The most challenging problem of my youth was my doubt in the Catholic doctrine to which I was exposed. My lineage and early socialization no doubt confounded my smooth sailing into Christian soldier hood. My maternal grandmother was Lutheran, and I recall some experience in the toned-down secular milieu of those Protestant services.
I was introduced to Catholicism, my true birthright, rather late for communion age, out of sync with the rhythm of no question, memorize, and repeat the hermetically sealed catechism. My mind was too influenced by the powerfully rational mind of my secular Jewish step-father: I asked questions, faith alone couldn’t work for me.
I soon realized it best to keep my questions inside myself where they only intensified in urgency. One Good Friday evening, I had it out with God, insisting on an experience, not a belief, that could give some legitimacy to a core premise of Christianity, Christ’s crucifixion. I was met with an overwhelming experience that baptized my spiritual life.
My birth father, whom I never knew, hailed from a very Catholic Irish family where he was designated by his mother to become a priest. His refusal to her call sent him into alcoholism and violence against women. Clearly, his unrequited call to the priesthood was passed along to his biological son, me.
I have never found comfort in the Christian story and cast of characters; I simply never felt a personal connection. Communion never performed any magic for me. However, I was introduced to my spirit self, and God, experientially, and that truth could never be erased. I took my vows as a priest by becoming a psychotherapist. I have spent my career helping people to heal through connecting with their Spirit.
Lately, I’ve come to more deeply appreciate the Christian story, though my interpretation would likely be branded heretical, or at the very least, too muddled in New Agism. Nonetheless, I offer my understanding as part of my obligation, or folly.
Christ knowingly agreed to his fate in incarnating as a human being. The suggestion here is for all to contemplate their own agreement, as spirit beings, to enter a physical life, with a choice of their human fate. The suggestion that we choose the life we will encounter assigns us ultimate responsibility for the fate that befalls us.
Christ does not blame anyone on his cross; he is not a victim, for he knows he chose to be crucified. So, “forgive them father, for they know not what they do.” And what they did, was to help him fulfill his destiny. All must figure out their mission for the life they are in, and how all that they encounter is part of helping themselves achieve this goal, however obscured it might be from consciousness.
Christ was crucified. Christ reveals that life in human form is a crucifixion. Uniting an eternal soul with a temporal body is a death warrant; human life, by design, is a crucifixion. One part of the human being will die, the other will live on. All that we attach to in human form will perish, and we will be crucified by those losses.
Christ resurrected in spirit form. Christ models the fact that physical death results in the consolidation of continued life in the astral body, or in Christian terms, the soul body. Christ’s example validates the current science of out-of-body exploration. Indeed, we are more than our physical bodies.
Christ’s central message was unconditional love, even in the face of crucifixion. This perhaps is the most helpful message. Human life offers the opportunity to refine love to a very high degree of clarity. And that purity of love is the fuel to reenter infinity with the fortitude for deep exploration.
The veils of attachment that define, and are critical for human sustenance, are all challenged and lifted by the temporary nature of human existence. We must attach to live and truly detach to leave. And the detachment factory truly is the assembly line of love’s evolution.
To open to love in the flesh, to remain open to love beyond physical life, to open to new love in human life without cancelling old love of human life, to love neighbor as self, to love enemy as self, to love all with equanimity, to possess not—these are the stations of the cross of human existence. To achieve these stations is to open to truth and love at the most refined levels. Perhaps that is the essence of why we came here, and chose the life we are in.
Jan’s final book of The Recapitulation Diary series, Dreaming All The Time, ends with a shocking finale, a very deep challenge. Can we love and be thankful to everyone we have encountered in our human sojourn, no matter what? That, I believe was Christ’s most profound message. Love knows no limits and is only strengthened by our mastery of our greatest challenge, our very human condition of crucifixion.
Happy Spring, Happy Easter, Happy Incarnation!
With unconditional love,