ON JOINING UP THE DOTS 29th March
If we want to grow in our faith understanding we need to start “joining up the dots”. It took me a long time to wake up to this.
Its like having all the ingredients of a cake and cooking them separately and NOT enjoying the result! Once you mix them together and cook them in the oven of “pondering & treasuring” as Mary
did, the results are rewarding. For example, the 2nd Vatican Council (1960s) reminded us that Christ is present in creation, in all people, in the Word, in the Sacraments, in the ministers of the
word & sacraments, in the gathered People of God, in all the baptised etc. Start connecting all these dots and suddenly one is enveloped and filled with the loving, creative presence of Christ in
every possible way.
I want to concentrate here on some other “dots”, which taken together will help us appreciate the wonderful work God has done in
Christ. It will also help to allay our fears and root us more confidently in trusting God’s great love and mercy. So what are the “dots”? No.1: “… for they will all know me, from the least to the
greatest – declares the Lord – since I shall forgive their guilt and never call their sin to mind.” (Jeremiah 31:31 re: the New Covenant, nearly 600 yrs before Jesus). No.2: “worshippers, when they
had once been purified, would have no consciousness of sins” (Heb 10:2). No.3: “(we are ) ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter (of the Law) but of the Spirit, for the letter (of the Law)
kills but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Cor 3:6). No.4: “ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the Law.” (1 Cor 15:56). No.5: “…so that by his (Christ’s) death he could set aside him who
held the power of death, namely the devil, and set free all those who had been held in slavery all their lives by the fear of death.” (Heb 2:15). No.6: “I watched satan fall like lightening from
heaven.” (Luke 10:18). And finally, No.7: “..the accuser (lit. satan) of our brothers and sisters, who accused them day and night before our God, has been thrown down.” (Rev 12:10)
So cooking all these ingredients in the oven of pondering and treasuring, what do we get? In the New Covenant, i.e. the new
relationship, God forgives our sin and indeed has no consciousness of it. (cfr. John 5:22 –“Nor does the Father judge anyone;.”.). Our consciousness of sin is about a sense, experience or conviction
that having broken the “Law” we are thereby judged and condemned.
It is an experience of separation or alienation from God, a sense that the relationship has been broken from our side and we are
helpless. In our consciousness we have an “accuser” a satan or devil, who is constantly accusing us and burdening us with a sense of guilt. From this experience arises the fear of death, in the
spiritual sense. (This is different from the instinctive fear of danger & death which is natural to us as sentient beings. Jesus was so afraid in the garden, he sweated blood, and sadly some
other people have suffered similarly.) Now from God’s side there comes not condemnation but justification. The judgement is a judgement of forgiveness and mercy. God looks on us not as rejected
children but as loved children. We are wounded yes, and the divine Physician only wants to heal and restore.
So what of our sins, our selfish, angry, destructive behaviour? Of course, God not want that! God wants only our good and the good
of everyone else. So, does God punish us for our sins? No, God weeps over the wounds we inflict on ourselves and others. We are punished BY our sins not for our sins. Acknowledging responsibility
(confession) is not self-condemnation but the necessary precursor to healing and restoration. So behaving justly, wisely, lovingly is an imperative. We must do what is right for the right reasons.
Our future, our planet depends on it. But let us explore further. The accuser (satan) has been thrown out of heaven. But where is heaven? Like the kingdom of God it is both within us (Luke 17:21) and
beyond us. To experience heaven is to experience “it” within the consciousness of our own being. Yet because heaven is relationship with Divine Love it is also from beyond our being. In the
consciousness of our being is heaven, purgatory and hell. The angel with a flaming sword that was placed by God at the gates of Paradise after Adam and Eve were banished from it (Genesis 3:24) has
been cast out. The gates of heaven are now laid open. Learning from trusting children, as Jesus bade us, we are changed by love and can run joyfully into the arms of our lovinng Father. (Matt.
“Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be
condemned; forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed own, shaken together, and overflowing will be poured into your lap; because the standard
you use will be the standard used for you.” (Luke 6: 36-38). (DMA)