Father Robert Elias, OCD: Divine Mercy – God’s love loves us unto folly

Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son (wiki commons)

In the Third Mansion, one can become so accustomed to the things of God that one can lose one’s original fervor for things like sacrifice and penance and fervent prayer. As a result, we can have all the external trimmings but lack the fire, and just go through the motions; this is always a danger for anybody.

As a result, we can have positions of authority like priests and bishops and this too natural, too human prudence can get in the way of God’s will. It can get in the way of the Gospel because we can explain the Gospel away when it’s bound too much by a natural perspective of what is “prudent.”

What really brings about progress is the supernatural infusion of God’s love. Saint Therese often says, ‘God’s love, loves us to folly.’ In other words, God’s love can appear to be crazy; it’s so out-of-the-box, and it goes beyond human expectation, goes beyond the norm, goes beyond what’s conventional, neat and tidy; it goes way out to the periphery. God’s love, loves us unto to folly in ways that are startling, in ways that are shocking, and if you look at the cross – in ways that are scandalous.

God’s love knows no bounds. God’s is crazy about you. When Mother Angelica was going through the important transition and breakthrough, before EWTN came to birth, God told her in her heart of hearts, ‘Unless you’re willing to do the ridiculous, God will not do the miraculous.’ That nails it.

Most people are not willing to do or believe the ridiculous. ‘Thanks, but no thanks, pick somebody else, Lord. I’m going to stick to my novena and my normal routines. Pick somebody else for that one, sorry.’

Wisdom is to know when it is God asking us to do the ridiculous and not simply ourselves, or a temptation of the enemy disguised as something good. It takes wisdom to know when God is asking us to launch out into the deep, and we’re not being deceived. It takes wisdom and discernment.

Most people stay in the Third Mansion and part of the reason is because of this too human prudence.

SOURCE: Teresa 5, Copyright 2018, Father Robert Barcelos, OCD

Father Robert Elias, OCD: Jesus, our Divine Mercy

Photo credit: Lorelei Low, ocds

Let us Pray. In the of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Oh God in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion and exhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase your mercy in us, so that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence, submit ourselves to your holy will, which is love and mercy itself.

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love you. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore and do not hope, and do not love you. My God I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love you. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love you. My God I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love you. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love you.

Jesus I love you, Jesus I love you, Jesus I love you. May the Lord bless us and draw us to everlasting life. Amen.

 

The Savior of the whole world. You hear that expression everywhere, on billboards, and sometimes, communicating it could seem like an advertisement, as if you’re trying to sell Christianity.

Sometimes these terms can cheapen the meaning of faith. Most of our postmodern secular culture, which has adopted a mentality of secular humanism, doesn’t buy Christianity. They’re very dissatisfied by organized religion. And that’s how I was. I was so dissatisfied by Christianity, and by what I saw at church on Sundays, which didn’t inspire me, and I wasn’t edified by what I saw the of televangelists on television.

For that reason, I was thirsty for spirituality. So I looked to other places, and I studied Far Eastern mysticism, and New Age spiritualities and philosophies. But after this experience, Jesus’ love gradually drew me back to Himself. On Divine Mercy Sunday, I had this wonderful gift of experiencing God’s mercy in a powerful way that had a great impact on me.

The result of it was, I found myself before the Blessed Sacrament. And I knew, that I knew, that I knew – without a shadow of a doubt, in the depth of my being – that Jesus is Lord, and the one Savior of the world.

There was no “if’s, and’s, or but’s” about it. It was crystal clear. Jesus is the Savior of the world. That basic truth that we often see cheapened on bill-boards, became so alive and so real, that it was utterly undeniable.  When I had surrounded myself with all these other options and different religious figures, my mind unconsciously watered that truth down.

But the truth that Jesus is the Savior of the world, was an unction of a conviction that was just grafted in me, branded in me on that one Divine Mercy Sunday.

Father Sophrony says, “Grace enlarges man to an unforeseen degree, to the dimensions of Divine boundlessness.” That’s Spirit-laced language.  To the degree of divine boundlessness. My Goodness!

Saint John Climacus is a desert father of the Greek Orthodox tradition, who lived around the sixth century. He was the abbot at St. Catherine’s monastery in Sinai and in the 500s, and he wrote the classic work, The Ladder of Divine Ascent.  He synthesized desert spirituality, gathered all the wisdom and tradition of the Desert Fathers together, and put it all into one source, one classic work.

