When a spiritual director posed this question to me, I was shocked. This question acted like a slap in the face, snapping me out of a spiritual fog. After decades of thinking I had dedicated my entire life to God, I suddenly understood I was functioning day to day as if I was an unbeliever. My whole world paradigm was skewed because I did not live in reality at all. Even though I prayed, studied, and went to Mass, I was still living in delusion with my ego still in charge, not God. The reality is God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent and at the heart of a unimaginably, immense universe — and foolishly, I kept trying to steal His job.
No wonder modern folk are so stressed and anxious; we are not living how we were created to live but in a phony existence of our own creation. We are so wrapped up in our own thoughts, trying to control everything and everyone around us, even the most pious of us barely give God more time than a few prayers on the run. Even worse, city dwellers barely see a blade of grass during their normal work day. Surrounded by concrete and glass, man’s deepest self is starved for a connection with the rest of the natural world, other people, the communion of saints, and at an even deeper level, God Himself. Perhaps the underlying reason people are driven to go on picnics, hike, camp and go to cottages is that they are starving for a connection with the Creator.
But our holidays are only a brief respite. We live in isolated, man-made prisons which shut out other humans never mind other living creatures and God. Each person is the focal point of their little artificial universe. This means each of us has assumed the role of king or queen of our tiny kingdoms with everything depending on us.
I was never designed to live alone like an island unto myself. Yet, in my pride, I cling tenaciously to my throne and crown. Only when I was completely depleted and shattered, only then did I resign and give God back His job. Only then did I surrender an ego centric point of view and embraced reality which is that God is the hub of the universe and I am simply part of the Mystical Body of Christ.
Definitely absurd, but I only saw this fact after I surrendered and let go of control. I cannot find what is really important in life in self-created delusions but I can discover the truth as I learn to live in harmony with a bigger universe than the one I had created.
I was shocked to understand just how much inner transformation it takes to finally see straight. Perhaps the only people who are not living in delusion are those who can say with St. Paul,
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Until we allow our false selves, our egos, to die, we view the world narrowly through our own eyes with events and other people revolving around ourselves. Only surrendering our false selves to Christ on the cross can free us from a prison of selfish isolation and plug us into the Mystical Body of Christ. Then we are free to simply be children of God as we gather with others to worship Christ. As St. Francis said, “I am who I am before God, nothing else.” People we call saints are simply normal Christians who live in the truth.
Copyright 2017 Melanie Jean Juneau