If you are tired of hearing me talk about gnosticism, I apologize, but as I distance myself from it, I see some of the fruits of it. That is what I was trying to hint at in my last blog. No, I don’t believe that a lesser spiritual entity, something lesser than God, The most High God who I can accept as a Holy Androgyne of Father-Mother (after all, we were made in the image of God, male/female), created the universe, shaped it, gave it form, tried to breath life into it, then trapped light particles into what became known as the first man, Adam. I don’t give evil that much credit. I do believe as most Christians do, that there is a Satanic Diabolical Intelligence, or being, that influences creation negatively, but, in the end God will always overpower and defeat His Fallen Angel. Evil is clever, but not Ineffable. Satan and his minions are flawed and corrupt while God is all powerful and Imperishable.
Though evil lurks in the shadows and shows itself through things appealing to the eyes and senses, trying to gain our allegiance, we are also pursued ten fold more aggressively by God through His/Her love, grace, outpouring of light and spirit, and His/Her tactics to bring us into full Union with His/Her Fullness, what gnostics call The Pleroma. The experience that I think mainstream Christians need to adopt for the sake of full Self-Realization in God, is the experience of gnosis, or knowledge – self-knowledge and knowledge of God. The source of such experiences are Light, therefore the meaning of Illumination and Enlightenment are known. I believe that this should be an intergal part of not only spiritual formation, but an essential element of salvation (no, I’m not saying these should be the primary means, like gnosticism does; again I think that we need to judge a tree by its fruits and find a cohesion through comparitive religion, something that Jesus did do too) and well-being.
The direction of this blog depends on mentioning what I have to this point. As a Christian and Catholic, I think we’ve inherited a bankrupt system of sin, punishment, rewards, and what A Course In Miracles calls “special love” and “special hate”. A big problem the whole of Judeo-Christian and Islamic faith systems need to examine are perhaps unconscious beliefs of being “special”, “chosen”, or “the elect” of God. Granted scribes of Holy Books may not have had the contemporary word for the Ego, the type of beliefs I just listed are qualities of an inflated ego. I’m not only pointing my fingers at these faith systems. In a past blog, I pointed out that experiences of gnosis can lead to inflation too.
Understanding that God passionately pursues us, and wants us to “know” him intimately, in our hearts and in our entire beings, is key to the point I want to make today, one that we should fruitfully and freely adopt from gnostic theology and soteriology. Gnostics teach that the experience of gnosis or what others may call “Christ consciousness”, is an unmediated experience of grace. The idea is that priestcraft or episcopasy (bishops) should not ever stand in the way of a personal experience of God’s love, rather gnosis is not dependent upon an intermediary. As a seminarian, I need to maintain my identity as a member of the laity, from this day onwards, on the day of my ordination to the priesthood, and every day thereafter. My studies in gnosticism have humbled me. I’m not going to advocate that everyone abandon their faith practices, take up gnosticism or a perverted ascetic form of it, and become a recluse. Please don’t misunderstand what I am trying to advocate for. As a Catholic, I have integrated Buddhist interests, and ideas from spiritual teachers such as Eckhart Tolle, Gary R. Renard, Deepak Chopra, and Wayne Dyer. This doesn’t make me any less Christian. Perhaps the teachings of other spiritually advanced mentors, carry some of the yeast to make the Bread of Life rise to its potential.
SO, UNMEDIATED GRACE. PERSONAL EXPERIENCES OF GOD. EVENTS SIMILAR TO PENTECOST WHEN TONGUES OF FIRE AND THE HOLY SPIRIT POURED ITSELF OUT FREELY ON ON THE APOSTLES, without expectation or foreknowledge (other than that Yeshua the Messiah send he would send an Advocate) – this is something to savor and encourage. I need to talk out of both sides of my mouth for a minute. Adopting this belief, where you may “close the door, and meet the Father in your inner room”, don’t excuse you from being an active member of The Body of Christ. As Father Richard Rohr taught in a series about the Apostle Paul, the life of the Church is participation. He emphasized this over and over, but DID say that what we can learn from Paul’s life as well, is finding deep meaning and love in personal revelations of God to his Children.
So, if the Holy Fire descends upon you, you don’t necessarily need to talk in tongues or prophecy. You are allowed to cherish the experience and remain in God’s love. Eventually, though, like the Apostles who saw Jesus transfigured, you do have to come down off that mountain top experience and go back into the valleys and get your hands dirty, or incarnate again. I wouldn’t be responsible if I didn’t say to the everyday enlightened gnostic: “remain in that love, KNOW HIM/HER, but please, devote yourself to sharing what you learn/experience with a world desperately in need of Light workers.” Yes, you are one too.
I just want to say, in closing, that I have integrated a practice into my life that has been fruitful, intensely loving, and full of that Holy Fire. Awhile back, even before I began to study gnosticism, I felt moved by the Holy Spirit to celebrate The Eucharist or Holy Communion. No, I haven’t been formally ordained or received the laying on of hands and thereby receiving apostolic succession, but like on Pentecost, the spirit comes and it does transform the elements of bread and wine into the Spiritual Food, I like so many people savor. This isn’t a replacement for experiencing traditional sacraments ministered by a priest or a deacon. I do value clergy very highly. In a recent internet search, I found a site belonging to The Gnostic Order of Christ. They advocated for and had a Eucharistic liturgy for people who could not get to a priest. They consider it valid and powerful. I do too. So, why become a priest? Standing in for Christ and being Christ for others is a necessary vocation. People need a shepard, and Christ calls them into service to Him and The Holy Androgyne. I am meant to do more than administer sacraments. I want to be a spiritual director, a healer, and a vehicle to inspire peace, love, justice, surrender, transformation, transcendence of the violence that keeps cultures intact, and to be a “deathwalker”, as shamans call it, helping souls transition to the realm of eternity. Wishing you peace and resolve.