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The Eucharistic Heart (Part One)

March 19, 2013

Growing up there was the understanding that if you thought something in your mind, you might very well be guilty of it in your heart. So, it was important to take a close look at the source of the thought to understand its justification. In other words, forgive me for thinking this, Lord, but why did I think it? I really don’t want anything unsatisfactory to happen to ___, or do I?

If you see someone behaving in a manner that is unacceptable, or worse, this behavior stands out because it runs contrary to what the individual preaches or advocates, you are apt to consider that what if – what if he gets a taste of his own medicine? Would he then change his ways? For instance, if a Firm (they way I view Religion these days) institutes a mandatory decree that all of their ordained priests, bishops and on up be without sexual relations with a woman, can they still be guilty of having sex with a woman?

Well, there is the very possibility that these men struggle with this. And I can’t help but think about what Jesus says in the Gospel of Thomas:

6 (1) His disciples asked him and said to him, “Do you want us to fast? How should we pray? Should we give to charity? What diet should we serve?”

(2) Jesus said, “Do not lie. (3) Do not do what you hate, (4) because all things are disclosed before heaven. (5) For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, (6) and there is nothing covered that will remain undisclosed.”

Why do what you hate? Why not do what you love?

Now, there is the possibility that if individuals talk about something a lot, they think about it a lot. If individuals go so far as to make a mandatory practice out of a monastic tradition regarding sexual relations for clergy, they must have given it an awful lot of thought. This is when it becomes a passion. Who then is the one more likely to have sex not just on the mind, but also in the heart: the law makers or the law breakers? Or are they one in the same? And, we cannot ignore the possibility that the reason behind this law has less to do with the act (history has already demonstrated a rather confused state within clerical ranks on this), and more to do with a passion to control from a one point perspective – a patriarchal ad-vantage point. Allow me to discourse some on the passions of the intellect, and of the heart.

From The Philokalia: the intellect is considered the highest faculty in man, through which – provided it is purified – he knows God or the inner essences or principles of created things by means of direct apprehension or spiritual perception… The intellect dwells in the ‘depths of the soul’ ; it constitutes the innermost aspect of the heart. The heart is the spiritual centre of man’s being, man as made in the image of God, his deepest and truest self, or the inner shrine …

Okay, here is where these monks and hesychasts have it somewhat in reverse, but allow me to add: there is an understanding in much of these texts which is undeniably fruitful, and I highly recommend them to gain a foundation on humility, and to establish a better understanding in the area of what the hesychasts call friend and foe. Theophan’s famous quote is: Descend the mind to the heart. I am of the faith that one should ascend with heart to mind. First of all, we are climbing up the ladder, hopefully; not climbing down. What is being experienced is self-justification by merit. But let’s step away from this for a moment. In  the Gospel of Mary, Mary says: “I said to him, ‘So now, Lord, does a person who sees a vision see it <with> the soul <or> with the spirit?’

“The Savoir answered, ‘A person does not see with the soul or with the spirit. Rather, the mind, which exists between these two, sees the vision …’

This is beautiful. That beautiful, beautiful mind is man and woman’s highest faculty. But unfortunately, often poorly used in the Name of God. What the early writers of Christian thought were advocating was an understanding that the mind can only be accessed spiritually proper (purified) if rendered according to the ear and eye of the heart, having descended down. When Jesus gathered his close disciples for the Supper, he gathered them in the Upper Room. We climb the Ladder. We climb the Mountain. Through this process, we become more spiritual, gaining access to God understanding.

Man cannot see God with his own eyes, but he can see himself through God’s eyes. The Spirit is the Mind of God. We put on Christ when we are of God. In the Gospel of Philip: No one can meet the king while naked. This is what is being said here; before we meet the king, we must put on the Mind of Christ. We clothe that beautiful mind with the most beautiful. And we do this by bringing self to task. We don’t build our beautiful temples by the scraps of others but through the imbued elements within. Through faith and our own personal spiritual experiences we may be confirmed by God the Father.

Through faith and spiritual experience or by faith and spiritual experience?  The simplest way to visualize this is to think of passing through the birth canal. You don’t go by it; you go through it. You are immersed in it, and you are connected to it. I use the word tether. You are tethered to mother, until you emerge and that cord is cut, and you begin to nurse at the breast. Thus begins the earthly journey of cleaving to God. This is self-justification by merit, but it happens more naturally and in accordance with God when that journey is not confined. God is not confined. The Spirit cannot be contained.  You are interactive, and through interaction you survive and are challenged. To then be forced to deny self some of those gifts in how God prepares one is to go down the ladder rather than be encouraged to go up.

The self in the movement of faith and experience, which is a process of building self-knowledge, is a movement toward Confirmation. To establish ritual or law as a substitute is a squelching of the Spirit. It teaches you [what] to think instead of [how] to think. This translates into minimal spiritual growth. To enforce celibacy on priests (and virginity on nuns) is denying those upward steps toward spiritual maturity. And besides, the truth on virginity is your love of God. To love God above all else is to be virginal, and for many, engaging in sexual relations and sharing intimately, and by experiencing parenting is the growth needed that awards one that stronger God Relationship.

(4) When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of a living Father. (5) But if you do not know yourselves, then you dwell in poverty, and you are poverty.

To conclude Part One, the Eucharistic Heart is a conversion of intelligence in company or companionship with the heart in an ever-present spiritual quest to build self within a temple of God. We start out with the proper foundation, which is pure intent and a willingness to God through truth, and work from the first floor up, but this cannot be accomplished without light.

 

 Continued …

RENDERING SOPHIA

Note: I highly recommend the gnostic texts for  those interested in a deeper spiritual experience in relation to understanding on the Word. I am of the firm belief that Thomas authored the Gospel attributed to Matthew; however, I leave this for those willing to explore. For, if you are of the Spiritual Language inherent in God’s Word, you see the elements of refrain.

 

 

 

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One Comment
  1. You are my motivation, I have couple of web logs and often run out from brand name. “To die for a religious beliefs is much easier than to live it absolutely.” by Jorge Luis Borges.

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