Summer Quarterly opening letter

The time of the summer solstice has arrived again to us and as stated in the ritual “In the path of Christian mysteries, the summer solstice symbolizes a time when the aspirant endeavors to follow the cosmic Christ in his annual ascension into the high spiritual realm whither he goes to prepare a place, to the end that where He is there we may be also.”

Being mindful of this in our lives for the next six months when we arrive at the time of the winter solstice, brings us to a greater attunement for the events of the earth that will take place.  There is much talk and speculation that this next six month will bring major planetary and human changes to us and an “event” will take place at the time of the winter solstice.  We are not privy to the future but as the Master said,

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon and the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s heart’s failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming in the earth; for the powers of the heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.   And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (St. Luke 21, 25-28). 

As in all spiritual practice we must always test our guidance and direction in the Light of Christ, as there will be much attention paid to what may or may not occur.

May we all have a wonderful and joyous summer basking in the Light of the Sun/ Son, awake and aware of his presence with and within us.

Yours in Christ,

     Rev. Donald

Summer Quarterly – Mystic (Father Paul)

MYSTIC (from a class by Father Paul)

Prepare, for the Bridegroom cometh.”  This is the time in which a minister must have the answers.  These are things he must explain, these are the things he must know and be able to understand and to explain to his people.  It is time that this should be manifest by teaching the people what they need to know in order to know Christ.

A part of the unseen will become seen in this age, being able to see those that come to teach and help us.  This will happen as the bodies of those that remain here adjust and expand.  We will then be able to control our own bodies; we will control the things around us.  This is the time for the return of the Christ.

If we truly understood it, we would look with great concern upon ourselves when we receive the gifts that we do from the earth, of which our Lord is Master.  This is one of the great mysteries, or at least what are called mysteries; because as I have said many times, a mystery is only a mystery to us because it is right in front of our eyes and we have seen it and known it since birth, practically.  It is a mystery because it is so simple that all peoples have seen it but have not recognized it as a reality. And this, of course, is true most of our lives, in all things that have to do with religious or spiritual matters.

Those who understand the work of the mystic orders—not the occult, but the mystic orders—do not denounce the work of the Master Jesus nor belittle the work and the power of the Christos.  And this is true of every mystic that has lived for the last two thousand years and over.  For they have constantly been trying to re-establish the ancient work which has been torn down by what we call the present-day Christian church, those which deny the existence of the greater Order of which the mystic is a part.  For he is a member of the Brotherhood, and by that I mean the White Brotherhood; not some physical organization, but a greater one.

A true mystic, a person of true divinity, is a man who is true within himself.  He will look at both sides of any question, unprejudiced.  Until he does that, he has not reached the point of being a true God-man.  Because if you have prejudice, then you do not have wisdom. Under no circumstance can wisdom have prejudice; it can’t exist.  And logic is not wisdom.

 

Summer Quarterly – St. Francis 1205

St. Francis 1205

 As the indolent summer of 1205 turned into autumn, Francis continued to work with his father in a kind of quiet, resigned desperation, unable to envision either a bright future or a chance at either knighthood or nobility.

Late one afternoon, he was returning from an errand to one of the properties his father owned outside the city walls, south of town.  Having grown weary after hours of walking in the bright sunlight, he wandered into the cool refuge of San Damiano, which stood a mile from the city walls, at the foot of the hill on which Assisi was built.  San Damiano was a small church, and over its doorway Francis could make out the faded words often inscribed in country chapels: Domus Mea (My House).  Once inside, Francis sat alone, his eyes gradually adjusting to the dark.

The place seemed on the verge of collapse from old age and neglect.  The walls were cracked, the low vault was crumbling, the beams were rotting.  Wild grass sprouted along a narrow window, and the crescent-shaped apse, once bright blue with painted stars, was faded and peeling.  No one had worshiped at San Damiano for years.

Over the abandoned altar, a crucifix had somehow survived the decay.  Painted on linen stretched taut over a walnut frame, it was a striking image in the tradition of Syrian-influenced 12th century iconography, the eyes of Christ gazing serenely and directly toward the viewer.

