During December we can place these trials, or steps, more directly in our lives. While our thinking remains bound to our brain, materialism can obscure the real focus of Christmas. One of the greatest problems today is the plethora of spiritual knowledge. People can quote from the spiritual teachings ad infinitum; they can blind you with their definitions, quotes and concepts. They can even challenge you and make you feel that you know nothing by comparison.
The question we face in the first week of Advent is simply this: Are spiritual teachings a living force in our lives? It is better for us to focus on one small spiritual truth than to read vast numbers of books. As the seventeenth century German Mystic, Angelus Silesius says (paraphrased): If Christ is born a thousand times in Bethlehem and not within us, our soul feels abandoned. He then said that there is no point looking at the Cross of Golgotha unless we can see it within us. (Ditto the manger.)
“Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born
And not within thyself, thy soul will be forlorn.
The Cross of Golgotha thou lookest to in vain
Unless within thyself it be set up again.”
How many people feel abandoned today? Does this explain the rising suicide rate? Does it explain the increase in anxiety and depression? We need to explore ways of removing the image of Christ the man, especially the man who is thought to be physically coming again, and replacing it with the image of the living presence of Christ within every one of us now. “Christ is in you, the hope of glory” St Paul says. Do we believe that? Is there a quickening within us, a thrill, when we think the Christ could be in us, all of us – Buddhist, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Muslim? Surely that will remove any feeling of abandonment.
Can we see that the manger and the cross are within us, that the whole story of the life of Christ is happening within us? Call it metaphysics, call it esoteric or occult knowledge but don’t forget that it is not a theory, it must become a reality. Christ is born again within us continually just as he is crucified within us continually … and Sophia is continually in labor!
Justice, the series of adjustments that we must make, will remove the veil so that we can see living Christ within us and not feel abandoned.
The Virgin of Guadalupe – Salvador Dali