On most Sunday mornings, I am awake much earlier than my family and I usually find myself immersed in an internet search of something tied to Christianity. Whether it is a prayer I can't quite remember the words to, or it is reading a blog that would be considered faith based, or it is a word or a term that has somehow floated up from my imagination, my searches end up taking me to places where new information sits waiting for me to delve into. My curiosity feeds my fascination and unrelenting thirst to find a place in a church of its own making. On Sunday mornings, I follow a Christian trail.
Of course, this cerebral trail of mine is never straight and narrow. It is a convoluted meandering path with many visual places to stop and ponder. It also branches out in different directions, encouraging me to make choices on where to trod. I may start with one speck of a question in mind, but then the more I explore various links, blogs, websites, my head fills up with a broad range of thoughts and feelings. It's like I start almost brain empty early Sunday morning, focused by the motivation "to know more..." and all of a sudden, I'm standing in a field that seems familiar but the angle I'm observing it from has altered. New angle, new light. New angle, new gaze. My cerebral explorations almost always wakes up my heart. That is where the sacred light goes in and my own soul light comes from. From there, I feel the words form...... and I become a vessel.
Its always been that way as a writer/blogger. Under the umbrella theme of Awareness, I have attempted to allow my thirsty interests.... my curiosity to guide my musing fingertips on the keyboard. It is a way of learning I never really understood until I started writing again. Until then, I had always considered the act of finding words to harness the floating bits in my brain as the practise of sharing what I had ALREADY figured out. Hardly.
The most important component of integrating new learning with old learning in order to allow it to sink into a place of synthesized acceptance OR to dismiss it outrightly, is writing. As I write, I challenge my thinking. As I write, I stare at my feelings. As I write, I ask myself................. is what I am thinking or feeling the truth? Can I shift? And if it isn't quite the truth, can I accept this "new angle" as an important part of choosing the path that may lead to truth and bare naked honesty? yes.
Honest reflections form the basis of establishing the freedom of our imbedded conscience. Truths may alter, may fall off to the wayside with new learning, may transform our lives in ways we don't understand or even want to accept. They may be hard and extremely hurtful, or they may lift you up in a smile, but the truth is all we have to build on our faith. Writing helps strengthen my vision of the truths that are attached to my wavering thoughts and fleeting feelings by anchoring it to what I already have learned. Writing allows me to challenge what I thought was true, and offers me a much needed venue to pull together a mess of seemingly unattached ideas so I can find linearity in the threads. There is truth and honesty in those jeezly threads!!! I just know it. :)
This morning, I learned that the Sunday after Easter is considered the Sunday of Divine Mercy, as practised in the Catholic church. My morning journey to seek out the genesis and meaning behind this day of mercy, allowed me to quench a thirst while reading the story of Saint Faustina, a Polish Sister canonized by Pope John Paul II whose visions and writings brought forward Jesus' message of forgiveness. As I read more about her life, about her mystical gifts, about the health issues she suffered, about her devotion to her faith, my thoughts were peppered by dozens of questions, from whether or not I really believe in the whole Sainthood process, to how comforting her message may be today to the people in her home country who are mourning the tragic losses of their leaders in the plane crash on Saturday.
Saint Faustina's unwavering beliefs may even be severely challenged by the faithful today, the day of Divine Mercy, as they process their shock and grief, but the message of mercy and forgiveness will eventually prevail.
The whole idea of unconditional forgiveness, of a Divine Mercy resonates with me and it always has. Though I didn't know there was a Saint who represented this, I'm not surprised. For someone like me, who lives in a place somewhere beside formalized religious indoctrinations (like next door on a wooded lot .....) I usually take what I've learned and try to apply it to my own life and to the ones I love. In actuality, that is what happens to people who attend services regularly and believe in Christianity. Our places of worship may look very different..... the altars are designed in many forms.
What I have gleaned this morning as I contemplate the lessons of God's unconditional love and forgiveness is that the only way it can happen fully is to strive for honesty. Living lies....living secrets and avoiding confessions of our sins is never going to lead to mercy. It is what Desmond Tutu lives by. Truth and reconciliation. He led a whole country to healing and wholeness because he believe in this heart and soul. He took his beliefs and turned it into action. He encouraged his country to face up to their sins, and by so doing, helped them shift their truths and offered them a way to look deeply into their consciences. Divine Mercy. He didn't do this without anger and resentment in his heart. He did this in order to alleviate those damaging instruments of the soul. Because he believed in the heart of truth, justice, fairness and peace, and because he believed in forgiveness, this gracious man led through his faith.
As an extension of God, Bishop Desmont Tutu wrote, "I am human because you are human. My humanity is caught up in yours and if you are dehumanized, I am dehumanized, and anger and resentment and retribution are corrosive of this great good, the harmony that has got to exist between people." I love that!!!!
On Sunday mornings, I sometimes follow a path that begins with a fired up curiosity. Today, I want to strive a little closer to forgiveness in my own situation. It will eventually bring peace and harmony. Not overnight. Not next week. One day. It will look and feel very different than it once did, but that's what I want for myself and for my children. Today, I relearned that in order to accomplish this state of being............. in order to feel a sense of Divine Mercy, honesty and truth, not lies and secrets is the only path to take.
Thank you Saint Faustina..... you just helped a wayward little one who doesn't attend the Catholic church find the strength to walk the talk..... to act upon the thoughts and feelings. This is living our faith. One step at a time. One confession at a time. The truth does set you free...........