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Hi marco, and thanks for sharing.

I think most of us decided to save our $50 based on the snippets of arrogance she posted on her blog, but your post makes it clear that this would have been money wasted. Perhaps you've read some of our posts above, where we share our criticisms as well.

Hard to say what's happened with BR, but it's a good example of how bizarre things can get when we place our own experiences and interpretations above that of the Church.

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Posts: 3570 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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hi phil!

yes i have-just this week- discovered & read the threads on this forum concerning bernadette, and they have been very insightful. i agree--some of the imagery and concepts of her earlier books are quite fantastic, they really drew me in-- yet i can see now, there is a hard line to her writing that is grating.

i still like those books, however i will accept those teachings of hers that can be corroborated by other spiritual writers that i respect.

bernadette had in an earlier book said that everyone's experience of God is subjective and that it is impossible to fully explain the ineffable--yet this is what she attempts to do here --speak for God-- and for me she seems to drown under weight of her arguments and explanations.

'the real christ' is a very densely written book, 380 pages of bernadette's intellecual arguments that are extremely subjective and i'm really at a loss to understand how this could be right and 2000 years of Christian history be wrong.
 
Posts: 7 | Registered: 04 December 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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marcco, I agree that Bernadette's early writings include many wonderful insights, which are stated quite clearly. We corresponded regularly for awhile in the late 1980s and I even had her come over to the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita, KS to present a week-long workshop in 1991, during which time I got to know her even better. I found her refreshingly honest and very clear in her teaching, some of which was very helpful. There was always this contentious, combative spirit with her, however, which I found troubling, but attributed to her difficult life and, perhaps, poorly developed social skills. She was very generous with her time in visiting and counseling with people, and seemed a joyful person.

There was with me all along, however, a hesitancy concerning her "anthropology," or lack thereof, to be more precise. Everything was based on her experience, which she came to consider definitive. She was never able to hear questions that challenged some of what she was saying, especially about the loss of "self," or how she might account for her own, obvious individual existence, opinions, judgments, etc. She would become defensive, and "blast" people -- a term she was fond of using. In the end, it seemed to me that what she was saying was really a subtle form of pantheism, not unlike Hinduism, which she acknowledged in her first edition of The Experience of No-Self (she retracted this in a second edition -- which goes to show that she interprets.) There was also this tendency with her to split the humanity of Jesus from "Christ" in such manner that, in the end, Christ is one thing, and Jesus another -- a dichotomy that is blatantly at odds with Christian teaching. Don't expect to be able to dialogue with her about this, however. Roll Eyes

In the end, we mutually dropped our correspondence and I lost touch with her, though I would hear from one person here, another there about some workshop or retreat she had been leading. Then came the blog, which some of her friends put up for her, and the discovery of other writings, which continued the same trends noted above. I shared some of my reservations in an Amazon.com review of Experience and, of course, we have had our discussions on this forum.

Bernadette was once considered something along the lines of the "queen of Christian nonduality," but I think we can take that "Christian" part out now. She is a good example of how a small turn from orthodoxy can lead to a major deviation down the road.
 
Posts: 3570 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes. It was by His stripes we were healed, by His resurrection from the dead that death is shown to have lost its sting, and it is to His name that every knee will bow and every tongue confess.

The incarnate Christ: Jesus.

So many these days are wont to ignore this reality in favor of some pseudo-theological hippie-dippie... swill.
 
Posts: 465 | Registered: 20 October 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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thank you so much for that backround information on bernadette, it has been really helpful to me.

funny, what this 'real christ' episode has done for me is NOT what bernadette intended-- what has happened is that my life-long love for the Jesus of the gospels has come welling up from my very depths.

after all of bernadette's mind-bending concepts spinning in my head, i wanted silence! i found online a number of paintings-- Jesus sitting alone in the desert, portraits of Jesus carrying his cross--paintings done by master artists throughout the centuries. and i've been quietly contemplating, focusing, and re-affirming THIS Jesus, His humanity and the good He did while on earth.

and re-affirming also my sincere love for this God/Man -- this will never change.

and as for the limited human ego trying to explain infinity in it's entirety---

i have found myself thinking back on my parish priest when i was a youngster. he had a favorite biblical quote that he would work into almost every sermon,i heard it many a sunday growing up, and i can hear his voice even now saying it:

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what GOD has prepared for those who love Him-"

1 Corinthians 2:9


AMEN to that!
 
