Pentecost Reflection: Spiritual Consciousness
Franciscan Reflections From The Hermitage – Spiritual Consciousness – Pentecost – (John 14:15-26)
This is your dream… you deserve it… you’ve worked hard for it… it is your heritage and inheritance… it is your right…
These are the affirmations that are our staple diet. The progression of this claim is not asserted quite so loudly: they don’t deserve it… they haven’t worked for it… it is not their heritage or inheritance… it is not their right. The conclusion we hear only with great alarm from the haughtiness of those we term dangerous, irrational, or perhaps delusional: my life is more important, I matter… MORE! We may wince, yet somewhere in the hidden corner of our heart, a chord is struck.
This is sin, and the inability to see and respond to that which is real. This Hamartia, this missing the mark, this sin, is beyond any adherence to a particular moral code.
Without awakening of Spiritual consciousness, we remain blind, unable, or unwilling to hold the truth of God’s manifestation and action in our world. This blindness leads to the retaining of those bonds, those sins that stunt our growth and perpetuate an entanglement of woundedness that rob us of life and joy. This is sin that transmits its dis-ease to all other creatures and even to our mother Earth. These wounds corrupt our actions so that even as we reach towards good work we rob others of their dignity.
The great gift of God’s Holy Spirit is connected to the forgiveness of sins, the healing of this woundedness. As our life becomes more centred on this relationship with the Spirit of Truth, I am brought to a deep attentive awareness of the one Source of unconditional Love and Light which exposes all selfish egocentric distractions, violence, hypocrisy, guilt, arbitrary power, and that fear of loss that manifests itself as clinging, grasping acquisitiveness.
As I recognise these, my wounds reflected against God’s Love and Light, I am led to repentance and acknowledgement of how these sins affect my relationships, binding me in chains, as I also bind others to their past faults. We are led and called by the Holy Spirit of truth to bring forgiveness and healing to all the members of God’s body in the assembly of the church.
This awakening of the divine within leads us to become aware, more fully human, and living life fully on a foundation of hope, gratitude, empathy, and compassion. The Holy Spirit of Truth leads us as the Beloved Community and family of God to free each other from the attachments of sin that enslave us.
The heart of humanity is filled with so much woundedness, pain, and suffering that we readily reach for mental tranquillisers and glib religious platitudes… Faith must be deeper than that, rooted in the unknown and in the abyss of darkness that is the ground of our being. No use teasing the darkness to try to make answers grow out of it. But if we learn how to have deep inner patience, things solve themselves, or God solves them if you prefer: but do not expect to see how. Just learn to wait, and do what you can, and help other people. Often it is in helping someone else we find the best way to bear our own trouble. – Thomas Merton from his Christmas letter, 1966.
It is the Spirit of Truth that leads us to forgive even the unforgivable and to heal our deepest wounds and divisions. It is the same Spirit of Truth that leads us towards living simply in service of others without the great triumphalist slogans and banners that separate us from those others and dull our senses to reality.
Those others, are also made in the same likeness and image of God and share with me the same experiences of pain and the same experiences of joy. This brings us to accept that it is not in ‘fixing’ situations or in ‘helping’ the other in some processes of reconciliation that healing takes place. When Jesus bent down to wash the feet of his disciples, he showed us that service in a relationship between equals draws us into that Love relationship that heals us and others.