Excerpt from 21st Century Science and Health:
Angels are not otherworldly human beings; angels are heavenly visitors traveling on metaphysical, not physical forces. Angels are pure thoughts from God, with diverse individualities, empowered by Truth and Love. Humans guess that angels are humanlike, marked with superstitious outlines, maybe even having wings, but this is only symbolism, fantasy. It has behind it no more reality than had the sculptor’s thought when carving the Statue of Liberty. Symbols embody a person’s conception of an unseen quality or condition, but they have no physical antecedent reality except in the artist’s own observation and “[secret] chambers of [idol] pictures.”
One way to view angels is as exalted thoughts, appearing through a crack in the abyss of darkness where human thinking has buried its worthiest earthly hopes. Pure thoughts lead us to a new and glorified trust, to higher ideals of life and its joys. Angels are God’s representatives. These ascending beings never lead toward selfishness, sin, or materiality, but guide to the divine Principle of all good, where every real individuality, image, or likeness of God, gathers. Resolved to pay attention to these spiritual guides they stay with us, and we entertain “angels without knowing it.”
I may not take the time to go on a retreat in the middle of Australia, or go visit the Grand Canyon, but I can appreciate what my friends told me.
Dede spent 3 days in the desert of Australia and said, “I’d look out over the flat horizon and feel there was nothing between me and the infinite.”
Adam spent a week in and around the Grand Canyon. “I could not help but feel the powerfulness.”
Frenchman, Blaise Pascal writer, Christian philosopher, mathematician, and physicist was quoted to have said, “Nature is an infinite sphere of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere.”
After 30-years, I returned to college and attended a two-week session at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry. We studied Spirituality in Christian Life.
The books that provided the framework for the class: The Desert Fathers, Julian of Norwich, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, and We Drink from our own Wells, by Gustavo Guitierrez.
Peering into the history of spirituality proved instructive. Obviously, people of all types will naturally come up with all types of spiritual practices.
The desert fathers and mothers utilized solitude. They lived the life of hermits.
Julian lived in the busy city of Norwich during the 12th century and appreciated a form of mysticism. She saw 16 visions that proved transformative.
The 16th century, Saint Ignatius of Loyola designed a very practical method of spirituality. He wrote down a hour by hour plan of exercises to be followed to promote spirituality.
Modern day, Gustavo Guitierrez espouses helping the poor as a means of increasing spirituality.
The class experience was exceptional and I’m sure I’ll continue to learn from the ideas shared. It really helped to have input from others. I’d recommend a book club for those of us who don’t make it to school often.
Church is taking on a new look. No longer enduring outgrown concepts we read Scriptures with healthy skepticism.
For example, although we read in the Gospel John that Jesus “went out, bearing His own cross, to the spot called The Place of the Skull,” the mass populace doesn’t haul wooden crosses to what is referred to as Golgotha. Taking up the cross is interpreted metaphorically.
We take up the cross of health problems, endure the indignity, and overcome the issue with grace, truth, and love.
We take up the cross of relationship mishaps and mend connections.
We take up the cross of adapting to new concepts of church and God. Old sermons are replaced with new sermons. Rituals become more practical. Idolatrous devotion is replaced with honest hard work. We follow spiritual leaders instead of repeat their words.
The metaphorical interpretations will continue, let’s keep up with them and see church, not as safety-valve, but as a living breathing force of inclusive oneness.