Posts: 7 | Registered: 04 December 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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marcco, I think BR has been trying to make sense of her mystical experience in Christian terms for a long time, and has had difficulty doing so. Jim Arraj had some nice reflections on this many years ago, and he concluded that what she was describing was more akin to Buddhist enlightenment than Christian mysticism. (BR wrote a response to this, "blasting" Jim, of course, in her usual lovely manner Wink). All sorts of problems arose, however, when Thomas Keating, in an endorsement on the back cover of Experience called it:
quote:
One of the best books on this subject since St. John of the Cross. An amazing book, it clarifies the higher regions of the spiritual path.

So Fr. Keating basically endorsed her schema that no-self comes after the unitive stage, then comes the rest of what she (and only she!!!) has described.

Jim begged to differ. He and I wrote to Fr. Keating about this, and he eventually acknowledged that what she described was closer to Buddhist mysticism. Even Bernadette agreed with this in the first edition of Experience as Jim summarizes:
quote:
And she sees a possible progress of spiritual development starting "with the Christian experience of self's union with God... But when the self disappears forever into this Great Silence, we come upon the Buddhist discovery of no-self..." (p. 109) "Then finally, we come upon the peak of Hindu discovery, namely: "that" which remains when there is no self is identical with "that" which Is, the one Existent that is all that Is." (p. 109)

So you put all that together, it surely sounds like she's saying the Buddhist experience is higher/deeper than the Christian "dual" mysticism, and that Hindu mysticism (especially advaita) is highest of all! Again, you won't find this in later editions of Experience, but the damage had already been done, especially with Fr. Keating's endorsement in Experience and his later, gushingly enthusiastic Foreword in The Path to No-Self. With Ken Wilber's glowing recognition of her writings (which she wasn't too happy about, but, hey, what did she expect?), she was somewhat officially designated the queen of nondual mysticism, Christian and otherwise.

But Jim's point remained un-refuted:
quote:
Since she had a deep life of prayer in the Christian contemplative tradition before she went on this journey that ended in the experience of no-self, it is understandable that she will see this experience as the next stage in the Christian contemplative journey, and a stage that the Christian mystics like John of the Cross know very little about. (The one exception is Meister Eckhart, a predilection which is shared by D.T. Suzuki.) Thus she is forced to put the no-self experience at a level higher than the spiritual marriage described by John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila and therefore place her own experience above that of the Church's mystical doctors. I don't think this interpretation is correct. This mysticism of the no-self, as well as Zen enlightenment, is not a supernatural mysticism that comes from grace and leads to an experience of God's presence and of sharing in His life. It is a very different kind of experience that attains to the absolute, to God, but through emptiness.
- http://www.innerexplorations.com/ewtext/br.htm

"After" does not equal "higher" or "above."

She did write a response to Arraj and other critics, which we have discussed on another thread. But I do not think she refuted what he wrote, except with her usual "I have the experience and you don't" line of reasoning.

While I was generally opened to deep wonder by her writings, I was also left with a profound sadness as well, and I paid attention to this and what it implied. No-self, no-Phil, no-Jesus: only some abstraction of human nature enduring as "Christ." This all naturally rubbed against defined doctrines, and I chose to believe the latter over the "witness" shared by BR. This was, for me, a good example of how, in the end, the intellectual aspects of faith must provide guidance over experience, else who knows where things will go?
 
Posts: 3570 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good reflections, Phil and marcco. And hi, marcco, and welcome to our little community.

"After" and "higher"/"above" are indeed entirely different categories of things. "After" is something objective and chronological, whereas "higher" or "above" imply a value judgment and a set of beliefs.

I think BR does say in one of her (published) books that she believes St. John of the Cross (and others) likely arrived at the no-self stage but omitted to mention it due to the severe doctrinal challenges it would pose.

