“You are called to be a saint. You are called to be another Christ to the world.”
Raised in a Catholic Christian home, I heard this all the time. As I was going through the seminary as a young man studying for the Catholic priesthood, I heard it preached at me again and again. I heard it again this morning during a presentation at a men’s group at Holy Family Parish.
As Catholic Christians we were never taught how to be a saint, only that we would know that we had achieved sainthood when we were in heaven with God. Or we would know that sainthood was possible, when we gave up everything and followed Jesus Christ. Like the common reborn Christian expression is: ‘What would Jesus do?”
That didn’t make any sense to me until I learned that Jesus was born of a woman and lived in Nazareth and like all other humans had to have his diapers changed and had to learn about God from his parents and teachers.
So, I began to learn what it meant for me to be a human. If Jesus was truly human, as the Christian dogma states, then he was quite a human being. He was capable of doing incredible things, if the biblical writings were not exaggerations.
In my continuing studies as a Catholic theologian, I learned that there was evidence that Jesus travelled all over the spiritual and intelligent world between the ages of 12 and 30, learning the wisdom of many cultures before he returned to Galilee and presented himself as the Jewish Messiah. According to some scholars, he even studied in India with yogic masters. He learned how to make contact with God within himself, just like the yogi masters believe today.
Jesus experienced himself one with God during many instances in the New Testament scriptures, just like the yogis of the Himalayas experienced union with “atman,” the divine, infinite, perfect consciousness within all humans. Yogis, I began to realize, experienced the same union with God that I as a Catholic was told I would experience when I was in heaven with God.
The wonderful thing about such a teaching is that now I realized that every human being can experience union with God, can know one’s spiritual essence, one’s true self, when one practices what yogis practice—meditation. I realized that the Christian saints, like Teresa of Calcutta, John of the Cross, Theresa of Avila, Francis of Assisi, and all the other Christian saints experienced their spiritual essence and did not attribute that realization to their own ego. They and the yogis/yoginis knew that that spiritual awareness, that spiritual consciousness, came from the Divine Source of Life—God. Or, as I call God, that Source of Life is the Divine Mother.
Now I know that my mission in life is to become one with God and that my way to that experience of fulfilling my mission is the path of Yoga, which is the same path as my Lord Jesus learned when he was on earth.
Alleluia for yoga!