Saint John Climacus says: “Who then, is that faithful and wise Christian, who has kept his fervor unquenched, and up to his Exodus, has not ceased adding fire to fire, fervor to fervor, longing to longing, zeal to zeal?”

We are never finished. As long as there will be more of God to give, there will always be more to receive. Jesus said, “It is finished,” but it’s never going to be finished in us. In other words, yes we only have one life to live— ‘you only live once,’ as many young people say— we only have one life to live, in terms of growing in grace, but we have all eternity, to grow in glory.

Saint Gregory of Nyssa expresses the truth of the beauty of God in his book Glory to Glory. The beauty of God, is incomparable; human language cannot fully express, cannot fully capture, nor can the human mind fully grasp it. Therefore St. Paul says, “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard.” And what the mind can’t even conceive, God has prepared for those who love Him. St. Paul also says in Ephesians 3:20, “God who is in us can do immeasurably more than we could possibly hope or imagine.”

To Christ Jesus, be glory in the Church, forever and ever, Amen.

SOURCE: New Mexico Retreat, 2017, “First Love Exodus”

Father Robert Elias, OCD: Easter – the second mansion: mortification & piety

Mortification is to die to this false self by deliberate actions and choices that kills the false self, and subjects the body to the spirit, but that can be misinterpreted; mortification subjects the ego to the Gospel and so there are certain voluntary choices and mortifications that a person adopts in order to cling to a definitive decision, and say to all those temptations and spiritual enemies, ‘No, no, no. I am not going backwards. You will not have me back. It’s over. The divorce has been signed, sealed, and delivered!’

Part of this asceticism is disciplining, laboring, ordering, and cultivating virtues in our lower faculties. When the scholastic writers of the Classic tradition talk about lower faculties, it seems that they are talking about the psyche – the immediate inclinations of the emotions and the immediate surface reactions of the will and the desires – the soul as distinct from the spirit, as Saint Paul refers to.

In this process, we need to accept the growing pains of what it means to die to our false selves. If we don’t accept the growing pains, we’ll never experience the new creation. We’ll never experience a new birth on a deeper level. The growing pains are inevitable in what it means to be in Christ. Jesus says, ‘If you want to be my disciple, pick up your cross and follow me.’ That means that there are going to be growing pains; it’s unavoidable.

The action of God here are sensible consolations, which are based on what can be perceived by the senses and what comes to the soul through the senses On the surface level of the soul, a person experiences for the first time, this real sense of God’s presence. The person experiences God’s presence in what seems to be a palpable way.

On the other side is a new type of trial that one goes through. This vigorous and at times painful effort is to be sustained by spiritual reading, which is really important in the Second Mansion. As the Rule of St. Albert of the Carmelite family says, ‘Holy meditation will save you.’

You’ve all probably had that experience where you are going through to this valley of obscurity, not knowing exactly whether you are up or down, or what was going on, or you weren’t able to pray. Then all a sudden, almost as if it fell into your lap, but somehow you opened up to some particular passage and it just totally encouraged you. It was just what the doctor ordered; it spoke straight to your heart and only God knew how perfect of a match and a fit this was.

‘These were just the words that I needed to hear and it was a proof that when I thought that I was walking by myself, it was all in vain, and God did not know my name, He forgot all about me – now this is showing very clearly God knows me thoroughly and He’s right here beside me because these words speak so strongly to exactly what I needed to hear. There’s no way that person knew or there’s no way that I just stumbled across this; it’s perfectly prescribed by the Divine Physician to bring courage to my soul.’

Spiritual reading, holy meditation will save you.

In the Second Mansion it is also important to get some spiritual direction, by someone – he doesn’t necessarily have to be a priest – just somebody that you trust who you know has been on the road longer than you, and has a some decent sense of discernment, someone who doesn’t think in worldly terms to make sense of your experience, but in Godly terms based on what they themselves have experienced and have been through.

He doesn’t have to be a priest – just someone who has been walking with the Lord. Spiritual friendships are important to keep us on track, and to keep us going.

In the First Mansion, the Gift of the Spirit was the Fear of the Lord. In the Second Mansion the primary Gift of the Spirit that’s growing in us is Piety – reverence, a personal love for the things of God.

