Everything She is Called to, We are Called to

April 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Mary, Theotokos and so much more!  God-Bearer.  Disciple.  Priesthood Personified.  Divinization.   Spirit Bearer.    Not necessarily in that order.

In the post which precedes this post, I laid the groundwork for what I hope to do here.  I provided a scriptural underpinning for our common humanity with both Mary and her son (who receives his humanity from her and wants to share his Divinity with us).

Instead of just putting my comments into words, I hope to do so through images.  For it is not just a saying that “one picture is worth a thousand words” but indeed our right hemisphere codes meaning in “flashes” you might say, in imagery, packing “wholeness” for us, which pages and pages of words can only try to unpack.

So without further ado, I want to present several images.  Images which “show” what I hope to say here, images which tell us theological truths about Mary, the Theotokos, and also about our own calling, to be transformed into God-Bearers ~ in order to exercise a Priestly Callingto bring all things into Christ.

First, the Burning Bush.  The image par excellence of God’s fiery Love and Presence – in our hearts:

HOLY GROUND

 

We are all called.

As Moses was called.

As Mary was called.

Worthiness?

We live into it.

As best we can.

Most HOLY Theotokos

Mary, Theotokos, tells us everything

I’m trying to say.

….

Life-Giving Spring

Heart Streams:

Our hearts and Mary’s heart.

Streams of Life running through us.

The Gift of Tears.

The Sacred in the Ordinary.

Inner Liturgy of the Heart.

A Heart crushed and broken!

On Fire with Love!

Divinization!

Mary’s Calling and our Calling.  The inner priesthood of the heart.  Note Mary’s upturned hands in the orans or priestly position.  The inner Christ.  Presiding in Temple of our Heart.  The flame of the Spirit within our hearts.

See Alexander Golitzin’s wonderful paper (in two parts) on Liturgy and Mysticism, which does a far better job than I could ever do in putting all this together.  See also this wonderful description by him of the Place of the Presence of God – in the living presence of a divinized holy person.  (These articles require time and attention, but yield much fruit!)

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Corporate Personhood: An Essential Spiritual Reality

July 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Corporate Personhood.  It’s basic to Judaeo-Christian heritage, though neither religion uses that term.  Not only is it basic to how ancient Hebrews viewed themselves, but it profoundly grounds Christian experience as inextricably corporate:  a body of believers in a mystical unity so profound, of such depth that I think it reaches into silence.  For it strikes one dumb – in Awe. Or comes to fruition in prayer, in poetry, in actions of self-giving and the gift of self-transcendance.  To seeing, as Paul did, Christ within (oneself and others) and all of us in Fellowship – in Him.

The Eucharist is precisely the Sacrament of this Mystery.  Whose beginnings can be traced back to Genesis.  As John’s Gospel makes clear.

Corporate Personhood.  We see it first in Jacob.  The man who wrestled with God. The man whose name was thereafter changed to Israel.  A very human man, a trickster who was later tricked again and again.  A man who had to flee his homeland (as later Moses had to flee) in fear of his life.  A man who (like Moses) met God alone in the wilderness.   Was promised God would be with him.

Jacob, Israel, stands for both a person and A People:  Corporate Personhood.  To speak of Israel is to recall Jacob as Father of a people and as this People’s We Identity – in terms of both nation and religion.

The Temple, so important to Israel’s public worship, so mourned by the Hebrews in exile, that when they were exiled (and deprived of Temple worship) they arrived at a deeper understanding of Yahweh as present in His word, His Torah.   Yahweh:  A God who called.  Who promised.  Who traveled with His People.  Who heard their cries and supplications.   Who inspired Prophets and Psalmist alike, whose actions were alive in history.  A God who Spoke.  A Living God.  A Personal Holy Presence.

It was this Presence in Jesus:  God With Us.

John’s Gospel, which so profoundly presents this Mystery of Corporate Personhood flowing from Christ, speaks early on of Jacob, of the ladder stretched between heaven and earth, what Jacob termed the Gate of Heaven, and Jesus promises his disciples they will see more than Jacob did.  And John’s Gospel does not disappoint.

When Paul speaks of Mystical Body he is speaking of Corporate Personhood.  Of the Fellowship with each other in Christ, in the Trinity – a mutual sharing of Divine Life.

In Christianity the concept of Temple (so revered, longed for, loved) was replaced by Christ Himself.  Christ in each believer.  Christ in the Body of Believers.  Christ, The Word.  Christ shared out.  Paul understood this so well. Both mystically and practically.

There is so much more one could say about this….  Let us just dwell with it.

“Presence” and “Spiritual Priesthood”

October 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Abraham Joshua Heschel, the first holy man I ever heard, a man whose words and presence have never left me, has been described thus:

He was blessed with a gift which few men possess: the marvel of presence. He did not have to speak to communicate his faith, his convictions, his nobility. His very presence communicated a vision. His outwardness conveyed something of his indwelling greatness. His very being radiated a sacred meaning.

The same could be said of the Dalai Lama, another holy man from whom it was my privilege to receive the gift of Presence.

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The Whole Earth ~ Is Our Hospital

September 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

The earth is the Lord’s

The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.
T.S. Eliot, “Four Quartets

bear fruit

‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower.
2He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes* to make it bear more fruit.

To the Last Speck of Dust…

September 3, 2010 § 4 Comments

from Psalm 102

12 But you, O Lord, are enthroned for ever;
your name endures to all generations.
13 You will rise up and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to favour it;
the appointed time has come.
14 For your servants hold its stones dear,
and have pity on its dust.
15 The nations will fear the name of the Lord,
and all the kings of the earth your glory.
16 For the Lord will build up Zion;
he will appear in his glory.
17 He will regard the prayer of the destitute,
and will not despise their prayer.

And what is this prayer?  Our sacred task?

Implore God for the renewal of your hearts and minds; invoke His grace for the salvation of every human person, even – and especially – the least of our brothers and sisters (Mt 25:45); and pray fervently for the transfiguration of the whole world, to the last speck of dust.

[Ecumenical Patriarch]

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Take Off Your Shoes

August 30, 2010 § 3 Comments

‘I have heard my people’s cry ~ I know their sufferings’

Hashem - The Name Beyond All Names

‘Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’


‘come… I will send you’

And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

'nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them'

You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you?  You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am.  So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.


[Stained Glass ~ Moses and the Burning Bush – by Sam Nachum]

Their CALL goes out to ALL the earth

August 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

from ~ Psalm 19

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament* proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice* goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.

Hidden from the wise and intelligent, but revealed to infants:

28 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

Their voice goes out to ALL the earth:

4 Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5like living stones, let yourselves be built* into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Baptized into Divine Life, immersed in a common destiny, we become members of this universal Mystery of Christ’s Priesthood.  This is a not a call to individual salvation or exaltation, but a call to mutual and cosmic transfiguration.

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