Godself ... God as God is, not as we perceive God.
Godhead ... God beyond all theories, theologies, divine names and images, and religion. Again, God as God is, beyond the penetration of the human mind.
God Image, Image of God ... A mental representation of the immaterial and premental Godself, or Godhead, or God.
How does contemplative prayer loosen our absolute claims on our images of and ideas about God, while at the same time we grow more deeply in awe and respect for God?
A religious seeker went to visit a renowned holy abbot who was the leader of a Christian monastery secluded in the hills.
The holy abbot asked, "Friend, please ask me the question you came to ask of me?"
The seeker said, "Father, is there a God?"
"Yes," replied the holy abbot.
"Do you worship here one God, or many gods?" inquired the seeker.
"Oh," laughed the holy abbot, "we believe in only one God, but we worship many gods."
The confused seeker asked how that could be. "Well," again laughed the holy abbot, "we each worship the image of the God that is the only God, the one we believe in."
The seeker asked, "Sir, how can this be?"
"For while we can love the one God with our hearts, we can only do it through the many images of God we hold in our heads," said the holy abbot.
Although nothing exists in it, the unmanifest is pregnant with the divine potential of everything.
*Tau Malachi, Gnosis of the Cosmic Christ
Prayerful contemplation is return from the manifest, the world of creation, backward to the unmanifest, the world of potential from which creation evolves by the Divine Will and Power.
If we are not careful, we will commit an idolatry of the mind. We will assume our God image, which itself is an evolving from the Universal Intelligence, the Light of Truth, is God Godself. Then, we can fuss about whether "God" is God, "Allah" is God, "Jehovah" is God, "Yahweh" is God, "Brahman" is God, ... We can even, as has been done, kill others who do not worship our God-image.
Remember what Jesus said to a woman who was of a sect of his own faith, but who was considered heretical in her religion by those so-called orthodox Jews? The Jesus of John's Gospel says...
"For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (4.24, NLT)
As a Christian I do trust that the One I often call God has manifested in a special way of revelation of Godself to the world. I see this in the Incarnation of the Word, Jesus of Nazareth.
I equally trust that God is not confined to any religion or any philosophy. No religion or philosophy can claim to be the only religious group to relate to and with God~that would be a cult, not a religion.
Why? God, being Infinite, cannot be confined in God Godself to any system of ideology or theology, regardless of how divinely revealed and true. Any thought about God, even the word "God," is a finite contraction from the Infinite Potential, Who sources all truth as Truth. So, no image can itself be God in Godself. A particular revelation of God may, however, be a truer and fuller revelation than other systems of God-images.
If I did not trust the fullness of the Christian revelation, I could not serve as a Christian clergyperson and share my faith in Christ Jesus with persons. I would be a walking lie.
I surmise that one reason persons fear contemplative prayer and Christian mysticism is that such opens us for the Holy Spirit at deeper levels than conventional religion to dissolve the idolatrous mind that deifies religious truths. Yet, for those who claim they are spiritual, as opposed to religious, even the so-called spiritual constructs of mind are idols when invested with a solidness and stability, and truth, belonging only to the Godhead~God beyond all thought about God or words relating to God.
So, contemplation will, by its very godly nature, be a threat to conventional religion, even conventional Christianity. Indeed, few persons want God to be God, rather than my God and our God.
Yet, the very relinquishment, even repentance, of such claims is a most reverent act of devotion and obedience to God. Possibly, the last idol to be burned in the Flame of Love for most of us is the stubborn and prejudicial idol of absolute claims we give to our faith and our image of the Boundless Divine.
What encouraged you about the above writing? What did you disagree with? Why?
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Feel free to submit a query. Thanks! Brian K. Wilcox
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