Compassion Notes

Oneing in Christ

Just about my favorite Christian mystic is Lady Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) who wrote a book entitled Revelations of Divine Love. Literary history now regards her as the first great female writer in the English language.

Lady Julian used the Old English term “oneing” to describe what happens between God and the soul:

 “By myself I am nothing at all, but in general, I am in the oneing of love. For it is in this oneing that the life of all people exists” (Showings, 9).

And, “The love of God creates in us such a oneing that when it is truly seen, no person can separate themselves from another person” (65), and “In the sight of God all humans are oned, and one person is all people and all people are one person” (51).

Jesus has a vision of “oneing” with us:

“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” – John 17:20-21

Our faith teaches that we are all made in the image and likeness of God. But do we see with eyes of faith?

The evidence is irrefutable. Separation is how we live our lives.

We separate ourselves according to race, religious beliefs, political leanings, educational and social connections, professional classifications, and we justify these by way of our family history, or our occupational aspirations, or our need to look successful, or our need to be in control. And we end up bringing all this “separate thinking” into the church.

I wonder what Jesus thinks about our separate thinking?

St. John of the Cross, another Christian mystic, seeing that God is love, saw that apart from love, we are unable to know God.

Good theology won’t end in knowing God, philosophy won’t do it, not service, not even sacrifice will enable us to know God. And why not these? Because these can easily become an ego trip that keep us in control.

Think of Mary the Mother of Jesus. She allows God to love through her, “let it be done unto me.” God’s love is always an allowing on our part, never an achievement.

I believe it is both the gift of God and is the will of God that we are One – One with God, and One with one another.

It is Oneing love for God and our neighbors that moves us to feed, not just a hungry person, but a brother or sister who is hungry.

It is Oneing love for God and our neighbors that inspires us to serve, not just a homeless person, but a brother or sister who is homeless.

It is Oneing love for God and our neighbors that gives us new eyes to see the image and likeness of God in the “other” who is not like me.

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