Yoga and Meditation

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#set-yoga-and-meditation

#preached-retreat

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You know, sanctifying grace is our becoming God. God became human so that humans might become God. This is the great Christian axiom which has been forgotten for several centuries, but it was repeated by Saint Irenaeus in the 2nd century and it was repeated by Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century and a few others after him even. And so, this is what it's all about, it's about becoming God. And by rising up, by resurrecting and serving, here is this woman becoming God. For this woman, for these people who are there, her family, and Jesus, and maybe some other guests, you know. So, the sanctifying grace is our becoming God and our manifesting God for others, you

[01:01]

know. It's not our soul becoming more beautiful, yeah, I guess you can also say that, but that's not, that's not a good way, that's not adequate to say it's our soul becoming more beautiful, you know. The sin is taken away so we're nice and shiny, yes, but the point of it is to be, to be a manifestational God for others. And now that we're on the subject of Mother Teresa, she manifested God as Divine Mother for the Indian people, you know. She was Mother, but Mother as Divine Mother, as God, you know. Many female, the use of the female for God is, of course, very important in Hinduism. I think it's the most beautiful part of Hinduism, you know. God as Divine Mother. But also, we begin to realize that Christianity has the potentiality of expressing itself

[02:02]

once again in these terms because it is in the original language of Jesus and the Hebrew prophet spirit is feminine, and then there's the Divine Wisdom that's also feminine, and the Shekinah, the fire, the cloud, the luminous cloud that surrounds, that manifests the presence of God is also feminine, and so forth. So it is, when we manifest God, this is sanctifying words. It's God in us that enables us. God in us enables us, and we are doing something, and I'm sure that Peter's mother-in-law, you know, being instantly healed from her illness, wouldn't be thinking, ah, now I'm going to show them, I'm going to show them that I'm, you know, I'm going to show them

[03:03]

by cooking dinner, you know. I'm sure that that wasn't there. That wouldn't be reasonable. A reasonable human being wouldn't do that. I mean, and she was doing this because this was where she was in that moment, and God is in her manifesting. Yeah? Well, sanctifying grace is God in us, God expressing God's self through us, and that's what I think I'm hearing you say. We also, in Christian tradition, have a suffering God, so would the suffering of the dark night, whether it be in me, or I don't know your name, or whether Teresa, could also be reflective of suffering that identifies with the suffering of Christ, as Paul talks about? Yeah, certainly. But the suffering of Christ manifests God's total outpouring of love, you know.

[04:08]

God so loved the world that he gave us only to be God, you know. So the manifestation there is not suffering. Suffering is not good at all. Suffering is the privation of life and health and so forth, and God doesn't want that as such. But for love, one can suffer, you know, and it's the self-giving that manifests God. And so a person may, fulfilling, just fulfilling one's life's tasks, you know. It can be this moment of suffering, but one does it because it is good to do this. And one finds happiness also, you know. One finds happiness in doing the right thing, even when it entails suffering. But the suffering is not good. And the sufferings of Jesus manifest God only insofar as they help us realize that Jesus

[05:15]

did this out of love for humanity, saying, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do, and breathing out his Spirit upon the earth. Because there's this expression of the Gospel according to John, the passion story of John, Jesus, when Jesus dies, he says, the expression in Greek can mean, can be translated, he breathed his last, but it also means he gave over the Spirit. And this is purposeful. This is a play on words. It's on purpose in that text, and it's typical in the way that the fourth Gospel was written. It's very simple vocabulary, but it uses these words with these double meanings. And this is the meaning that says that he breathed his last, he died, you know, gave up the ghost. This is the old 17th century, or 16th century translation of the phrase, gave up the ghost.

[06:21]

But really, he was giving the Holy Ghost, he was giving the Holy Spirit. You know, with the suffering, you say it's not good, but then why all these saints, when they suffer pain, like St. Therese, and St. Francis of Assisi, they go through suffering in the world of Christ, and Father Pio, all these wonderful people, the saints, do they go through the suffering because he went through that suffering, and at the end, he served the highest love of God? Yeah. Is that... So suffering is not bad? Yeah. It's not the question... Suffering, as such, is an evil, you know. But we can permit an evil to exist when a greater good comes from it.