Nowadays I don't see anything exclusively Buddhist about no-self; it is a purely psychological event. Those who wish to know more can consult my brief essay on the subject on Kindle.
 
Posts: 927 | Location: Canada | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think there is some value in BR's personal story and teaching, even though it is quite different from what she and her followers see in her. Her "case", if I may call it that, shows certain important changes in our culture and in Christianity's relationship with this culture.

First of all, BR's case shows a decline of authority (this process was insightfully analyzed by Philip Rieff, Christopher Lasch, Allan Bloom in America, Pierre Legendre in France) in Western culture. The destruction of authority leads to an existential and psychological situation in which the subject considers itself the supreme point of reference, there is no Other, no matter how defined, which is above the subject. Thus BR manifests the ultimate lack of relation with authority. Her experience is the only measure and reference.

Secondly, the decline of intellect and reason. After Descartes intellect gradually lost its contact with God and reason degenerated into scientific methodology of physics and biology, which is now identified with "rationality" (=atheism, materialism, "value-free judgments" etc. about so called "facts"). The decline of intellect is manifest in BR's inability to use reason and arguments to get in touch with reality. Her conclusions are contradictory, full of logical absurdities etc.

Thirdly, the decline of communal existence into narcissism. Nowadays we think it's obvious that the goal of life is to realize our potential, to self-actualize, to get in touch with our feelings, heal our wounds etc. No-one thinks about responsibilities to the family, society, nation etc. Our experience and personal self-fulfilment, "spiritualized" into forms of enlightenment, becomes the ultimate goal. BR manifests that fact that she doesn't want to belong to a community, she creates her own, dissociated from tradition and other communities (the Church, for example). She thinks the ultimate goal of human beings is enlightement and self-liberation or something like that.

We can see clearly that the disease of our culture permeats religion and spirituality as well, and tries to invade and destroy Christianity from within. Ultimately, as Phil points out, it is totally un-Christian. Perhaps, we can see more clearly what are really the forces that are dangerous to Christianity and Christian culture. Not violence and persecutions (in the West), but subtle spiritual and intellectual assault of narcissism ("experience"), "freedom" from authority and intellectual poverty ("rationality").
 
Posts: 424 | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for your comments, Derek. Could you post a link to your kindle book?

To see how this new book by BR is being accepted in integral (i.e., Wilberish) circles, check out http://integrallife.com/node/203274 Seems she's still considered the darling queen of nondual teachings, and this new book is being considered an enormous contribution to understanding what Christianity is really all about. There isn't really any good critique of it, but they're operating out of an integral perspective rather than using the doctrines of Christianity as a basis for discernment.
quote:
An egregious mistake was made by theology when it identified Christ as the human person Jesus (who is the historical icon of Christ), for Christ is beyond all distinctions of personhood, even Jesus’ personhood. Christ is the revelation of man, of the alpha and omega of universal human destiny— not the revelation of the single man, Jesus.
- from the opening post

Excuse me while I go and vomit somewhere!
 
Posts: 3570 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't find what BR is saying unique. Over the years i have run into this type of thinking in esoteric Christian groups and some Eastern
beliefs.

What i've learned is that for at least some who have "experiences" that there may come a time when one can open up to other belief systems. This is where i got lost for some years, giving these experiencing importance. Can't remember how many times i wanted to leave the confrontation i felt on this forum. But then came the time i believed making "A Choice" which path to follow & sticking
with it. Taking time to learn dogma, an ongoing process.

To me BR seems to be mixing belief systems & truely believes she is the savior who is going to bring Christianity to a new level of development. She is the chosen one.

I first learned of this issue in some writings by Sri RamaKrishna. He had a very strong Hindu foundation when this started happening to him. He experienced things from many religions, including Christianity. He didn't mixed all this up but basically said this was nice but choose to follow the Hindu path he loved so much.

