In the closing moments of the movie, Oh My God, we hear the statement uttered by the man of Religion: People do not love God, they fear him!
More than ever before, Religions seems to exploit the fear they themselves planted in the lives of devotees even in our own highly developed and technological society. Founders of Religions may have intended well and sought to guide their disciples to a liberating life of peace, love and prosperity. But through the passage of years Religions have been hijacked by pseudo-prophets exploiting the name of God through devotions which are mainly expiatory and inspired more by fear than love.
In the name of God, wars and violence are destroying the peace, love and prosperity among people of diverse Religions, not only giving the Almighty a bad name, but often promoting an atheistic, terroristic society. Terrorism we are told does not have a religion. But religious terrorism is the fruit of Religions infected by fanatical fear.
"Do not fear" was the oft repeated assurance of Jesus, Son of God who came to gift us the peace and love of God. A peace which the world cannot give, a love that the world has never known. Jesus did not preach a particularistic religion for a particular tribe or caste, but taught us to pray to a Universal God, a Father of all nations all over the world. All Religions are man-made. Spirituality comes from God himself. Jesus did not found a religion, but, as Son of God preached a spirituality of a universal kingdom, not of this world, and insisted that God is to be worshipped, not on the hill tops or temples, but within the hearts of people who turn to Him, drawn by love and not fear. This infact, is the challenge confronting our society, today. To draw away from an unholy fear of God and turn to a deeper spiritual experiuence of God's love and peace, Hence to turn away from enslaving religions and to embrace a liberating spirituality of genuine peace and love which God alone can give.
The Eucharist is indeed a great mystery of "Transubstantiation" of ordinary bread and wine being transformed into the Sacred Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. But the miraculous mystery does not stop at the altar but affects our own lives, transforming us into Jesus Christ, himself. A "Transfiguration" indeed. With St. Paul, we may rightly say: I live, not I, Christ lives in me!
This the greater miraculous mystery announced by the celebrant who says:
The Mystery of Faith!
Quite often, the Eucharistic mystery stops at the altar despite the decor of lights and flowers, hymns and homilies. Yes, a miraculous transubstantiation alright, but no transfiguration that transforms our lives. Isn't is sadly so?
Talking about the bane or benefits of Spiritual Reading, much of what we read evaporates from our mind and fails to impact our lives. Spiritual Reading done in common is often a painful endurance of indistinct lectors of irrelevant topics, causing an understandaable frustration in the community. Absenteism and neglect of the practice is on the increase and affects are personal reading as well. So why is Spiritual Reading having a place in our Constitutional Rules?
Reading, in general, has always been accepted as an exercise of "on going formation" of the mind, enriching our thoughts, influencing our attitudes and developing an enlightened culture in human society. In the education process, we are rightly concerned about nurturing healthy reading habits among our children. We invest in college and school libraries and budget for our family library as well and rightlyso. The audio-visual technology of today is shifting us from the earlier "reading habits" for information and formation of the mind. However, the "book culture" remains in the market and remains still valued. What is important is the attitude. We must learn to read spiritually. This is applicable for our Retreats as well. We must approach them spiritually.
Think about it!