[07:22]

In our own practical choices, we can sometimes say, well, we have to let this happen, but we're really aiming at the good results that will come, you know. Like, if you want to have health care in this country, they have this cover, The Economist, that had the president dressed up as a doctor with a big hypodermic, saying, this is going to hurt. So, you know, you've got to pay for it, you know. So, in this sense, we can permit the suffering, and we understand... We can only understand God in relation to suffering as permitting this, in order that there may be healing, and salvation, and love, and liberation. You see, it's always... The end is always the good, and never... Suffering, as such, is not good. There's also a saying, pain is a given, but suffering is optional.

[08:26]

And I know, for me, when I'm suffering, it's because of my resistance to the pain. Rather than abiding at the bottom of the well and going, and just letting go and being there, I'm fighting it. I'm trying to climb the sides. And that induces suffering. It can increase. Increase the pain. And, yes, it's often because we are not accepting, you know, this downside, or the dark reality of life. And yet, at the same time, we have to be conscious that this is a negative. This is the privation of the good. And it is not God's plan that we ultimately be in pain, but that we be well, and be relieved from pain. If not in this life, then the life to come.

[09:27]

And all the resurrection. I had an experience two months ago. I had walking pneumonia. And after walking pneumonia, I had shingles. And I've never had shingles in anybody. It's the most painful. Painful. And I was in bed, and I couldn't get up for two weeks. And in a way, that's when I actually prayed the rosary. I never prayed the rosary before. And I had my crusader. I said, Oh God, this pain, this hunger. Just give me this suffering, this pain. I'm going through, but please give me this relief. So my brother brought this beautiful white orchid. And he came to see me. My goodness, the orchid got wilted. It was in heat. So he said, I'm sorry about you. That's exactly the way I feel. I'm so sick. When you have shingles, you can't even get out of it. I had the virus. I thought I was dying. So anyway, put this orchid, put it in water.

[10:29]

And I took it to my room after I had prayed the rosary and prayed to God. I said, just give me some relief because I can't take this anymore. I have to work. I teach. And I haven't been able to go back to school. So this beautiful orchid just went back to life. And all of a sudden I felt this. There was something in that room. So it's hard to explain. But this orchid. We were talking about nature. And I saw this orchid. And I didn't just see an orchid. The orchid was in my hand. And it had like a little face looking at me. It was just a beautiful flower. Then I actually embraced it and kissed it. This is gorgeous. I said, God, this is something I'm feeling. Is it you? The beauty of this orchid. And coming back to life. And me coming back again to life feeling better. And I kissed it.

[11:31]

And I said, God, I know you're in this beautiful orchid. It's gorgeous. So I went back to school. One of my students says, Rebecca, I brought you a gift. She brings the same white orchid. Gives it to me. It doesn't stop there. Let me tell you. And I'm going, oh, why didn't she know? And she says, I wanted her to find you something else but not this white orchid. But she wanted this. So here comes next day. Few more days till school is over. Here comes this mother with this just too beautiful, the same orchid. And I'm going, and these tears started coming down. These parents were buying me all these gifts because they were feeling sorry for me because I hadn't been to school and kids weren't happy to see me. But it didn't stop there. Another student. And the mother says, I don't know why, Mrs. Rebecca. I told him, get a pink one. Get a purple one. Get beautiful colors. And he said, you know, Mrs. Rebecca loves white orchids.

[12:34]

I never told him that. She loves white orchids. I said, I never said that. But this boy. And I thought, oh my God. And then someone else came to me and I said, this is not a coincidence. This is not a coincidence that it was just, I felt this love. I mean, this love, I mean, I was just in tears. Why is she crying for this white orchid that she just got? But three, I received three of them. And that was a feeling that I, a confirmation from God saying, yes, that was a real experience that you felt something. And yes, that love you showed to those kids that you, you know, giving them back to you. And finally, this thing about love, you feel it. And I said, I'm glad that I went through this pain and suffering for those two months

[13:35]

of being sick. For me to finally pray the rosary and I haven't stopped praying the rosary. That it's, you need to experience this pain. If you never have shingles, that is pain. I've never experienced pain in my life like that. So I think that's, if I hadn't gotten ill, I wouldn't have been feeling the way I feel now. I don't know. And you think, what is it? Now I don't question it anymore. That's it. You're expecting this divine is that I think I've experienced. I would like to stay with this beautiful school, beautiful teaching. So we sit. Thank you.