Does anyone else feel that BR is trying to change the RC understanding of human soul? Confused
 
Posts: 380 | Registered: 01 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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i understand that bernadette's emphasis is on the transcendental Christ, and yes, we are all 'one' in Christ.

yet she has an intense dislike of 'indivdual' human natures, including the Jesus of history (and the Gospels). this book deals with bernadette's conception of how the Trinity works, she works her way thru Paul and then the early church fathers, religious councils, and the major theologians of history-- refuting thru her reason anyone who states that Jesus Christ had a dual nature as man and God.

in her mind, it is IMPOSSIBLE for God to be united to ONE individual--Jesus. bernadette will not let go of this.

OK, that's fine, but she must realize that this stance puts her outside of mainstream Catholicism now- and mainstream Christianity. She CANNOT confess this yet take the Holy Eucharist in a Catholic Mass...no church authority would approve the teachings of this book, and it is WRONG now for bernadette to present herself as a Catholic-- having once been a nun, she must know this.

bernadette seems to be taking the MYSTERY of the TRINITY, the metaphysical MYSTERY that we are all ONE, and single-handedly trying to explain it IN ITS ENTIRETY thru her intellect-- now THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE. i am amazed anyone would think they could attempt it. all we can get HERE on earth is glimpses of that realm-- but in the end it is beyond all our concepts-while we are down here!

and while bernadette can attempt "a new Christology", for me it doesn't fly because she has TOTALLY removed the human element out of the mix...

i find her attempt in this book to remove Mary from our human family to be really strange.

and the hoops she jumps thru to move Mary from being 100% human into part of the Trinity---(perhaps she says, before she launches into these ) Mary and Jesus share the same flesh (and because of this she too is Christ)---Jesus and Mary share the one-same Spirit/Logos--- Mary and God the Father were both equally the INCARNATORS of Jesus--- Mary and God the Father are consubstantial (constitute a single divine person, as the God/man Jesus does{!!!!!})--- God the Father became ONE FLESH with Mary before she gave birth, therefore she WAS CHRIST before she gave birth--- because Mary's mother Anne was past child-bearing age, God provided the female X gene as He would supply the Y gene for Jesus later {{that makes Jesus 3 parts GOD, one part man---thank you Joachim for getting some human genes into Jesus' bloodline!!!}}--- i mean, wow---

you see why my head was exploding when i read this??

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Posts: 7 | Registered: 04 December 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
you see why my head was exploding when i read this??



If it were obviously apparent then what a strange world it would be, with "I" in English (and always capitalized in English Cool ) not being just the first person singular but being a very Singular First Person.


The I that speaks is the same I that speaks wherever it speaks and whatever it says even as the smallest of songbirds.

Let your imagination lead you.
 
Posts: 34 | Registered: 11 February 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good analysis, Mt. For society in general (not BR in particular) I would add the breakdown of the family in there somewhere. That's related to the culture of the individual and the lack of respect for marriage vows, which you've already alluded to. But it also reflects the increasing pace and stress of modern life.
 
Posts: 927 | Location: Canada | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Phil:
quote:
An egregious mistake was made by theology when it identified Christ as the human person Jesus (who is the historical icon of Christ), for Christ is beyond all distinctions of personhood, even Jesus’ personhood. Christ is the revelation of man, of the alpha and omega of universal human destiny— not the revelation of the single man, Jesus.
- from the opening post



BR's account of the history of theology is back to front. It's not that a disembodied Christology developed that was at some point pinned on a particular individual, Jesus; Christology developed specifically out of the efforts of the early Church to understand Jesus.

The essay on no-self and its non-exclusivity to Buddhism is here:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Phen...-ebook/dp/B00AH0WTXY
 
Posts: 927 | Location: Canada | Registered: 03 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Since Joe brought up BR's research in his exchanges, and even quoted St. Gregory Nazianus (though about his frustration with Church Councils -- whatever that has to do with anything! Roll Eyes ), it might be helpful to see just what St. Gregory (4th C.) had to say about the Incarnation:
quote:
The wonder of the Incarnation

