Monday, November 30, 2015

The new 'normal'

We exist in relationship with God whether we know it or not. In our relationship with God, we are either embracing Him or denying Him.

Sometimes we hear people opine, "I don't over do my spirituality". They are careful not to be seen as religious extremists or fanatics. They are concerned a spiritual stand might offend a few.

The question arises "what is normal? Active involvement is spiritual matters or moderate or little involvement? Are those who seem to be talking only about God, heaven, hell, eternal life and spirituality religious extremists?

Some think that God exits to distribute goodies to those who please him and punish those who displease him. Some conclude if God has given them intelligence, knowledge, talents and other capacities to achieve their life’s ambitions they should not disturb God. It is enough that they pray that God blesses their fabulous plans and not thwart their dearly plans.

God is not human nor does he think or act like one of us.  Human intelligence or logic cannot fathom the essence of God. It will be like a toy robot trying to understand the man who created it by the artificial intelligence it is given. But as far as humanity is concerned what sets us apart is that we are created in the very nature of God himself. So we are not orphans on earth but children fostered by a Father whom we call our God. God must be understood from the mouth of Jesus – the son of God who is the mind of God, the word of God and the face of God.

What is normal then? Active involvement is spiritual affairs or moderate involvement? Let us analyze:

Imagine you have an employ who has taken only 10 days leave in the last 10 years (in additional to eligible leaves). You will speak highly of him and he will be called faithful, sincere, hardworking despite of his being absent for 10 days. Because for you 10 days out of 3650 days seem insignificant. You will be happy to honor him with a ‘the employ of the decade’ award.

But if I ask a woman, if her husband can sleep with the women next door just one day out of the 3650 days (10 years) what would be her answer? As we know this husband has been faithful to his wife 3649 days out of 3650 days so he should be given ‘husband of the decade’ according to our previous example.

What is the difference? Why one is ok and other is not?

As far as a husband is concerned ‘normal’ is the one who loves his wife and is faithful to her all the days of his life. Even the meager one day of disobedience makes him unfaithful. Partial obedience is disobedience. We cannot remain in the neutral zone in our relationship with God because there is none. You are either faithful to him or not faithful to him. It is because as St. Paul says we become one body with our spouse in marriage. Their souls are knit together inseparably.

As we know the relationship between husband and wife in marriage is only an earthly sign of our eternal relationship/communion with God. Like St Paul says in another place “Jesus is the head and we are his body” – inseparably united. Nothing physically separates man from God but he can choose to live in denial of the obvious truth. It would be like my hand saying it does not belong to me while it still remains in my body. Jesus said “apart from me you can do nothing”.

The more you love your wife the better husband you become. Similarly the more you love God the more human you become. Scripture says “Love Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength”. When we permit God to lavish his love upon us, we get better at loving God. His love perfects us. His love in us overflows to others and that is the human goodness we see in the world. There is no goodness apart from God.

So in our relationship with God, the ‘normal’ is one that which is passionate, intimate, inseparably united and unending. Religious extremism on the other is an evidence of inner emptiness and a desperate attempt to justify self governed actions in the name of God.