I’ve been thinking for awhile about doing an additional post for the blog each week, something that has caught my attention by challenging or encouraging me. Something that I thought might be meaningful to others too. Today is the day to begin, because I came across this gem, written by Richard Rohr and posted through his daily meditations. This will be one to sift through for awhile, again and again. To discover one’s soul…
The writings of the Hebrew Scriptures show an evolutionary development, a gradual coming to see how God acts in human life. God is not changing; it is our comprehension of God that is changing. As we go through the Scriptures, what we see in Israel’s growth as a people is a pattern of what happens to every person and to every people who set out on the journey of faith. They go through stages and gradually come to see how God loves them and what God’s liberation does for them. But they come kicking and screaming and denying.
In the first stage, people start to experience the reality of God and God’s love as more than abstract concepts. At the same time, however, they tend to believe that God’s love is limited to just themselves, a select few such as a chosen people or the one true Church.
In the second stage, people begin to respond to God’s love, but they perceive God’s love as rather totally dependent on their ideal response. They believe that grace is a conditional gift, that God will love them if they are good, that God will save or reward them if they keep the commandments.
In the third stage, people begin to see God’s love as unlimited and unconditional, but they do not see further than that. They acknowledge that God loves them whether they are good or bad, and that God is gracious to the just and the unjust alike. But they still think that God is doing that from afar, from up in heaven somewhere. They do not yet see themselves as inherently participating in the process. Frankly, they have not discovered their own soul yet.
Finally, in the fourth stage, they make the breakthrough to seeing that God’s grace and love is present within them, through them, with them, and even as them! The mystery of incarnation has come full circle. They can now enjoy God’s temple within their own body, as Paul loves to teach, and can love themselves and others and God by the same one flow. It is all one stream of Love! They now fully realize that it is God who is doing the loving, and they surrender themselves to being channels and instruments of that Divine Flow into the world.