In the stillness of the small church, Francis felt, as an early source described, “different from when he had entered.”

And then, “the image of Christ crucified spoke to him in a tender and kind voice: ‘Francis, don’t you see that my house is being destroyed?  Go, then, and rebuild it for me.’

History offers many accounts of people catching glimpses of the world beyond, of being addressed by some unknown presence.  Moses before the burning bush; Isaiah awed by his vision of the majesty of God’s court; Jesus aware of a profound sense of mission at the time of his baptism; the Buddha beholding the universe in a bouquet of flowers and Julian of Norwich seeing it in a hazelnut; Saints Paul and John astonished by unexpected visions; Saint Augustine hearing a child’s voice whisper, “Take up and read”—these moments changed the world and revealed the intersection of the timeless with time, of this world with another…

“He felt this mysterious change in himself,” Thomas of Celano concluded, “but he could not describe it.  So it is better for us to remain silent about it, too.”..Francis could only interpret the message literally:  he was sitting in a collapsing church, and he had been told to rebuild it.  Immediately, he left San Damiano and set about finding ways to attend to its disrepair.  Now at last, he had found a focus and a remedy for his present bewilderment…

Henceforth his life would no longer be centered on himself, his needs, his past, his pleasure, his pain, his glory, his fulfillment.  From this time forward, he had one goal in mind: to remain accessible to the voice that had just addressed him—to enable the conversation to continue.  Francis had been touched by the concrete image of the poor and humble Jesus, rejected and outcast, dying alone, convicted of perfidy and convinced that he had let God down.  Francis wanted to be warmed and embraced forever by that touch.

from The Reluctant Saint by Donald Spoto

Summer Quarterly – Where Heaven & Earth Come Closer

TRAVEL, like life, is best understood backward but must be experienced forward, to paraphrase Kierkegaard. After decades of wandering, only now does a pattern emerge. I’m drawn to places that beguile and inspire, sedate and stir, places where, for a few blissful moments I loosen my death grip on life, and can breathe again. It turns out these destinations have a name: thin places.

…. They are locales where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we’re able to catch glimpses of the divine, or the transcendent or, as I like to think of it, the Infinite…

Travelers to thin places are jolted out of old ways of seeing the world, and therein lies the transformative magic of travel.

It’s not clear who first uttered the term “thin places,” but they almost certainly spoke with an Irish brogue. The ancient pagan Celts, and later, Christians, used the term to describe mesmerizing places like the wind-swept isle of Iona (now part of Scotland) or the rocky peaks of Croagh Patrick. Heaven and earth, the Celtic saying goes, are only three feet apart, but in thin places that distance is even shorter.

… Thin places relax us, yes, but they also transform us — or, more accurately, unmask us. In thin places, we become our more essential selves.

Thin places are often sacred ones —St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul — but they need not be, at least not conventionally so. A park or even a city square can be a thin place. …Mircea Eliade, the religious scholar, wrote in his classic work “The Sacred and the Profane,” that “some parts of space are qualitatively different from others.” An Apache proverb takes that idea a step further: “Wisdom sits in places.”

The question, of course, is which places? And how do we get there? You don’t plan a trip to a thin place; you stumble upon one. But there are steps you can take to increase the odds of an encounter with thinness. For starters, have no expectations. Nothing gets in the way of a genuine experience more than expectations, which explains why so many “spiritual journeys” disappoint. And don’t count on guidebooks — or even friends — to pinpoint your thin places. To some extent, thinness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Or, to put it another way: One person’s thin place is another’s thick one.

Getting to a thin place usually requires a bit of sweat. One does not typically hop a taxi to a thin place, but sometimes you can. That’s how my 7-year-old daughter and I got to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Video camera in hand, she paused at each statue of the various saints, marveling, in a hushed voice, at their poses and headgear.

She was with me, too at the Bangla Sahib gurdwara, a Sikh temple in New Delhi. The temple owes its thinness, in part, to the contrasting thickness amassed outside its gates: the press of humanity, the freestyle traffic, the unrelenting noise and, in general, the controlled anarchy that is urban India.. We stepped inside the gates of the gurdwara and into another world. The mesmerizing sound of a harmonium wafted across a reflecting pool. The white marble felt cool on my bare feet. The temple compound was not devoid of people, but this was a different sort of crowd. Everyone walked to the edge of the water, drawn by something unspoken, lost in their solitary worlds, together.

