Tonight we will be discussing Chapter 3 “The Healing Heart” in Dr. Albert Rossi’s Becoming a Healing Presence. In this chapter and within his book, Dr. Rossi uses two biblical stories to illustrate how we come to know God within ourselves. The first is the story of Jacob’s Ladder found in Genesis 28:10-17. As the Bible tells us, Jacob laid down to sleep. In his sleep, he saw a vision of a ladder stretching from earth to heaven with angels ascending and descending upon it and God standing above it. Upon awakening, Jacob proclaims that this is the gate of heaven. In interpreting this story, St. Isaac of Syria (640-700), says that this heavenly ladder begins in the inner soul of Jacob and could be discerned only while Jacob was at rest and alone. Therefore, while we are in prayer we too should see that ladder (Jesus) that leads to the Kingdom of Heaven.
The other story Dr. Rossi uses is that of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15:11-32. In the parable, the Prodigal runs away from the Father toward destruction. It is only when the Prodigal “comes to himself” (v.17) that he is capable of repentance and a return to the Father. As St. Basil the Great (330-379) puts it, only when he returns to himself, that is returns inward, can he ascend to God. As with Jacob, the Prodigal is alone when he reaches the point of return. The lesson, of course, is that prayer should take us to that place of being both wholly within ourselves and with God. For as Jesus teaches, the Kingdom of God comes not with an observation so that we can say it is here or it is there, rather the Kingdom is within you. Luke 17:20-21.
Building off of last week’s lesson that life is a treasure hunt, please think about those times this week when you have seen God in the ordinariness of your life. Think about what treasures he has shown you to ponder and to keep in your heart.
Dinner is at 6. Menu is Jambalaya. (If you have a shrimp allergy, please let me know.) Discussion about 6:45. Please bring a friend. Hope to see you here.
According to a Hindu legend, there was once a time when all human beings were gods, but they so abused their divinity that Brahma, the chief god, decided to take it away from them and hide it where it could never be found. Where to hide their divinity was the question. So Brahma called a council of the gods to help him decide. “Let’s bury it deep in the earth,” said the gods. But Brahma answered, “No, that will not do because humans will dig into the earth and find it.” Then the gods said, “Let’s sink it in the deepest ocean.” But Brahma said, “No, not there, for they will learn to dive into the ocean and will find it.” Then the gods said, “Let’s take it to the top of the highest mountain and hide it there.” But once again Brahma replied, “No, that will not do either, because they will eventually climb every mountain and once again take up their divinity.” Then the gods gave up and said, “We do not know where to hide it, because it seems that there is no place on earth or in the sea that human beings will not eventually reach.” Brahma thought for a long time and then said, “Here is what we will do. We will hide their divinity deep in the center of their own being, for humans will never think to look for it there.”
All the gods agreed that this was the perfect hiding place, and the deed was done. And since that time humans have been going up and down the earth, digging, diving, climbing, and exploring–searching for something already within themselves.