Our Humanity is Our Divinity...
Blogged by James Preece on 31st October 2008
Once upon a time, back in the day, I remember when priests would outrageous things in public (from the pulpit or in a talk) and I would to put them on the internet. People were outraged! It seems homilies should be treated like private conversations and kept quiet. These days things are much simpler... the Diocese of Middlesbrough puts the outrageous things on the internet on my behalf. How handy.
So, as I blogged before... Fr Daniel O'Leary spoke at Middlesbrough Cathedral. Now, thanks to the power of the intertubes, we know what he said:
The grace of insight into our lives, in darkness and in light
It was with great pleasure that the Cleveland Newman Circle welcomed Fr Daniel O'Leary (Priest, Author and Teacher of the Leeds Diocese) to open this season of talks by inspirationally sharing his reflections on how we become aware of our own soul and conscious of our own heart.
As CS Lewis said: you don't have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body.
We regular average every day non-inspirational people don't actually struggle with being aware of ourselves. It's being aware of God that's tricky...
He began by asking us to remove the plank in our own eye because if we do not transform situations in our own lives, then we will transmit what we really feel. He recognised that, very often, we could not change much but suggested that what we could change was how we looked at things and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, this transforming grace really would then change the quality of our lives. He thought that we all needed to free ourselves from the fear which stops us shining but acknowledged that it takes a huge dose of courage to trust in God and live in a redeemed way.
what we could change was how we looked at things and, with the help of the Holy Spirit, this transforming grace really would then change the quality of our lives Hold on. Changing how we look at things is not the same thing as 'transforming grace'. We get transforming grace through sacraments, not through changing how we look at things.
He reminded us that Jesus wants our love, not our good behaviour, and suggested that if we could truly surrender our hearts to God then our ego, pride and vanity may stand a chance of dying within us. He recommended that we could purify our souls by blessing those that curse us and loving those that hate us.
We can purify our souls by blessing people??? When I want to purify my soul I go to the sacrament of confession, blessing people doesn't work at all.
He said we must constantly pay attention to our own hearts; loving and forgiving our enemies without judgement or comparison. He realised that this was difficult and said that it is only God through us who can forgive another. It is, therefore, a truly divine act and one in which we can also only receive healing by completely and totally committing ourselves into the hands of God. People may be struggling to forgive themselves but harden not your hearts because you cannot forgive without your whole life being transformed. It is then that God may be able to shine out.
"it is only God through us who can forgive another" Not bad... it's almost true... We cannot forgive without the supernatural gift of God's grace. But. It is we who do the forgiving, not 'God through us'. Only when a priest gives absolution does God forgive through someone.
The abundant life which Jesus promised was to trust in God like mad, forgive immediately and live a life of letting go. However, we have a choice; a choice to choose that blessing by enjoying being alive and free and he suggested the more we do this, the more we become that way. We must also recognise our responsibility to work at being open to grace and one step is to know yourself well because everything you say in conversation is projected. It was Thomas Aquinas who recognised that magnanimity is the image of God within us. So let things go, see what's good in your heart and physically grow bigger as a result. Live with a contemplative mind rather than a calculating one and let God's grace shine in us a bit more.
"we have a choice; a choice to choose" - Brilliant.
"see what's good in your heart and physically grow bigger" - Sorry... What?? Physically grow bigger?
We are God's eyes and hands and words in the world but we need a radical shift in our own thoughts and feelings if we are to be able to release others. We need reminding that God loves us so deeply and is carving us in the palm of his own hand. That He is watching us, with light and love, just as we are. However, do we really see Him in every face that we meet? Do we recognise that, in essence, everything is divine? That even our humanity is our divinity? That our human love is God's love within us and that within the sacramental vision of marriage we have the choice to either redeem or destroy each other.
Do we recognise that, in essence, everything is divine? That even our humanity is our divinity?
Fr Daniel O'Leary seems to have really lost it here... everything is divine What does a priest have to actually say before he stops being eligible for speaking gigs at the Cathedral? even our humanity is our divinity...
I've heard of heretics who claim that Christ's humanity stops Him from being divine, but never that our humanity is our divinity.
This beautiful theology of love and grace will enable us to live a more expansive Baptism and Eucharist. It will enable us to bless people by being with them; for our very being is a sacrament of God's presence. God is exactly where we are at now. So our vision must be dripping with God's presence. In other words, we must keep Him at the heart of our lives; fleshing out our divinity. To be is to be blessed; to live is to be Holy.
our very being is a sacrament of God's presence... In so far as we are temples of the Holy Spirit, yes. But.. we must keep Him at the heart of our lives; fleshing out our divinity... No! We are NOT divine.
To be is to be blessed; to live is to be Holy.
To be Fr Daniel O'Leary is to have lost it.
My thanks to the Diocese of Middlesbrough website for making this talk available. Without your efforts we would have never known...