2nd Sunday of Advent
The closet of a complete life contains robes of sorrow and joy. Changing from one outfit to another means fully experiencing what each season of life requires. The prophet Baruch consoles the people of Jerusalem who have experienced a devastating reversal of fortune. The Holy People and the Holy City were conquered in 587 and deported as slaves to Babylon. How could this happen? The prophets were ready to provide the answer: because of our sins…
At our conception and for a glorious season we humans have a deep experience of bliss from our unity with our mother, creation and God. But the development of the body with its comforting and unpleasant sensations, our longing for the bliss we knew in the beginning and the rise of reflective consciousness comes a deep question: “Why has the bliss (God’s presence) that was so constant now so fleeting? I must have done something that destroyed our paradise…. I have failed the good God and now I am an exile from paradise.”
Our poor confused mind then makes a plan with which to salvage the situation. The ego or “I am separate” identity assumes control and employs our best aptitudes in a survival strategy so that our exile will be as satisfactory as possible.
But the truth is that we did not lose our oneness with God, but all the phenomena that flooded our little senses, emotions and mind drowned out the vast, silent spacious bliss that was the basis of our first experience. We are still one with God, we just don’t experience it the same way as we did in the very beginning. Our belief that we are exiles is a misinterpretation. Just like the Jerusalemites belief that they were conquered and exiled because of their sins. It just so happens that occasionally someone else comes along and conquers you. And since we are all sinners we feel better when we can assign the reason for why things happen. We, therefore, feel that we have some control in chaos.
The metanoia that John the Baptist announced invites us to cleanse our minds from all our desperate beliefs that are based on “I am separate from God and others” or dualistic thinking. By being willing to experience the grief that we really don’t have that much control over our lives and are willing feel the pain of our losses and sin we change our mind from avoidance to acceptance of what seems like death and taste reality as it is.
Two things happen here: 1) you re-establish unity by accepting parts of yourself that you rejected because they were painful, and 2) you stop giving life to thought complexes that you are not God’s beloved.
Luke says that when this is done “all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” All people will be able to see what they are really seeing instead of seeing through so many distorted beliefs. This metanoia –literally, change of mind is the basis of vocational freedom and possibility. Because the foundation of vocation is God’s love for you, not your love for God. So making the path straight for God’s love means not giving your life, thoughts or feelings to distorted beliefs. By paying attention to what is real we tame the wilderness, straighten the crooked and smooth the rough way back home.
By Mark Blom, OMI – Vocation Director OMI Lacombe Canada