In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
“Your consciousness is in God; draw it into yourself, and it will appear; will, and it takes birth; suspend the senses of the body and the birth of the Godhead takes place. But first you must purify yourselves from the mindless torments of matter, one of which is ignorance, though there are many others, which force the man who is confined to the prison of the body to suffer by way of the passions. But these at once depart from him on whom God has had mercy, and so the body of Gnosis in man is built. This is the way of true rebirth. And now my child be still, and keep solemn silence; and thus will the grace from God not cease to come upon us.” ~The words of Hermes the Thrice Great Lord
Rebirth, Renewal, This is a day that brings these concepts to mind. While New Years day is not in itself a holiday important to our liturgical calendar, it is very important to the cultural landscape of the western world in which we live. New Year’s has always traditionally been a day in which we plan to make changes. Usually these declarations of life changes are preceded by several weeks of absolute indulgence with the crescendo of this symphony of sensory experiences happening on the night of the eve of the New year. There is usually an early morning (Or mid day depending on the previous nights festivities) proclamation upon arising “THIS YEAR…I WILL NOT..(Fill in the blank)…AND I WILL MAKE SURE I…(Fill in the blank)”
Most of the time this plan that you have put into place works and you begin to see progress…for a while. Then, what typically happens is that the stressors of this world begin to seep back into the mind. You start to lose your focus, and after a few weeks it is like you have never even attempted to make this change in the first place.
Spiritual practice works in similar ways with individuals. People have a desire and initially have a drive to make changes regarding their spiritual practice, they feel intuitively that they should focus more on matters of the spirit. They read the books and they buy the associated paraphernalia (Prayer Ropes, Rosaries, etc.) and they begin a strict regimen. They work hard at clearing time for themselves to actualize their spiritual desires. For a while it works and much like those New Years resolutions, they may even start to feel the beneficial change that comes from spiritual mindfulness.
However, the material world slowly starts to creep in as it is known to do and puts the work on all of your well intentioned plans. And thus, our Gospel reading for the day has presented itself.
I must stop to say that I am always amazed at how appropriate and timely these liturgical readings are…
Ok, back on track. We read in the writings of Hermes Trismegistus that this issue is being addressed. That intuitive desire you have to make spiritual changes are a byproduct of our inherent connection to the divine. We are part of God. To think about it, we are the photon particles from the rays of the light that is God. Our interconnection is absolute. As spiritual beings naturally we have a drive to connect to the greater awareness. So Hermes in the gospel reading addresses this.
He then explains very accurately the afflictions that we face. It is difficult to remain mindful of our spiritual activities when things around us are generating so much stress. It is hard to keep our inner calm when we are navigating the storms all around us, the mindless torment of Matter.
Our Desires, our fears, what makes us angry, stresses us, distracts us, we must work very hard to bring that under some form of control. In my view, the beginnings of spiritual work should begin with learning how to properly cope, how to release the knots in the stomach brought on by the rough waters that the world throws on your shores. Then we must continue to employ those methods, because the truth that you learn is that whether you are a Monk, or a Married Priest, or a Layperson, you will constantly face the bombardment of the material world.
Even now, I myself struggle with maintaining my mindfulness, I am not perfect and I will forever be learning and developing my ability to cope with the past and prepare for the future while at the same time being present, as Ram Dass(Dr. Richard Alpert) so wonderfully said, “Be here now.”
We all walk through this world together, and our sufferings and our trials are very real.
What is also true is that in time, with work and dedication to the pursuit of spiritual awareness, those aspects of the world, all the mindless torment of the material traps will subside. As you commit yourself to slowly and steadily applying spiritual disciplines to your life, you will find that there will be a culmination occurring.
What at one point seemed impossible, you will now find that you are steadily working within those practices. You will begin to have small moments of stillness and in those times the divine will be revealed to you in the little signs that we are so regularly blessed with. You will begin to attain personal comfort and see that spiritual practice is in truth a sanctuary from the every day melodramas. Your spiritual practice is yours alone, and you are in complete control of its process. Why is this? Because God is with you always. You are the divine coming into self realization. You will see that with practice and time, what seems so uncontrollable will become quite manageable.
It is all about the small steady steps forward. Don’t make radical sweeping changes, allow the development of Spiritual practice to grow organically, not with proclamation but with intention.
Your mind will begin to unburden and that light that had at one time been concealed by the shadow world that we dwell in will break through. When this happens the pure Gnosis will shine through and you will grow in the newness of your knowledge of the workings of the divine method.
In hopes for a wonderful new year for all of us and as always in service to the Logos,
Reverend Father Meinrad, Priory of the Rose Cross