Reflections on Aging

September 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

Feeling a little sad, and the thought occurred to me that my sadness was due to feeling useless. I was then led by the Lord to think about this. When we get older, we transition from being actively useful to being passively useful. As adults we were actively useful. We did our jobs, we did things for others. As we age, we cease to work, we do less and less for others, and others do more and more for us.

There is an old adage, that it is easier to give then it is to receive. It is true. We do not like to receive. It makes us feel indebted. It makes us feel like we are imposing on others or are being a burden. We don’t feel in control. The Writings talk mostly about how the angels give to one another; yet for every giver, there must be a receiver. It is important that we learn to receive graciously. All of our protesting and deflecting may well express our personal feelings; but they take away from the giver’s joy in being useful.

Obviously the angels are gracious in both their giving and receiving; they joyously give and they joyously receive. We must learn to do the same. This is part of our preparation for heaven. As infants and children, we received the kindness done by others without much thought. I suspect the angels do the same. To become angels, we must learn to do the same.

I suspect that learning to receive graciously and joyously comes at the end of our life because it is so hard to do. It is easier to give than to receive, so we learn that first. Once we know the joy we have in giving, we can  the appreciate the joys others have when they give to us. From this we can learn to receive graciously and joyously. And so we begin the journey back to childhood. Except now we receive form others in the innocence of wisdom, instead of the innocence of ignorance.


What does the Lord require?

September 12, 2013 § Leave a comment

This is a beautiful passage:      

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6: 8; NIV)

Walking humbly with the Lord takes a lot out of you. It means removing the love of self and the world. Concerning humiliation, the Lord teaches us:

there are two things in humiliation, namely, the acknowledgment of self, that it is nothing but evil, and that relatively to the Divine it is as nothing; and the acknowledgment of the Divine, that it is nothing but good, and is infinite. (AC 7640)

Most of us would have no problem with later half of this teaching. Acknowledging that the Lord is nothing but good and that He is infinite is easy. It requires no humiliation. We can do that and still pat ourselves on the back and think that we are good.

On the other hand, to acknowledge that we are nothing but evil, and that in comparison to the Lord we are nothings is to act contrary to our inherently selfish nature. Pop psychology encourages us to feel good about ourselves, and to consider ourselves as powerful and good. But spiritually, this is not true. Humility means removing our sense of self worth.

Yes, we need to act as-if-of-ourselves; but in so doing we need to acknowledge that without the Lord we can do nothing that is truly good.

A definition of sin

September 10, 2013 § 2 Comments

This passage from the Arcana, has an interesting definition of sin.

[Pharaoh said] I have sinned this time. That this means separation from truth and good is evident from the meaning of “sinning” as being a sundering and turning away from the Divine, thus from truth and good; consequently also separation, for he who turns himself away from truth and good, separates himself from them (AC 7589).

This is a rather broad definition of sin.

Obviously we are turning away from the Lord when we break any of the Ten Commandments. We also turn away from what is good when our hearts are focus on ourselves or worldly things. We have feelings and desires, intentions and and fantasies which turn us away from what is good, and consequently turn and severs us from the Lord.

If we look at our thoughts, our ideals, our beliefs and examine them we will see that they too often turn us away from the Lord and His truth. It is not always easy to see how our will and understanding are turning away from the Lord; or how are choices sever us from the Lord. But keeping this definition of sin in mind, may help us in our self-examination to find evils and falsities which we need to shun as sins against the Lord.

It is only in cooperating with the Lord in the shunning of sins, that the Lord can turn us towards Him, and join us to Himself.

Where Am I?

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