From the "Heavenly Bodies" Show
at the Metropolitan Museum/ The Cloisters, New York
It would be helpful to know the difference between my own wish and God’s wish, wouldn’t it?
And I do know it, so I shall write it down here to remind myself.
My own wish isn’t God’s wish.
God’s wish is a living force that can manifest within me through Grace; but it isn’t there without God’s Grace. That living force consists of a certain level of organic vibration that expresses itself in Sacred Feeling.
Whenever it isn’t there, what is there is my own wish; and although my own wish can indeed be inspiring, “sincere” (within the limits of my own abilities, which are very weak) heartfelt and earnest, it isn’t real in the way that God’s wish is real.
God’s wish, in other words, is far more truthful and true and powerful than my own wish.
God’s wish is Love: Love for all things and all Being. I have pointed out many times before how absolutely unconditional this wish is; it is organic and actually connected to the action of life itself (where this series of essays began) because atoms, molecules, organs and organisms which are alive are an active expression of God’s Love and God’s wish for Love.
This Love can enter me—or anyone else, it’s true— and be expressed by the capacity of life, which receives and expresses Love at a higher level than inanimate matter. So there is a moment within me where God’s wish—Love—is made manifest in me and through me.
The moment when this comes it's clear that it is higher and better and deeper and more solid than any Love I can have by myself. It's superior; and hence we call God The Father; for His Love is the Father—the parent—of all Love, including any love I may have on my own.
I feel this Love within me, organically; it arises in every molecule and it engenders the Peace of God which passes all understanding. It IS Truth; it IS Love, and there is no denying of it or rationalizing it, because now this Love has been made flesh; it has become substantial in its presence and is in no way the product of my mind, which rationalizes Love in all its forms instead of living it.
Such is what God’s wish is made of; we become, as the Nicene Creed says, of one substance with the Father:
“We believe… in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father…
The Creed embodies an esoteric secret, in other words, relative to the nature of the manifestation of God’s wish. When we receive God’s Love and it is expressed through us, we become, like Christ, of one substance with the Father—because (as Meister Eckhart advises us to practice) all of us cedes authority until nothing of us is left—at which point God rushes in.
Well, all of that sounds a bit abstract, but what I am trying to get at here is our personal, exact, and intimate experience of receiving God’s true Love: not for ourselves, but on behalf of God Himself alone, and for His benefit—not ours.
When we truly receive God’s Love on His behalf, then all the lofty ideals we have about Love (which are our own, and paltry compared to God’s Love, no matter high their sights are set) can be realized—not as our own, but as His.
I need to study the action of God’s true Love within me quite carefully when it arises, because it alone might be my salvation—just as it is my salvation on the occasions when it manifests.
Until I can sense this and clearly know the difference between God’s Love and my own love, I don’t actually understand anything about Love. I need to understand God’s Love organically—otherwise it is nothing but my own love, which I mistake for God’s through my ignorance. Ah! This is such an easy mistake to make. It's done effortlessly. The things that are done through my ignorance are always done with ease.
I know now that one of the greatest gifts God can give a human being is to understand the difference between His Love and my human love; and this takes place only through Grace, because a man or a woman can in no way reach this understanding through their own intellect, or their own action, or their own passion.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.