Thursday, 28 June 2007

Shared truth

If we make the decision to share what is important to us with others, we open the way for the sowing of seeds in their lives, and the germinating of those already sown in our own.
We may also be enabled to form otherwise undiscovered and meaningful friendships, which, through the combining of different angles on the same shared truth, bring greater depth and clarity to the understanding of that truth.
As already quoted (15.06.07), Cardinal Newman has rightly told us that we distance ourselves from each other because ‘ we dare not trust each other with the secret of our hearts. We have each the same secret, and we keep it to ourselves, and we fear that …which really would be a bond of union. …our religion …is hollow. The presence of Christ is not in it.’

If He is present when we meet in His name, and yet His presence can be made known among us without a requirement that such a meeting involve a conscious declaration of that intent, then it is through our already having within us that which brings the awareness of His presence: - Himself. Having already accepted His invitation to dwell with Him, our awareness of Jesus in our own lives realizes a constant faith in His presence. Spending time with others who similarly carry Him within, enables the otherwise internal flow of thought to be brought to the surface and out into the open; the ideas and questions, the hopes and longings, the doubts entwined with our undeniable belief in something we struggle to grasp, are all made more fully known to ourselves as we utter our faltering words to others, and as we share in their experience of doing likewise. The result is a strengthening of trust, of love and of faith: the fanning of the flame within and the mutual grasping of a nucleus of shared truth; and the presence of Christ is in it.

The joint expression of feeling and belief amounts to so much more than any individual could achieve on his or her own. This truth applies to everything, and in every case where the belief, the interest and the enthusiasm are for truth, reality and integration, rather than falsehood, fantasy and fragmentation, it brings us within reach of what may previously have been an entirely absent spiritual awareness.
An example of this is a book about trees where a writer and a photographer, both with a passion for their subject, combined their talents and their shared fascination. (The Tree. John Fowles & Frank Horvat) These few words from each of them give me something beyond the pleasure derived from the rest of the book; they demonstrate how the object of our deep interest – in this case trees in particular, and thus the natural world in general – can place the greater truths of our existence before us. Whether or not this leads to, or advances a real spiritual awakening will depend on whether we have ‘ a heart to understand, eyes to see, or ears to hear.’
The writer confides that entering woods is for him, 'almost like leaving land to go into water, another medium, another dimension. When I was younger, this sensation was acute. Slinking into trees was always slinking into heaven.'
The photographer writes in the preface, 'Trying to be truthful about something close to me is like trying to unravel a tangled piece of string. I pull a loop this way, then that way, and each time I attempt to undo an obvious knot, I create new ones.'

The one expresses the feeling of great personal significance going beyond the physical surroundings and natural situation. The other conveys the impossibility of describing such feeling and such experience.
I glean what I can from such attempts as these, and in my turn, can only try to give outlines of what stirs me in comparable ways.

One of the long-lived changes in my own life since Jesus became an undeniable friend, is in the way I perceive so much in the world that others may dismiss as imagination or fantasy, non-events, or simply nothing. (Such reactions are one of the reasons we hold back from speaking to others about the very things we yearn to share with someone. Even among those we believe to share our faith and awareness, ‘we dare not trust each other with the secret of our hearts.’)
My experience with the nettle leaves is an example of that new perception, as is my belief that there is something meaningful for me in seemingly random words, actions and moments which may grasp me as I pass. Of the words, the immeasurable content of the Bible is the obvious example, but the above quotes from ‘The Tree’, in linking the natural world with the spiritual, are also such as these.

As with the Israelites in the desert, God had me wait for forty years before breathing on the embers within me; before allowing the opening of my heart, my eyes and my ears to truly begin. It has taken a further twenty years for me to become a vessel of the size and strength required to hold that with which He wished to fill me. But as soon as ready, He poured, and I became Brim Full.
He continues to pour, and, being already filled to capacity, I am unable to do anything other than overflow: to become a part of His endless stream of blessings and love into the world. With that has come an awareness of responsibility and a renewed sense of staying awake: of watching; and it has generated an increased desire to be involved in nothing where ‘the presence of Christ is not in it.’
This is simply another vantage point on our journey, but is one to which He would bring us all. However diverse our separate ways, He would have us meet here to lay bare our shared secret and the truths we carry locked within ourselves. He calls us to meet in His name, to stand together at the very edge, and to be aware of His presence among us.

Let us lay ourselves open to the power of the Spirit of Pentecost, that each of us may be brought more fully to life and to an understanding of God’s call upon us.

Holy Spirit,
You have grasped me and drawn me to you.
There are things You would have me do.
I know not what they are,
But I do know I have yet to begin.
Fill me, and immerse me in your fire.
Awaken me fully that I may be ready;
Prepare me to follow wherever You may lead.

About Me

Who I am should be, and should remain, of little consequence to you. Who you are is what matters; who you are meant to be is what should matter most to you. In coming closer to my own true self, I have gradually been filled with the near inexpressible: I have simply become "brim full", and my words to you are drawn from those uttered within myself, as part of an undeniable overflowing that brings a smile to my every dusk, and to my every new dawn.
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