[15:07]

Thank you. Alright. So, it's just a few more minutes of some other thoughts and questions if you wish. Now I wanted to make myself available if you want to have a personal one-on-one conversation, I'm happy to do that. Explain some things about yoga, if anyone wants to talk, that's fine. Yeah. I'm wondering why you discussed suffering and discontent as an ego moment. God's in you. God's in your shame. God's in your discontent. God's in my suffering. God's in everything. God is in person and in relationships, but God cannot truly be in the suffering. It has the privation of the good.

[16:09]

So it's an ego moment. It is, it's the absence of the good, the privation of the good. So, you as a person can find God in your suffering. But that does not mean either that God is suffering or that you have to suffer, otherwise you won't have, you know, God will not approve you. This, it doesn't happen. There are a lot of psychological studies about contentment. About the? About contentment. Contentment, yeah. And it's a curious thing. If we achieve some state in life that we've striven for, like marrying the person we want to marry, we are no more

[17:10]

content on the average than other people are. If on the other hand we do something really extraordinary, that wasn't necessarily pleasant, but it was truly extraordinary, and we realize afterwards we enjoyed having done it, that stays with us forever. It's a curious psychological thing. It's probably why nobody ever makes enough money. Because as soon as you get that raise, your standard of living goes up, and you look at the next standard of living and are dissatisfied again. And in the course of my life, what I've usually found is when that discontent happens, when that sense that I'm not doing enough, or I'm not doing it right, it's usually a signal that there's something else I should be doing. That there's nothing wrong with what I'm doing. There's nothing inadequate about it.

[18:12]

But there's something else I could be doing as well. Now to me, that's the voice of God. Okay. Yes, that is a voice of God, a word of God in your life. There's also the word of God that speaks through the everyday, the humdrum, the monotony of what you really you know, you have a life. Your life entails doing and being in this way. Parent, spouse, worker, contributing to society in whatever way you can. So, but there is certainly this, you know, what you're saying is certainly a way that you know, I think that all of us have an experience like that.

[19:14]

Of this sense of dissatisfaction as a stimulus to some greater service perhaps. Something that we're not accustomed to thinking about. Yes. But God is also in the interruption of that activity too. Yeah. The mystery that first is in the door and takes our attention away and frustrates what we were doing. Why did the computer crash just now? Well, things happen. But you know, you were saying about your prayer and you actually expressed it, you know. There is something, you know, that the Bible gives us, also other traditions,

[20:15]

but specifically in the Bible, the book of Job, but also in the prophet Jeremiah and St. Paul and Jesus. This laying it out before God, you know, I don't want this. You know, let this chalice pass me by. But not in the will of time be done, you know. But Paul also complains to God. Jeremiah says, Oh God, you seduced me and I let myself be seduced. Very strong language. Very strong language. And Job says everything. He says that before God. You know. That is a characteristic of prayer that is sometimes not, you know, not remembered and we need to remember it. That as long as it's in the second

[21:15]

person singular, the second person familiar, the I-thou, the me-you language, you know. As long as it's that kind of communication you can say to God. And God has to take it. God has to take it. And then he'll say something that will surprise you and then there will be, you know, a fuller realization like what happened to Job and so forth and the world went and what not. But that is something that we need also to feel as essential to prayer expression. You know. Giving thanks is the heart of prayer. You know. But complaining to God and saying this is not good. I don't like this. Why are you doing this to me?

