Monday, July 02, 2007
THE GOD WITHIN - WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE ?
An article at Catholic Exchange today, linked by Spirit Daily, talks about the God within:
We often hear of the Trinity as a mystery we believe in but cannot understand. Although there is some truth to this, when we contemplate the Trinity, we as "children of the light" (Eph 5:8) do not speak of something light years beyond us, as something unfamiliar to us. We speak of Persons within us, of a Light united most intensely to us. Theological tradition has named this phenomenon the Indwelling T
rinity. Contemplating this mystery would profit us much.
God is present everywhere. He is present to all things by his creative power and action. But in those enlightened by grace, God is present in a more profound way — by a personal union, a living relationship, and a redeeming covenant of love above and beyond his creative power and action. We believe in this mystery of the Indwelling Trinity because on the night before He died, Jesus said to his apostles, "If any man loves me, my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him" (Jn 14:23). Jesus also speaks of the Indwelling of the Spirit: "And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth... you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you" (Jn 14:16-17). How did we receive such a surpassing gift?
If that sounds New Agey to you, you're not alone.
Here is what the document "Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Waters of Life" in part has to say about the God within:
3.5. The “god within“ and “theosis”
Here is a key point of contrast between New Age and Christianity. So much New Age literature is shot through with the conviction that there is no divine being “out there”, or in any real way distinct from the rest of reality. From Jung's time onwards there has been a stream of people professing belief in “the god within”. Our problem, in a New Age perspective, is our inability to recognise our own divinity, an inability which can be overcome with the help of guidance and the use of a whole variety of techniques for unlocking our hidden (divine) potential. The fundamental idea is that 'God' is deep within ourselves. We are gods, and we discover the unlimited power within us by peeling off layers of inauthenticity.(63) The more this potential is recognised, the more it is realised, and in this sense the New Age has its own idea of theosis, becoming divine or, more precisely, recognising and accepting that we are divine. We are said by some to be living in “an age in which our understanding of God has to be interiorised: from the Almighty God out there to God the dynamic, creative power within the very centre of all being: God as Spirit”.(64)
They are both talking about the same thing. One source--Br. Hyacinth Marie Cordell, O.P. and Br. James Brent, O.P.at Catholic Exchange--promote it and the other source, the document condemning the New Age at the Vatican website, condemns it.
Is it any wonder that Catholics are falling hook, line, and sinker for New Age doctrine?
Whether we are talking about the New Age god "indistinct from every aspect of reality" or the concept promoted by these Dominicans that "God is present everywhere", to a mind not schooled in the nuances of theology, they are one and the same thing.
Whether we talk about the Dominican God who is "in those enlightened by grace," and "present in a more profound way" or the New Age approach that teaches followers to "discover the unlimited power within us by peeling off layers of inauthenticity" we are again talking about the need for something extra that will make God within possible.
Clearer lines of differentiation must be drawn between New Age concepts and those offered by the Dominicans if Catholics are to be drawn out of New Age beliefs. On the other hand, it might be that those New Age concepts are much closer to Catholic concepts than anyone wants to admit.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!