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The Law of Grace Saves Us!




“God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, 

even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ-

by grace you have been saved-

raised up with him...”

--Paul of Tarsus’ Letter to the Ephesians 2:4-6


This passage from Paul of Tarsus is not emphasized much during these past few years in the Catholic Christian Church, especially during the season approaching the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. The emphasis has been on the cross and suffering of Jesus and not on the love of God who chose Jesus as a model of how we are to live as a human. We are to openly face our call to be a total human, flaws and all.


Interestingly, when looking more deeply at Paul’s letters, Richard Rohr, the author of the book, The Universal Christ, believes that “Paul [would agree] that humans are punished by their sins, more than for their sins. (p 196)” As a matter of fact, Paul never really mentions our Christian understanding of hell, says Rohr.


Paul talks more about the personal struggle he has in living the life he wishes to live, in tune with the “Law of God.” Instead, he says, he does what he doesn’t want to do and often does what his body wants. He calls this the “Law of Flesh,” but he really means, as yoga would interpret it, those physical desires come from unconscious sense impressions buried deep within his mind. They override his decision to follow the higher laws of the soul, which he calls the “Law of God.” In yoga terms, this is our conscience, the “Buddhi.”

 

All of us on the spiritual path experience this struggle. It is a struggle for the Jewish person; it is the Muslim struggle called jihad; it is the yogi(ni)’s struggle called the karmic wheel (chitta vritti chakra).  It is the human struggle for any person who attempts to live the good life…just ask any teenager or young adult person. The struggle between one’s conscience and one’s external, physical desires is often overwhelming.


But we don’t have to worry about that struggle, because the Divine healer inside of us, as Thomas Keating, a Discalced Carmelite monk, says, starts to heal that struggle the more we sit in silence and meditate/contemplate the presence of that divinity within us.  


All the saints and sages of Yoga tell us this, too. We are loved beyond our wildest dreams. And now, Paul of Tarsus tells us that because of that Inner Presence of Christ, who was one with us in Jesus of Nazareth, we are “saved by grace” not condemned because of our sins.


We need to remember this and sit in meditation as often as we can, especially at those times when we don’t feel happy about what we may have done. This healing that occurs is not fictitious; many saints and sages from many spiritual traditions can attest to it. This is the divine “Law of Grace.”


I bow to the divinity within you!

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