Lent is here again. As usual, we Catholics give up something for Lent. In my experience, we give it up for Lent and take it back during Easter. This year, I’ve decided to work on something that I have been thinking about for a while, it is open-mindedness and mindfulness.
Christians, not only Catholics, in general, have this basic belief that we’re the only ones going to heaven, we’re so ‘blessed’ and ‘chosen’ by God to be the sole holders of the Absolute truth. Though the Catechism speaks of respecting and recognizing other religions, we still hear much about religious wars and squabbles that only bring humanity apart. There are even disagreements between us Christians and it seems at times that the prayer of Jesus ‘that they may all be one’ (John 17:21, NIV) has gone unanswered.
From the earliest times of the Church there has been divisions, the Apostle Paul speaks about it in the letter to the Corinthian Church. He asks the Corinthian Christians ‘Has Christ been divided into factions?’ (1 Corinthians 1:13, NLT). Looking at the church today, we can see this factions, what Paul was asking has become truth, but it did not start in during the Protestant Reformation with Martin Luther, it started much earlier within the early Christian communities.
If Christians can’t even agree with each other, can world religions see eye to eye? It seems like a pipe dream but there are many conscious (some prefer to use the term awakened or enlightened, but I prefer conscious) people who have started this process of seeing eye to eye and appreciating our own religious paths while not condemning or destroying another’s. Does this mean religious syncretism? Well, no. There are many people who are afraid of looking into other religions thinking that they will be sucked into it and made into something else, they fear losing their salvation.
But what is salvation anyway? Is it a past, present or future event? I don’t think I’m being unchristian in opening my mind towards other spiritual paths. There are many truths that we can learn from these paths. I’ve noticed that the common thread that runs through all these religions is the love for the Divine and the respect of other beings on earth, human or not. Isn’t that beautiful? There are some Christians who say that they love God but can’t even give up their routine seat in church!
I’m not saying that other religions are perfect. I’d like to think that we all have some pieces to this great jigsaw puzzle that we call life. As we put in the pieces that we have, we begin to see the bigger picture, we widen, deepen and lengthen our consciousness. The more conscious we become of other religions, other worldviews and other perspectives, the more conscious we become of ourselves, of the Divine that is the source of all truth.
So this is what I’ve resigned to in Lent. What have you decided upon?
Look around, everything is temporary. Thoughts, emotions, the objects that surround you, everything is temporary, experience change, people come in and walk out of our lives. What is that element within us that is timeless, changeless and eternal? We could say God fits in those categories, but sometimes we forget that we too are those things.
So why do we look for the temporary? Why identify with things that will fade away, pass away and die off? No matter how wonderful an experience is, how great a person is or useful an object is, it will fade. It must fade. Unless you haven’t seen a dead body, it fades too.
Who you are is timeless and eternal, for you were made in the image and likeness of One who is timeless and eternal. That One simple is, and so are you. You simple are, simply exist. You are a spark of eternity that exists in this fading world. It would do you good to look at that timeless aspect of yourself, the ‘I am’ that is not predicated or identified with anything.
When you go into the depths of who you truly are and realize that you simply are, you begin to see that what you’ve been identifying with looses its grip on you, and that ‘I am’ in you, which is really who you are can shine out and be satisfied. Don’t run after things that don’t last, look inside.
The cause of racism is often fear of the unknown - lack of knowledge about other cultures. Travel, explore and learn - open your mind.
I will ALWAYS, ALWAYS, reblog this every time it comes up on my blog. This is the BEST statement, I’ve ever seen.
I really love this. So many are dead-set on the view that people cannot better themselves but that simply isn’t true. Everybody deserves a second chance and everybody has the ability to better themselves.