We’ve gone from the first stage, the state of basic friendship, just trying to avoid hell, we have a fear of the Lord, and we do good so that we can get a reward. The second stage is an active life of friendship, and a personal relationship with God is developed. We have reverence and love for the things of God. Easter will bring about our discussion of the Third Mansion.

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Lent – the second mansion: spiritual battle

 

Giacinto_Gimignani_, An Angel and Devil Fighting for the Soul (wiki commons)

St. Teresa’s only chapter on the Second Mansion, according to the translation of Allison Peers, is titled by one word – WAR. This a reason why you can see so many people who are “born again” go backwards. After their high or honeymoon or their jailhouse conversion, they return to the spirit of the world and to their old ways, their old lifestyles

This is not necessarily because of insincerity; it’s because the battle is strong at this stage. A lot comes against people, and the longer we’re away from the Lord, the fiercer the battle when we try to come back and stay with the Lord. Get ready for the battle. Get ready to throw down.

The longer we’re away, the bigger the battles. Part of this is simply battling against old weeds in our lives. We have to destroy the weed while it’s still a seed. The first moment a weed comes up in your thoughts, eradicate it, renounce it in Jesus’ name. Do not entertain it. Because the more that weed grows, the more it takes root in the soul and the harder it is to get rid of.

Destroy the weed while it is still a seed. We battle old weeds and thorns that will try to return to the surface. We battle to overcome badly acquired inclinations and habits of disorder, or negative forms of reacting to stress and crisis, or when things don’t go our way, or when we’re not acknowledged. We feel abandoned.

The lower faculties of the soul, which is called the psyche – the emotions, thoughts, the imagination – start to be attracted again to the things left behind for God. Now that I’m going through this battle, and I’m not feeling closeness to God, and the comfort of what it means to be faithful, and to belong to God, I start to get weak and my flesh starts to dominate; I have these inclinations to take refuge in the things of the world.

When experiencing spiritual consolation, the soul doesn’t have any attraction to the things of the world. It’s rubbish, easy to give up, no problem – as long as God is offering something better.

St. John of the Cross speaks of the metaphor of God putting spice on the mother’s breast of a breast-feeding child, in order to wean the child off of the nursing mother. God puts a spice, as it were, on the breast to make the child detach itself from these immediate sense consolations that keep us in an infant stage, and to prepare us to be able to eat the meat, and not rely on baby food. He hides His face

At this time, the old self tries to regain lost ground. The battle can be fierce, very fierce. The ascetical challenge here, in terms of how we respond, is mortification, self-denial of the appetites.

SOURCE: Teresa 5, Copyright 2018, Father Robert Barcelos, OCD

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Lent – the second mansion: aridity & false humility

Photo credit: Lorelei Low, ocds

In the Second Mansion, after the high honeymoon, perhaps similar to that of the three apostles of the Transfiguration, the soul is now confronted with aridity, which means dryness and trials. The soul can easily become discouraged. For example, now, one can become far more aware of oneself and one’s own issues than ever before because Jesus says to the soul, ‘Now that we have a personal relationship and I have proven to you how good my love is, how good I am, how worthy of trust I am, now that you’re following me let’s take some time to clean things up.’

We go through this desert of aridity and all that we can seem to be aware of is that we’re no longer receiving lights about coming to know God and His greatness in different ways. We are no longer relishing the different ways in which we learn about the things of God and the new experience of joy that brings into our life.

Now that it’s dry, I’m starting to see myself in a new light, and I recognize the areas for improvement and need for growth and healing that I wasn’t aware of before. I didn’t even know I had these issues. I didn’t even know I had these needs that needed to be attended to.

Our Holy Father, Saint John of the Cross, provides the classic example of this experience as the light shining through the window. If the light isn’t shining through the window, the spots are hardly visible. But once the light shines through, you can see all the scratches, the spots, the smudges, and the nose marks from kids putting their face to it. All of that is visible now.

When a person experiences these things and has become far more aware of these issues in his life, he wonders ‘What’s happening to me? Is this normal? Where do I go from here?

Discouragement can easily settle in and part of this is spiritual pride. Because the soul has experienced consolations, new pastures and prosperity in the Holy Spirit, the soul can become pompous. And when the soul sees its faults and defect in a clearer light than before, that same pride becomes scandalized at itself and very discouraged. Often times, more often than not, discouragement comes from spiritual pride – because we relied on ourselves and now we’re surprised that we couldn’t do it on our own.

