involved in God?” and “Does God want to be involved in me?” God coming into the world as Jesus confirms the second part of this question for me. Now if both of these are true, the next important question to ask is “What does this mean?”
The Old Testament begins with: “In the beginning,” it does not answer what was there before. It simply states that this is where we are now, the beginning of the creation and of continuing creating. What it does answer is that we get to be part of the beginning of God’s creating life, and that God invites us to a relationship.
This brings to mind jazz, another great passion in my life. In jazz, playing in a group is what makes the piece of music beautiful, full of life, connectedness, creativity, passion, and perhaps even unveils the Divine within the human consciousness. It isn’t important that every note be right, but that everyone is listening and playing together, understanding that they are all interconnected to one another at all times. The music becomes an exploration of the merging of the knowing and the unknowing within each of us as individuals, as well as a group seeking a dimension of God and heaven.
In Mederi Medicine, we approach healing in much the same way. At the Centre for Natural Healing, we practice the Eclectic Triphasic Medical System (ETMS), and within this integrative and unified approach to healing we use an array of medicines that together with the healer-to-patient relationship often produces miraculous results. But in truth, we cannot point to any one thing that ensures healing. I don’t believe we can ever say, “This herb, this treatment, this one thing is what will create healing.” For this reason, I humbly embrace both the scientific knowing aspects of what we do as well as the mystical unknowing aspect of what we do.
These musings bring me back to the Divine. Always being “positioned,” as opposed to being “placed,” we have the freedom to respond, and to live to please God. This means being and doing as Jesus would be and do. This is the great challenge. And this is why so many of us would rather avoid this question all together, and just live out our lives not butting into God’s life and not asking God to butt into ours—at least until we are confronted with tragedy, we have no answers, and we then look to God for help.
I encourage you to take time to reflect on the thought that the Divine has breathed life into each and every one of us, as well as the beautiful world given to us, and all the plants that provide food and medicine for nourishment and healing. May this year bring you the blessings of love, peace, hope, and health.