Faith is an invitation to grow out of inadequate ways of relating to God into the reality that God actually is. The Christian tradition is the transmission of the relationship with the living God that Jesus experienced. Participation in his own consciousness of God as Abba is what Jesus called the Kingdom of God. This kingdom is not a geographical location, an institution, or a form of government. It is a state of consciousness and of enlightened faith. To enter it, the preconceived ideas and pre-packaged values that we brought with us from early childhood have to be re-evaluated and outgrown.
— Thomas Keating in Manifesting God
Psychologists tell us that sometimes our image of God is formed by how we perceive our parents or our caregivers when we were growing up. e.g., If we had a loving father as a child, we are likely to see God as loving. If our father was absent or distant, we may think of God that way. If he was authoritarian and punishing, we probably see God that way. Stop for a moment, right now, and think about how you perceive God. Might your perception of God be based upon your parents treatment of you? If so, can you replace any distortion you may have of God with the truth? God is love. God’s nature is to bless. God wants only good things for you and has no desire to punish you.
Love in Christ,
The writings of Fr. Thomas Keating are taken from Spirituality and Practice. The reflections are my own.
M.Rev. Ed Jansen is the Bishop of the Diocese of St. Benedict and Rev. Dr. Trish Gaffney is its Vicar General
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