Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Spiritual Journey

On Saturday Lorna and I were at the funeral for the mother of a friend here in P.E.I.  It was a Roman Catholic funeral in the R.C. church in Souris.  The funeral was well done and the liturgy was very similar to the Anglican B.A.S. liturgy so it was fairly easy for us to follow along and join in to the responses.  However, there was no bulletin and was difficult for some Anglican parishioners who attend our local Anglican church as we use the old prayer book; the Book of Common Prayer. 
That being said the homily was very thoughtful and one point which particularly resonated with me was the assurance by the priest that the deceased has come from her heavenly home when she entered this life and had now returned to her heavenly home.  I agree wholeheartedly with this understanding of life.  We come from God and will return to God when our time on this earth has run its course.  It is that journey which we are all on that is our calling.  A quote from T.S. Eliot sums it up very well:
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

The bible is actually the story of our journey of being with God in the beginningthe Garden of Eden and our journey and eventually returning to that homethe New Jerusalem as shown in the Book of Revelation.  The story of our first parents began in the Garden of Eden paradise where our progenitors were one with the heavenly father.  They walked with “Him” in the cool of the evening.  They were naked i.e. without any personas and were unashamed.  They were in effect in union with God.  Once they became aware of themselves as separate from God i.e. ate of the knowledge of good and evil, they were, in effect, expelled from Paradise. 

The rest of the bible is an account of humanities’ journey of a growing relationship with God.  This goes through the stages of development from a childlike relationship to the teenage rebellion into a more mature yet still imperfect relationship.  The journey goes from union to separation to a new union (reunion).   Indeed, Jesus recapitulates this journey in the parable of the Prodigal Son. 

This journey has been explored and developed by Carl Jung and his followers as the journey of the creation of the ego (the individual semi-conscious person) and separation from God, which Jung represents as the Self or the God-image in our psyches, to a potential reunion with God which Jung calls individuation.  It can be illustrated as follows:

Figure 1 The ego is in union with God

Figure 2 The ego becomes partially separated from union with God 

Figure 3 The person is individuated and in full relation with God. 

Jung was a psychologist and his theory is one of psychological development.  However, it is equally applicable to understand the development and maturing of the relationship between human beings and our creator.  As pictured in figure 2 the ego has the illusion it is in charge and wants to maintain control of how we are in the world.  Manifestations of this include ego-centric people and to more extreme states such as full blown narcissism.  The ego believes that everything, including God, should be in service of the ego i.e. the individual as he or she perceives the world.  The journey is to move to the position as pictured in figure 3 where the person is in service to God and in a new spiritual and psychological union with God.

I understand the journey to be one in which we have the potential of discovering more fully the people God intended and intends us to be when we were created. 

I had Sunday off from official duties and Lorna and I attended St. Alban’s together.  It is nice to be able to worship with her in that way.  Consequently there is no sermon this week.  Blessing on you journey. 


No comments:

Post a Comment