Also, at this time, the devil tempts the soul to return to his former ways – go backwards. The evil one says, ‘You don’t have to be this. You don’t have to be a fanatic after all. Just be a decent Christian like everybody else. Live a normal life. Just go to church on Sunday. You don’t have to be going everyday, you don’t have to be going to adoration. Just be a normal Catholic.’

The devil tempts the soul to go backwards, to give up, and it uses thoughts of false humility to do so. False humility is prevalent in the Second Mansion, and it works against. Saint Teresa talks a lot about false humility.

The enemy can even be as audacious and cruel as to say as the Accuser, ‘You can’t do it! You’ll never make it! You’ll never be free! You really belong to me! This whole religious thing is just a phase! Give it up.’ That’s very real.

SOURCE: Teresa 5, Copyright 2018, Father Robert Barcelos, OCD

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Lent – the second mansion: spiritual pride

In the Second Mansion, a peace of soul, the correction of our faults on a more refined level, is sought after. We become more aware of our faults on a different level. We become more conscientious about the need to detach ourselves from things that are holding us back from growing spiritually. We begin to really consider organizing a certain kind of plan, if you will, for our spiritual life, wanting to put our spiritual life in order and really examining our conscience.

Before, we were just going through the motions and not really being aware even, or taking time to examine our conscience. Now, these actions are starting to be kicked into gear.

On the other side of the proverbial coin, in the second stage of this active life of friendship, when the spiritual life and a personal relationship with Jesus is developing, the soul in its prosperity, can tend to easily become pompous, spiritually pompous.

Spiritual pride is dominant here, as our Holy Father Saint John of the Cross talks about in The Ascent of Mount Carmel. As result of the new lush experience of the spiritual life, we can easily look down on others who don’t know what we’ve come to know. The soul tends to attribute a great deal to itself and it presumes that it’s we ourselves who have gained this victory, as if we’ve earned it, deserved it, or as if we’re more special than others.

In this second stage, the soul believes it is very far advanced and it desires to make converts of everybody, so that everyone can be where the soul believes it’s at. This is a normal thing. Whenever we experience something wonderful, we want others to share it.

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (Wiki Commons)

Whenever we, as Plato said in that beautiful analogy of the cave, have come out of the darkness of the cave that we thought was the whole reality, once we’ve come to see the lights outside of the cave- or in postmodern terms, once we come out of the matrix – we want to show other people. We want to lead other people, we want to share it, and a person can tend to become almost pushy in wanting to share our faith and wanting to make converts of everybody.

The classic example of this is for Christmas or Easter, we give people their ‘salvation kit,’ putting in a scapular, a rosary, and a prayer book; all these things are good and it’s typical of a new convert. This is a normal stage of transition and growth.

SOURCE: Teresa 5, Copyright 2018, Father Robert Barcelos, OCD

Father Robert, OCD: Lent – first and second mansions

Photo Credit: Lorelei Low, ocds

There are some basic steppingstones for each of the three stages of the prayer life and I will relate just some of the basic points. It’s not an exhaustive representation of the first three Mansions by any means, but it’s a start.

The first stage, or the First Mansion is a state of friendship with God – being in “good terms” with God, but not on the level of deep intimacy. A person in this stage does not yet have a personal relationship with Jesus, but is just living a godly life as best as possible.

That’s a big difference. One is trying to be as observant of one’s religion and faith as possible, live a good godly decent life, but doesn’t have a deep, personal relationship with God yet in the first stage. A person in the first stage usually makes a conscientious effort to avoid mortal sin, and is no longer captive to the world of the flesh and the devil, to the same extent as those outside the castle.

At least now, some kind of prayer life is in place. The common form of prayer in the first stages is vocal prayer: recited prayers, communal prayer, the rosary. For example, praying before meals and after meals, the rosary on occasions, going to Mass on Sunday, the Guardian Angel prayer before going to bed. Just simple things like this – the first stage.

There are no manifestations of the actions of God in this soul, nothing extraordinary or supernatural happening. The primary gift of the Spirit in this stage, in terms of what the Scholastics called the gifts of moral perfection, is Fear of the Lord, which is a good thing because this is the first stage of wisdom.