[22:15]

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? These words were placed in the lips of Jesus by the evangelists, the authors of the gospels. And it's from Psalm 22. So it represents a way of prayer that Jesus perhaps did recite this Psalm. Put those words on it. In fact, it's very probable that he did because of the text that's given there in Aramaic, not only in Hebrew. Elohi. Elohi. That's not Hebrew. That's not the regular Bible. But that's his own native dialect. You know. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? So in prayer you can say everything as long as you're saying it to God. It brings you a joy

[23:17]

that, you know, like you say, you go to the next five-minute satisfaction. I'm glad I did get ill those two months because it made me stop again to pay attention to God, to really pray in that. And it brings this joy that ever since that time I've been like in a high happy. It's something you see that love in everybody and every person. You start seeing everything differently. It's just, I don't know how to explain it, but it will come to you if you actually, I don't know, you just I mean, I wasn't expecting anything from this illness and here I have this. And then here I come yesterday and there's a white organ. I said, okay. It was real and I was feeling and so it's like never stops. You know, it's just, it's some love

[24:19]

experience if you have to have something like that and then I thought, should I talk to a priest to see if this is real? No way. This is, you know. It's real. No, I don't. Because I can feel in myself, what are you? Oh, you're so happy. You're so, I don't know. I'm happy that I'm well. I'm happy that I'm back to normal, but something happened to me. It's an experience. You are a priest too. Why would you have to talk to one to see if it was real? Yes. You can answer. You can answer. Exactly. Of course, there is, there are these moments of consolation and the mystics recognize this, but recognize that they must love God, not to be consoled and not because God consoles them sometimes. But really love God

[25:21]

because God is. God is for everyone and sometimes I don't have the consolation, but I am concerned that the consolation that comes to me from God also be a consolation for others. To console others with the same consolation with which God has consoled me. It's a phrase of St. Paul. He just repeats this, you know, that he wants to console others. It's real. So if you're consoled, so that you can you know, tell others and make, communicate this sense. But there is, you know, this can come and go. There can be alternating moments in the spiritual life and that is really difficult. Ups and downs. But everything, you know, that goes up comes down again. Until there is this realization that there is no up and there is no down. There is no inside or outside. But God is

[26:23]

all in all. That is the ultimate realization. I hope you know this while we're quiet and we're talking about long suffering. You know the one trials and tribulations lead to this lead to character, endurance. Do you know which one I'm talking about? Trials and tribulations lead to patience. Patience lead to endurance. Character. It's got to be somewhere in the poem. I love that one. That's what I think about. We all have a lot of suffering and you think, okay, God, what's up with this? But in the end it all works out. You know which one it is? I was sure you would know. You see, I'm thinking of Joel. Joel is the one with patience. And Joel is the one with patience. Trials and tribulations lead to patience. Patience.

[27:24]

Hope. Hope. And love. And Joel can still have love. It doesn't make a change. In Romans it is a reference to Abraham. Ultimate relations. But in Romans there is this expression to hope against hope. Hope against hope? To hope against hope. In other words, it's too much to hope for, but I'm going to hope even more. It's true, the story of Abraham. About Abraham and his son. And Abraham understood that God was asking him to sacrifice his son. It's going to work out somehow.

[28:31]

God will provide. That was the only thing that he would think of saying. And he took his son and made it as if he was going to offer some animal in sacrifice. But he took his son along with him. And the son said, I've got the wood, you've got the fire, here's the animal. Oh, God will provide. And God did. It's a story of a paradox. He gets there and he ties up his son and puts him on the wood and takes out the knife and then the angel says, stop. And look, and there's a ram with its horns caught in the bush, and he takes out the ram. That was the sacrifice. All this is like a parable. It's not saying that.

[29:31]

In fact, human sacrifices is never approved of in the Bible. But people get this idea. And so Abraham is an example of a person hoping against hope. Believing even when there wasn't much reason to believe. And then in the end, of course, there is this God was there in the ram. Okay, so yeah. One possibility is to sit out there. The sun is very bright and there are also the flies. Maybe there's a little room that's like a talking room, which is at the opposite end of the church on that side. I'll go in there if you want to come share a few things personally. That's fine. I'm available. Until just before evening prayer. Evening prayer is at 6.

[30:33]

And so when I get on the bed, we go to evening prayer.

[30:38]