At the gurdwara, time burst its banks. I was awash in time. That’s a common reaction to a thin place. It’s not that we lose all sense of time but, rather, that our relationship with time is altered, softened. In thin places, time is not something we feel compelled to parse or hoard. There’s plenty of it to go around. ..

…People from around the Muslim (and non-Muslim) world visit Rumi’s tomb, in the central Turkish city of Konya, to pay homage to Islam’s poet laureate. Rumi’s coffin is draped in a green carpet, with a cylindrical black hat, the kind worn by dervishes, sitting atop. His 13th-century poems brim with an ecstatic love of Allah, and his resting place reflects that. People are encouraged to linger. Some curl up in a corner, reading Rumi. Others lose themselves in silent prayer. I noticed one woman, hand over heart, walking slowly on the carpeted floor, tears of joy streaming down her cheeks.

Perhaps the thinnest of places is Boudhanath, in Nepal Despite the fact that it has been swallowed up by Katmandu, Boudha, as many call it, retains the self-contained coziness of the village that it is. Life there revolves, literally, around a giant white stupa, or Buddhist shrine. At any time of the day, hundreds of people circumambulate the stupa, chanting mantras, kneading their mala beads and twirling prayer wheels. I woke in Boudha each morning at dawn and marveled at the light, milky and soft, as well as the sounds: the clicketyclack of prayer wheels, the murmur of mantras, the clanking of store shutters yanked open, the chortle of spoken Tibetan. A few dozen monasteries have sprung up around the stupa. And then there are restaurants where you can sip a decent pinot noir while gazing into the All-Seeing Eyes of Buddha. It is a rare and wonderful confluence of the sacred and the profane.

Many thin places are wild, untamed, but cities can also be surprisingly thin. The world’s first urban centers, in Mesopotamia, were erected not as places of commerce or empire but, rather, so inhabitants could consort with the gods. What better place to marvel at the glory of God and his handiwork (via his subcontractors: us) than on the Bund in Shanghai, with the Jetsons-like skyscrapers towering above, or at Montmartre in Paris, with the city’s Gothic glory revealed below…

Yet, ultimately, an inherent contradiction trips up any spiritual walkabout: The divine supposedly transcends time and space, yet we seek it in very specific places and at very specific times. If God (however defined) is everywhere and “everywhen,” as the Australian aboriginals put it so wonderfully, then why are some places thin and others not? Why isn’t the whole world thin?

Maybe it is but we’re too thick to recognize it. Maybe thin places offer glimpses not of heaven but of earth as it really is, unencumbered. Unmasked.      ~Excerpts of an article by Eric Weiner

Summer Quarterly – From the journal of Admiral Byrd

Creation comes into being from Saut (Sound) and from Saut spreads all Light   -Shamas Tabres

In 1934, Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd immured himself near the Bolling advance weather base somewhere between Little America and the South Pole.  There alone in a small chamber dug into solid ice he spent four and a half months in solitary confinement making scientific observations for the benefit of mankind.  But in his book he admits that he had long desired to find some remote corner of the earth where he could mature his philosophy.  This was his coveted opportunity.  In his diary for May 11, he wrote:

“12:15 a.m.  It is late, but I just had an experience which I wish to record.  At midnight I went topside to have a last look at the aurora, but found only a spotty glow on the horizon extending from north to northeast.  I had been playing the victrola while I waited for the midnight hour.  I was using my homemade repeater and was playing one of the records of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.  The night was calm and clear.  I left the door to my shack open and also my trap door.  I stood there in the darkness to look around and at some of my favorite constellations, which were as bright as I had ever seen before.

Presently I began to have the illusion that what I was seeing was also what I was hearing, so perfectly did the music seem to blend with what was happening in the sky.  As the notes swelled, the dull aurora on the horizon pulsed and quickened and draped itself into arches and fanning beams which reached across the sky until at my zenith the display attained its crescendo.  The music and the night became one; and I told myself that all beauty was akin and sprang from the same substance.  I recalled a gallant, unselfish act that was of the same essence as the music and the aurora.”

