FROM RELIGIOUS CHILD TO GIVING UP ON GOD
I was a deeply religious child – I felt the immense divinity surrounding me. I remember driving along in the backseat of our family car looking at trees in wonder of how they came to be. I used to pray to God at night because I could feel his presence around me and I wanted to honour that by saying his prayer.
And then I got older and started to see more… I saw the hypocrisy of the adults in the church, e.g. men having extramarital affairs and going up for communion: a Priest who told my teacher I didn’t know what Easter meant because I had not been able to answer a question in confession with him at Easter. I saw this for what it was – a breach in confidentiality. I could feel there was no love in the Priests or the parishioners. I was about 10; I gave up on feeling I was a son of God.
It was my choice to give up on God: fortunately, I now know God doesn’t hold a grudge.
I had to attend Catholic mass for another 5 years. My disillusionment only continued and strengthened my resolve to leave the Catholic Church at my earliest opportunity, which was when I was 15. It was time to make my confirmation, a ceremony that represents a child entering the church as an adult, to which I initially said no. But for the sake of my parents’ relationship with their parents, I made a deal to go through with the farce on the condition that I would never enter the church again. And I never have, apart from the odd wedding and a funeral.
A LINE FROM CATHOLIC MASS… CONFIRMING I AM NOT WORTHY
In the last few years I have started to reclaim my true deeply religious nature, my connection with and to God, but realising that something insidious has been stopping me from fully claiming that I am a living Son of God. And a theme keeps appearing when I even consider writing about religion:
Who am I to write about this?
Little ol’ me? I don’t live well enough, I am simply not good enough to claim I am worthy as a Son of God.
So I have been pondering “Why is that?”… when up popped this – a line from a Catholic Mass: “I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed”.
For those not familiar with the Catholic mass service you say this as a congregation before you receive the sacrament – the body of Christ, symbolised by a wafer of bread.
Pretty powerful stuff when I stop to think about it – and that every week since I was a baby, for about 15 years, I had heard this phrase.
What is the real impact of this line? How has it impacted my life?
Well, the impact is somewhat predictable – just as the phrase had asked of me to keep confirming, I haven’t felt I am worthy of much at all, much less a son of God. I haven’t felt I brought a lot to a situation; I used to drink a lot, party hard and ate what I wanted, not what was supportive of my body, and all these unloving acts I kept choosing continued to further confirm I was not worthy of much.
The second part of this statement, “but only say the word and I shall be healed”, is also deeply troubling to me because as I hear it, it seems as if a magic wand is being waved and all will be ok! But the key is, it’s reliant on someone else waving the said wand. Could there be some major disempowerment going on here? That the power is outside of us, that our relationship with God is outside of us, even though it is clearly stated by Jesus that ‘the Kingdom of God is inside you’.
This of course feeds into God being transcendental and Jesus saving us. Another theme in Catholicism – you can live as you want, confess, pay up and you get your ‘pass into heaven’ card all the same.
When I feel the line “I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and I shall be healed” in my body, my entire being shrinks, contracts and becomes less. It is the OPPOSITE of my experience with what True Religion is and is meant to be.
DONATIONS IN EXCHANGE FOR A PLACE IN HEAVEN?
At my final confirmation ceremony and my final confession in the Catholic church (Note: confession is where you go and see the Catholic priest in a private chamber and confess your sins and he talks to you about it and then gives you penance… normally a certain amount of prayers to be said), I went up to the priest, and when asked what my confession was I stated:
“If God is inside us like you tell us He is, why do I have to tell you what I have done wrong? God knows I am remorseful; what is your part, why the third party?”
To which he offered that it’s good to offload to someone else. In the not too distant past, priests were in a position of great power knowing everyone’s secrets and taking donations to help with the parishioners’ pass into heaven. There is a contradiction here: if we are all sons of God as the Church proclaims we are, how come only a few (and only within the Church) are able to ensure others a place in Heaven? And that for a donation!
ACCEPTANCE AS AN EQUAL, WORTHY, LIVING SON OF GOD
In a session yesterday with an Esoteric Healing Practitioner I felt my expansiveness to be that of the whole universe, at a cellular level feeling love, the love of God and its infiniteness.
I now feel I am worthy. We are ALL worthy.
The choices I have been making over the last ten years have been to honour my body on a physical level – not eating or drinking foods that stimulate or stagnate the body. On an emotional level I have learned to observe my reactions and deal with them. All this is an unfoldment, an unending commitment with no end point, no fireworks, just me being me allowing the love that is God and that is me to flow through me.
No perfection required, just my turning up willing to be honest and allow and accept that I am a living Son of God.
My soul recently said to me “NEVER DOUBT YOU ARE A TRUE LIVING SON OF GOD” In writing this, I feel I have realised what has created the doubt was my subscribing to this teaching of the Catholic Church that we are not worthy! Is it possible that this is all a set up to keep us small, to doubt ourselves… but ultimately to doubt our connection to God?
And if so, how insidious is that?
This is not a finger wagging exercise but it is an offering to allow us to take responsibility for our part in allowing ourselves to give up, to accept less than the glory that we truly divinely are.
What if that line from the Catholic Mass is rewritten to say:
“I am worthy to receive me and to receive you in equalness: through my choices and self-love I shall be healed to then know the true love that I am – an equal son of God – at one with all, divinely so.”
I would like to appreciate and acknowledge that the teachings of Serge Benhayon as the founder of a true religion, The Way of the Livingness, has allowed me through the many different presentations of livingness to realise that my true pure divinity has always been living inside me, and the knowing that I am worthy, and a son of God. I am Eternally grateful.
By Vanessa Hawthorne, M.A. London