The very Son of God, older than the ages, the invisible, the incomprehensible, the incorporeal, the beginning of beginning, the light of light, the fountain of life and immortality, the image of the archetype, the immovable seal, the perfect likeness, the definition and word of the Father: he it is who comes to his own image and takes our nature for the good of our nature, and unites himself to an intelligent soul for the good of my soul, to purify like by like. He takes to himself all that is human, except for sin. He was conceived by the Virgin Mary, who had been first prepared in soul and body by the Spirit; his coming to birth had to be treated with honour, virginity had to receive new honour. He comes forth as God, in the human nature he has taken, one being, made of two contrary elements, flesh and spirit. Spirit gave divinity, flesh received it.
He who makes rich is made poor; he takes on the poverty of my flesh, that I may gain the riches of his divinity. He who is full is made empty; he is emptied for a brief space of his glory, that I may share in his fullness. What is this wealth of goodness? What is this mystery that surrounds me? I received the likeness of God, but failed to keep it. He takes on my flesh, to bring salvation to the image, immortality to the flesh. He enters into a second union with us, a union far more wonderful than the first.
Holiness had to be brought to man by the humanity assumed by one who was God, so that God might overcome the tyrant by force and so deliver us and lead us back to himself through the mediation of his Son. The Son arranged this for the honour of the Father, to whom the Son is clearly obedient in all things.
The Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for the sheep, came in search of the straying sheep to the mountains and hills on which you used to offer sacrifice. When he found it, he took it on the shoulders that bore the wood of the cross, and led it back to the life of heaven.
Christ, the light of all lights, follows John, the lamp that goes before him. The Word of God follows the voice in the wilderness; the bridegroom follows the bridegroom’s friend, who prepares a worthy people for the Lord by cleansing them by water in preparation for the Spirit.
We needed God to take our flesh and die, that we might live. We have died with him, that we may be purified. We have risen again with him, because we have died with him. We have been glorified with him, because we have risen again with him.
- see http://www.universalis.com/20121204/readings.htm

Note St. Gregory's affirmation of the pre-incarnate Word and Its disposition to become flesh, but how the Incarnation is, precisely, the Word become flesh in the person of Jesus, who is, for Gregory, the Christ. As Derek put it so succinctly:
quote:
It's not that a disembodied Christology developed that was at some point pinned on a particular individual, Jesus; Christology developed specifically out of the efforts of the early Church to understand Jesus.

Yes! Exactly!

quote:
The I that speaks is the same I that speaks wherever it speaks and whatever it says even as the smallest of songbirds.

That would be true of the Word, or Cosmic manifestation of Christ, Tarantella. I do believe we can actually sense this in our own human spirit at times, if graced to do so. There are "layers" of "I," however, some of which are accidental and without substance, but some which are. The human "I" is the subject of our own human spirit, which can become deeply invested in Egoic projection, or can experience its subsistence in the "Am" of God (which is not to say that "I" am God, however).
- see http://shalomplace.com/view/godselfego.html#summary

- - -

marcco, blessings on your head (Big Grin) for struggling with BR's writings, and thank you so much for your sharing.
 
Posts: 3570 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Phil, a beautiful passage from Gregory the Theologian! Isn't it in the Advent breviary somewhere?

Well, a typical non-dualist quotes with delight apophatic passages from Cappadocian Fathers, but is not so enthusiastic about their Christology or sacramental theology... He would say that the first comes from Experience, while the latter comes from a fear of Inquisition (like they usually explain John of the Cross's and Teresa's orthodoxy). But wait, there was no Inquisition in the 4th century A.D.... Maybe it was just what they believed to be true? The non-dualist is not interested anymore. Now it's enough to quote something completely out of context.

I remember a beatiful chapter in Merton's "Inner Experience" (well, Experience again, but, fortunately, in a different context... Smiler), where he argues that Christology of the 4th and 5th centuries was not only about establishing the truth about Jesus Christ, but it was crucial for spiritual practice, since the Fathers were asking how the presence of God in Jesus allows us, human beings, to unite with God and become godlike. The Chalcedon was a triumph not only of speculative theology, but mainly of mysticism and asceticism based on the belief that our human nature is divinized yet distinct from ineffable God.
 
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Hi Mt.

Yes, the passage was from this past Tuesday's Office of Readings. I agree that it's as much about theosis as Christology . . . that the two really do go together. I just re-read it and this time picked up on an early intuition of what came to be the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Check it out.