 

Summer Quarterly – Walt Whitman

One Thought Ever at the Fore

 

One thought is ever at the fore—

That is the Divine Ship, the World,

Breasting time and space.

All peoples of the globe together sail,

Sail the same voyage,

Are bound to the same destination.

                             From Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Summer Quarterly – HOOM letter from Father Paul

During the course of our studies in which we cover the Philosophy, the Tree of Life, and the Tools of Man, as well as the study of the New Testament, we learn many things of the Creation of our Father which are very beautiful and very useful in our life.

The thing which I find missing in our studies is something which the Testament story of our Lord Jesus does not adequately describe.  It gives us the outer man Jesus.  It gives us the teaching which he tells us to abide by.  But unless we look quite closely and quite deeply within ourselves, we miss the great beauty and great reality of our Lord and the Cosmic reality of his mission.

In theology this would be termed his bringing the atonement to man, to earth.  But this atonement is not just the forgiveness, for in this forgiveness there lies the rebirth, and this is like the child being born into the physical world and opening his eyes for the first time.  Likewise those who acclaim our Christ and come into his Light, his atonement, for you might say that the atonement is a term which encompasses the entirety of what Jesus accomplished for man and earth.

It is only when we receive his Light and truly cherish it, watch over it, as we would a brand new automobile given to us, can we really appreciate the new life.  This is the life which is clean and the old life has passed away.

It is only when we feel this, when we realize the greatness of the gift, that we can truly kneel before the altar and open our arms, truly knowing as we do so that we are giving this body, this physical body, to our Lord Jesus to be put in place in the great body of Christ of this earth.

Knowing that He will find some small use for it, and that through this we will find great joy and our fears will pass away.  Sept. 1971

Summer Quarterly – Anecdotes and Axioms of the Ancients

“I am a string in the concert of God’s joy.”

 

“I contemplated man’s little spark, what it should be valued before God alongside of this great work of heaven and earth.”

 

“A Christian is of no sect.  He can dwell in the midst of sects and appear in their services without being attached or bound to any.  He hath but one knowledge, and that is Christ in Him.  He seeketh but one way, which is the desire always to do and teach that which is true….He wisheth continually that the will of God might be done through him and that the Kingdom might be manifested in him.”

Jacob Boehm   The Aurora

  The body, says Plato, is the sepulchre of the soul.  All creatures in whom the higher nature is in servitude to the bodily impulses are properly termed dead, inasmuch as Truth is dead within them, having no way of manifesting itself.

Plato   The Republic

 I have made bright the Truth which Ra loves.  I know that He lives by it…It is also my bread.  I too eat of its brightness.  I am a likeness from His limbs, (and I am) one with Him

Akhnaton  circa 1355 BCE

  “Doing good to others is not a duty, it is a joy, for it increases our own health and happiness.”

 

“I learned to walk; since then have I let myself run.  I learned to fly; since then I do not need pushing in order to move from a spot…Now am I light, now do I fly; now do I see myself under myself.  Now there danceth a God in me.”

Zoroaster  circa 1100 BCE

Summer Quarterly – The Twelve Rules of Living for the Brothers and Finding the Self

1.   Keep the Creator, then Christ, then Christ Jesus, Lord of Earth, in your consciousness at all times – then the Holy Spirit will be with you always.

2.   Obey the still, small voice within (God-Self) and the Law of God.

3.   Study your desires – do not incur spiritual indebtedness by wanting things not essential.

4.   Think and speak only that which is true, kind, helpful and necessary.

5.   Thou shalt be Self-controlled, be charitable, be compassionate, and consistent in all things.

6.   Be affectionately detached – not attached.

7.   Find points of agreement, not difference, with others.

8.   Love all people, and respect their personal possessions, which are God’s.

9.   Practice: Prayer for God’s sake; Work for Work’s sake; The arts for art’s sake; Listening for your soul’s sake.

10.   Tithe for the love of freedom.

11.   Do only that which brings Light into the World.

12.   Let the word of your mouth speak of your coming Life.