You don’t want to offend God. As we say in the Act of Contrition ‘My God I’m sorry for my sins in choosing to sin, and failing to do good.’ Fear of the Lord is a good start.

The second stage or Second Mansion is a deeper, more active life of friendship with God. A spiritual life now is starting to begin, and a personal relationship with Jesus is becoming more meaningful and important to me, personally in a deeper level.

At this stage, people say things like, ‘I was Catholic all my life, but I didn’t know it could be this good. I didn’t know adoration. I didn’t know about all these great treasures of the Church. I didn’t know any of that. I have been a Catholic going to church all my life and for the first time, I am discovering Catholicism, I am discovering Jesus.

This is the second stage. Searching for a deeper meaning in life, and all the strength of heart and will is now directed to growing spiritually. Whereas before, I was just into shopping, fashion, sports, television, entertainment and vacations. I was trying to be as good as possible, but ultimately, my passions were about those things.

But now, for the first time, I am serious about wanting to grow spiritually, and it’s actually important to me. I’m making it a priority. In this new birth in grace, one begins to become a new creation. A new self begins to emerge, the true self. The soul applies itself to a deeper prayer than before. Now, one has become exposed, interested, and begun to practice meditation, what Saint Teresa refers to us Mental Prayer or Recollection.

SOURCE: Teresa 5, Copyright 2018, Father Robert Barcelos, OCD

 

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Jesus, savior of the world

God’s Love is stronger than any evil in the world, once and for all. That doesn’t mean free will cannot be taken. That doesn’t mean bad things are not going to still happen to good people. That doesn’t mean that the laws of life are not going to run their natural course. That doesn’t mean that there will be no natural disasters, accidents, failures, pain, or suffering. It doesn’t mean that. But it does mean that the door, which gives us access to victory amidst every crisis, has been opened. It means that God’s Love entered into the world to provide the remedy to heal every heart.

Father Sophrony explains the Cross, the Resurrection, and the Ascension, and then proceeds to the mission of the Spirit. He writes, “The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, came down to earth to glorify this Love.” What Love? Jesus who came, who was crucified, and who conquered. Jesus Incarnate is our incarnation. In the cross and resurrection, Jesus came, was crucified, and yet He conquered. As Fulton Sheen said, “He was born to die”  – to give His life for us on the Cross.

No other religion speaks like this. A lot of religions have things in common, like values and virtues on a natural level like be charitable and loving. Christianity has a lot in common with world religions in the human level.

But when it comes to the vertical, supernatural level, Christianity is unprecedented. And utterly unique.

Father Sophrony explains, ‘The Holy Spirit came down upon earth to glorify this Love of Christ and to guide the faithful into all truth,’ as Jesus says in John 16. The Holy Spirit came to bear eternal witness — He came to bear eternal witness to the endless enlargement brought about by this Love.  Finally, Father Sophrony says, “The Holy Spirit came to bear witness to Christ as the Savior of the whole world.”

Father Sophrony quotes from Corinthians II 6:13 and Chapter 3 when he speaks about Christ’s endless enlargement, this “unlimited horizon.” Saint Paul says, “The Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” And then Paul continues, “We behold Jesus’s face unveiled, unlike Moses in the temple.”

In the New Covenant, we have full access, so we unveil our faces to behold His Face, and in doing so, we are transfigured, transformed, and metamorphosed, from one degree of glory to another – through the Spirit who is living within us. That’s the endless enlargement brought about by this Love.

SOURCE: New Mexico Retreat, 2017, “First Love Exodus”

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Christ’s passion, His free gift

Photo credit: Lorelei Low, OCDS

Mysticism is grounded in the Passion of Christ. In His Passion, He takes possession of all people. Fulton Sheen said, when Jesus ascended into Heaven, He mystically went into the heart of every human being that would ever live, and He took a part of our hearts with Him, so that our hearts would be incomplete until they are united to His Heart.

St. Augustine says, ‘Our hearts are restless until we rest in Him.’ Only in Christ can we fully discover ourselves. He is the Fullness of God, who fully reveals Man to us.

When Jesus takes possession of us, that does not mean that He imposes His Love. God is so amazing, in His humility and despite His great power. He is all-powerful, except for one thing: He does not interfere with our free will.

Love could not be otherwise. Because Love, by its nature, has to respect and reverence the other. Love does not micromanage, control, or manipulate. Love respects the other; it can only invite, can only welcome, can only say, “Follow me!” but can never order.

