Follower of Jesus (29)
Jul 30, 2017
Follower of Jesus (29)
Blessed are the merciful,
For they will be shown mercy. (2)
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” (Isaiah 49: 15). Thus God spoke through the loving words recorded in Isaiah. This quote attempts to show the mercy of God, which speaks of the ocean of Love that is God – God does not have love, God IS love, whose depth is unimaginable to us on earth, limited by our inability to reach beyond our experiences.
One of the best statements of God’s mercy and compassion is from Julian of Norwich (1342-1416), mystic and theologian, reported in her breathtaking mystical book “Revelations of Divine Love” (1395) where she discloses the mind of God revealed to her in visions. She asked God to teach her about the troubling issue of sin. All she could see was the boundless ocean of love. This is what she reported in her book: “But the truth is, I did not see any sin. I believe sin has no substance, not a particle of being, and cannot be detected at all except by the pain it causes. It is only the pain that has substance, for a while, and it serves to purify us and make us know ourselves and ask for mercy.” (Taken from the Summer 2017, vol. 7 No. 3 issue of “the Mendicant”, a newsletter issued quarterly by the Center for Action and Contemplation.)
As we find ourselves attempting to live a life filled with mercy, we find ourselves giving from our depths over and over. Sometimes being overwhelmed by the true needs that are in our very neighborhoods, let alone worldwide. Mercy is the foundation of the Christian life; unless one is truly merciful, one is not a follower of Jesus. “Father, forgive them—“ what better definition of mercy can be shown? Over the centuries, after the year 312 when the church became the tool of the emperor, the church forgot that dictum of mercy, and was merciless in its attack on the so-called non-Christians, without understanding it had wondered away from the fundamental teachings of Jesus.
But God is patient, and always speaks in a language that could be understood by the recipient. Thus God continued to whisper the truths, and brought Francis of Assisi (13 century) to build the church anew. Some progress was made, but here we are 800 years later, still forgetting that primary message of Jesus: Forgive us Father, for we know not what we do. So God forgives us as we fail to see the beauty of God’s love in all created things. Slowly, oh so slowly, humanity is moving in the direction of oneness and care – but it is two steps forward, and 1.9999 steps backwards. Over the centuries humanity has made remarkable progress, but it can be seen only in hindsight, over the centuries.
We always approach life from a separated viewpoint: myself against the world. We do not see, as a human, that we are, each and every one of us, made in the image and likeness of God (see Genesis 1), and as a single image, are one in spirit and soul. God sees only a reflection of Itself, since all God sees is that image and likeness of grandeur and beauty that is the truth of what we are. Jesus put it like this: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me and I am in you.” (John 14:20).
We have no problem with the first part: “I am in the Father.”. But we stop there, and refuse, absolutely refuse, to believe the second part: “You are in me and I am in you”. Our eyes just skip that section, for our religions have drummed into us that the statement cannot be true, as we are the scum of the earth, unworthy for anything— unless you follow these set of rules (and the religions each have their own vast set of rules). The news of Jesus, that Jesus and I are one, are too good to be true.
Oh Wisdom Most High, open our hearts to the truth of the good news that Jesus came to teach us: we are all one, one in You and one in one another. This breathtaking news is truly seemingly too good to be true, and we still find it extremely challenging to accept, even now, 2000 years after it was given to us. open my heart to Your love that is greater than any love I can imagine. I ask, in gratitude, for this love and the openness to accept You at Your word: You and I are one, uniting everything in creation into Yourself. Nothing can exist outside of You; all exists in You and through You. Help me to rest in Your love to see the oneness of all that is. I am grateful for all You are opening up to us today, and look forward to all You will be showing us through our experience in Your oneness.