Btw, this is turning out to be a very timely reflection on basic Advent and Christmas themes! Smiler Thanks to all who have been participating -- so far, 10 of us.
 
Posts: 3570 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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thanx also Phil, for all of the wonderful information you've provided on this thread!

and thank you Derek, glad to be here!
 
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Posts: 380 | Registered: 01 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good one, Mary Sue.

See also: http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p122a3p1.htm especially from 461 onward. 479-483 has a concise summary.

468 is especially powerful:[quote468 After the Council of Chalcedon, some made of Christ's human nature a kind of personal subject. Against them, the fifth ecumenical council, at Constantinople in 553, confessed that "there is but one hypostasis [or person], which is our Lord Jesus Christ, one of the Trinity."93 Thus everything in Christ's human nature is to be attributed to his divine person as its proper subject, not only his miracles but also his sufferings and even his death: "He who was crucified in the flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ, is true God, Lord of glory, and one of the Holy Trinity."94[/quote]
To think that that the Person of the Word is the subjectivity of Jesus Christ, acting through his human nature, is an amazing affirmation to reflection on.
 
Posts: 3570 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Phil:
Good one, Mary Sue.

See also: http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p122a3p1.htm especially from 461 onward. 479-483 has a concise summary. ...




Thank you Phil for the site. And thanks to everyone contributing to this thread. I'm really starting to enjoy looking into the writings of the Church more deeply.

I've been considering what BR is saying about Mother Mary. I believe Pope John Paul 11 in a Marion paper said that since Jesus has lived forever than Mother Mary had to have also existed forever. Can't place where that is written presently but will continue to look.
I can only be on computer 10 mins day presently.
 
Posts: 380 | Registered: 01 April 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi Mary Sue,

That's interesting that you're checking out the Secular Carmelites. You may know that I started a thread discussion on that some years ago. Feel free to share your experiences of how things are going with you. Smiler

About losing your way, I doubt very much that happens to people who remain under the graces provided by Church authority, spiritual direction, and conscience examination.
 
Posts: 1091 | Registered: 05 April 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Talking about Christ, or books about Christ and any other spiritual subject is like looking at a map, and trying to figure out if we have the proper map in hand before setting out to desired destination.

There are countless opinions about interpretations that are usually interpretations of already existing interpretations that a often based on some opinions that were made years ago by human beings inspired or not by their spiritual (or political-power-control over the masses inspired) quest.

I think that everyone realizes that speaking about a destination does not bring oneself closer to it until you actually put to action what you already know. In the case of a "spiritual" destination - removing knowledge (mental thoughts, opinions even belief systems) seems to be the recommended key by most enlightened souls to merging - becoming one with - God - where even God - at least the human interpretation of IT - disappears.

All the rest is opinion tainted by study of one's particular faith. The more "investment" one has made into one's choice of religion, the harder it is to get away from it, because of the need of the ego to validate its own existence - and the need for it to be right and to gather as many people as possible to agree with it.

All that reading is a waste of time. Real knowledge is in silence. Real knowledge is beyond talking about it.
 
Posts: 5 | Location: Canada | Registered: 17 January 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi richardj7. Welcome to the forum.

quote:
There are countless opinions about interpretations that are usually interpretations of already existing interpretations that a often based on some opinions that were made years ago by human beings inspired or not by their spiritual (or political-power-control over the masses inspired) quest.

Yes, that's true. But it doesn't follow that all these opinions are equally true or untrue, relevant or irrelevant. Doctrine is not merely one opinion among others. It's how the church understands a particular issue in its commitment to be faithful to what God has revealed in Christ. There are many implications here for spiritual practice. E.g., am I God or not? Do I participate in the divine nature through loving relationship, or should I be trying to somehow eliminate all sense of individual consciousness to get at the divinity within?

There are also different types of silence. Contemplative silence is different from the type of silence that comes with sleep, or vipassana meditation, or a mantra, or drug use.

quote:

All the rest is opinion tainted by study of one's particular faith. The more "investment" one has made into one's choice of religion, the harder it is to get away from it, because of the need of the ego to validate its own existence - and the need for it to be right and to gather as many people as possible to agree with it.

