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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Second Birth

The union of the soul with God is its second birth.

Spinoza, 1632-1677 CE, father of modern philosophy

At my meditation workshop Saturday, I gave the choice of several quotes and scriptures to learn and practice Lectio Divina, Divine Reading.

The focus of Lectio Divina is not a theological analysis of biblical passages but viewing them with Christ as the key to their meaning. For example, given Jesus' statement in John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you", an analytical approach would focus on the reason for the statement during the Last Supper, the biblical context, etc. In Lectio Divina, however, the practitioner "enters" and shares the peace of Christ rather than "dissecting" it. In some Christian teachings, this form of meditative prayer is understood as leading to an increased knowledge of Christ.

I selected the above quote from Spinoza for me to contemplate that day. I want to share with you some of the thoughts that came to me while contemplating it.

In those moments of conscious union with God, I am made new, lifted, restored, yet I am me. I see a rose. It is a rose, but it is made new. It speaks to me of its beauty, and I know it in a new way.. I see a rock, it speaks to me of its strength and endurance, and the rock, being still a rock, makes itself known to me in a new way. My second birth changes me, yet I am who I have always been. I remember more of who I have always been, of who you have always been. The second birth opens new sight, new hearing, new understanding, new questions and on and on. It is a shift, a paradigm shift or two, and an epiphany and things beyond words. I cannot pour its full meaning into words. I can only hint and point. And by the way, it happens many times, each with its new gift of meaning and deepening and union.

Trust me, there is more than we have so far even imagined. May God stir that second birth in you.

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