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Center for Action and Contemplation

At Home in God

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Growing in Christ: Week 2

At Home in God
Thursday, March 28, 2019

If I am not doing my Father’s work, there is no need to believe in me, but at least believe in the work I do; then you will know for sure that the Father is in me and I am in the Father. —John 10:37-38

David Benner, a friend and depth psychologist, explores what it means to grow in Christ, and I think he does it very well:

Being one with the Father seems to have been central to the consciousness of Jesus. His whole life flowed out of this fundamental awareness. I am quite convinced that this [awareness] had to be cultivated. It makes a mockery of his humanity to think that as an infant he knew he was God. His humanity demanded that he grow physically, psychologically, and spiritually. . . .

[Jesus’] own teachings assure us that we also can and are meant to know a similar oneness. This is the testimony of those who have encountered their divine self. . . .

Mystics [across all spiritual traditions] love the Divine so much that they no longer see any boundaries between God and mortals. . . . They point to a single center of their deepest knowing—that they are one with the Beloved, and that the further they go in this journey of love into the Beloved, the less clear any boundaries between God and self become. Cynthia Bourgeault states, “As we move toward our center, our own being and the divine being become more and more mysteriously interwoven.” [1]

Meister Eckhart [c. 1260–c. 1328] speaks of a place in the depths of our soul in which God alone can dwell and in which we dwell in God. Meeting God in this place, we are invited to sink into what he calls “the eternity of the Divine essence.” Doing so, however, we never become the Divine essence. This, he says, is because “God has left a little point wherein the soul turns back on itself and finds itself, and knows itself to be a creature.” [2] The Christian mystics do not confuse themselves and God. They know that in union with God, human personality is neither lost nor converted into divine personality. But they also know the profound inadequacy of language to either hold or communicate these deep mysteries.

I have been blessed to have the opportunity to know well several people for whom union with God was not just a momentary experience but a relatively stable part of their ongoing journey. . . .

What struck me most as I related to them over time was that their ever-deepening journey into God made them more deeply human, not less human. . . . None showed an avoidance of the realities of life, and none seemed to use their spiritual experience as an escape. Although by this point they had all established a contemplative dimension to their life, they all were active in serving others in the world. This, they knew, was their home, and it was here that they had learned to meet God.

[1] Cynthia Bourgeault, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening (Cowley: 2004), 13.

[2] William Ralph Inge, Light, Life and Love: Selections from the German Mystics of the Middle Ages (Methuen & Co.: 1904), 15.

David G. Benner, Spirituality and the Awakening Self: The Sacred Journey of Transformation (Brazos Press: 2012), 142, 143, 144.

Image credit: Krishna and Radna Looking into A Mirror (detail), artist unknown, 1800, National Museum, New Delhi, India.

Inspiration for this week’s banner image: The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me: my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, and one love. —Meister Eckhart

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