That's quite cynical. Are you presuming to talk about your own ego here, or are you the spokesman for everyone on the planet? Of course, it all depends, again, what you mean by Ego. We've had quite a bit of discussion about this on the forum, so you might do a search and check out other threads. Also, everyone proceeds by "faith" of some kind. Even to say that one needs no faith in a particular religious way is a statement of faith, is it not?

But this discussion about Bernadette Roberts' recent book, about which she has had much to say regarding God, Christ, spirituality, etc. What do you think about the book, or some of the discussion that's gone on here?
 
Posts: 3570 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Phil:
Hi richardj7. Welcome to the forum.
Thanks.

Yes, that's true. But it doesn't follow that all these opinions are equally true or untrue, relevant or irrelevant. Doctrine is not merely one opinion among others. It's how the church understands a particular issue in its commitment to be faithful to what God has revealed in Christ. There are many implications here for spiritual practice. E.g., am I God or not? Do I participate in the divine nature through loving relationship, or should I be trying to somehow eliminate all sense of individual consciousness to get at the divinity within?

There are also different types of silence. Contemplative silence is different from the type of silence that comes with sleep, or vipassana meditation, or a mantra, or drug use.

Agree. As long as the questioning does not become an endless debate of who is right, who is wrong, who gives the best explanation, and falling in love with the method and lose sight of the goal. I sometimes react to statements such as "...God has revealed in Christ." Or, the Bible is the "Word of God". This generalization becomes like a mantra, and people forget - or have not read the whole Bible - to realize how many inconsistencies exist in various texts. There is a lot of blank filling, and justifications. Then, again, it depends on what version of the Bible you believe in, and how some words were translated to fit the doctrine of the times. Some people were inspired by their version of God, and wrote as best they could so they could share their experience with others. Centuries later, we have all sorts of interpretations on top of interpretations.

quote:

All the rest is opinion tainted by study of one's particular faith. The more "investment" one has made into one's choice of religion, the harder it is to get away from it, because of the need of the ego to validate its own existence - and the need for it to be right and to gather as many people as possible to agree with it.

That's quite cynical. Are you presuming to talk about your own ego here, or are you the spokesman for everyone on the planet? Of course, it all depends, again, what you mean by Ego. We've had quite a bit of discussion about this on the forum, so you might do a search and check out other threads. Also, everyone proceeds by "faith" of some kind. Even to say that one needs no faith in a particular religious way is a statement of faith, is it not?

But this discussion about Bernadette Roberts' recent book, about which she has had much to say regarding God, Christ, spirituality, etc. What do you think about the book, or some of the discussion that's gone on here?[/QUOTE]No, not cynical. Yes my own ego and that of others, certainly not everyone on the planet...Smiler. I'm quoting Ramana Maharshi, to name only one, ego being beyond the I in duality. Yes faith as a broad meaning such as beliefs and values that are the driving motors of behaviors that create the results in our lives.

I've read two of Bernadette Roberts's books, and pending on purchasing her latest. Do I want to know more about Jesus or do I want to dive deep within me and stop the mental questioning?

I've read many accounts of people who claim to have had deep spiritual experiences, including that state where there is no subjective experience - no observer nor anything to observe. When they come out of "it", they attempt to explain what they've experienced or how they got there. Since they are using their brains (words, interpretations) to explain it, their explanation is more or less tainted by their personal experience, beliefs and values, which may or may not be in resonance with other's beliefs and values. I think that it is a human trait to justify what one believes or not, and to filter anything that may go against one's beliefs. In the wakening state, I'm also part of this. Hard to escape when the mind is used.

As people dig deeper to make comparative studies between the origins and doctrines of various religions, they discover similarities as far as stories, anecdotes, and symbols used. If research is right, there was a lot borrowed from Hinduism and Buddhism, and other ancient rituals to constitute what we call Christianity. Nothing wrong with this, of course, unless you claim the stories as originals, and they create a "holier than thou" attitude towards those religions from which they were copied.

My main point, if there is one, is that there is a lot of talking about, and not enough Psalm 46:10...Smiler
 
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