Love is a two-way street; it’s reciprocal and dynamic; it’s an exchange and dialogue. God is all-powerful, except for one thing – He will not interfere with free will.

Though by His Passion, He symbolically takes possession of all people, that doesn’t mean that our salvation is guaranteed. It means that His Love is unconditionally offered to all people, without limits. He offers His love unconditionally to all people, without exception. Nobody is excluded, except for one condition: that we recognize that we are sick and in need of a healing physician, who is Christ Himself.

The only condition is humility. Know that you can’t save yourself. That’s all it takes. Know you cannot save yourself; you are not your own savior. Don’t be like Eve in the garden, who thought she was going to become her own God – to discern what was good and evil, right and wrong, truth and lies – for herself. That’s the number one deception, the backbone of all lies and sins: pride.

Humility is the only thing that saves. Humility is the root that bears the fruit of love. Humility opens us the gift of Love. Without humility, we cannot receive the gift of Love— we’re closed!

Father Sophrony’s explains, “The cross, the resurrection, and the ascension of Jesus are the supra-cosmic victory of unqualified Love.” The supra-cosmic victory of unqualified Love. In other words, God’s Love is so unconditional, that when Jesus was crucified on the Cross, in Him, that sacrifice was all-encompassing of the entire cosmos, and that sacrifice brought victory. God’s victory prevails over every evil in every reality.

SOURCE: New Mexico Retreat, 2017, “First Love Exodus”

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Christ’s passion, His free gift

Christ and the Pauper, Andrey Mironov 2009

Pope Francis asks to whole Church in our vocation and charism of love, to “go out to the peripheries.”

When you and I go into to the homes of families who are poor, not only financially, but broken by a complex labyrinth of suffering from generation to generation, often with knots of suffering, that is beyond our capacity to untie, we just have to love them. And in the process of being there to love them, you will absorb a lot. And if you’re a really sensitive soul, you’ll absorb more, for we absorb what is in our environment. We absorb that suffering, but without sin.

When, for example, Jesus came out to sinners, when he forgave people caught in sin, when he reached out to touch sinners, with compassion and mercy, he immersed Himself in the dirt! Pope Francis says, he wishes that “shepherds would smell like the sheep.” He prefers a bruised, beat-up Church, because it’s been out on the streets, rather than a Church that “healthy” but is self-preserved behind its own security and comfort zone.

Jesus got his hands dirty, helping people. And I’m sure He stank! Have you ever had a homeless person sitting next to you? They smell like urine and it reeks sometimes!

So when you are with the people, you ‘smell’ like them, not just physically but also spiritually. We absorb our surroundings, like Jesus on the Cross, who out of solidarity with broken humanity and suffering, took everything upon himself, except for the sin.

Not the sin. That, we don’t compromise with. Love the sinner, but we do not touch the sin. In other words, we don’t condone it, we don’t accept it, and we don’t embrace it. The sin, that part is off-limits. And that’s how Jesus was, in his whole mission of His Sacred Humanity, He became like us in everything, except sin.

Sin is very, very, real. Christianity is not all about sin, but about freedom; yet sin is very, very, real. And for that reason, Christ had to go on the Cross. That’s how real sin is. Christianity is not like other religions, think of Hinduism, and all the different incarnations of the deities of Hinduism, Vishnu and Krishna, and all the rest, and it’s not like our religion. The Hindu gods, you don’t see them suffering in the place of their people. You don’t see any resemblance to a God suffering for the people.

In addition, the Mystery of Christ is a historical event. Other religions like Hinduism, are a spirituality associated with a distinctive Oriental style of mythology. Similarly, the Greeks and the Romans had their own mythology- the Pantheon.

The radical nature of Christianity comes in, where the mystery, became event and history. God didn’t just come to show us how to meditate, to avoid all suffering— He entered into the suffering! So we don’t see The Deified One, in the lotus position, transcending all human suffering, and escaping this world; you see Him entering into the core of human brokenness and taking it upon Himself in order to liberate us.

What Jesus did for us is radical! Jesus is not simply a deified man – He’s The Deity made man. Not a simply a godly man, but God-made-man. Emmanuel with us, embracing us, getting messy in our midst, in order to lift us up to God’s glory. Amazing. Amazing! 

SOURCE: New Mexico Retreat, 2017, “First Love Exodus”