Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oneness

One Head,
One Body,
One Purpose,
One Journey,
United in a spirit of community.

One Bread,
One Cup,
One Spirit,
One Praise,
United in the strength of One Presence.

One Heart,
One Soul,
One Desire,
One Prayer,
Unified in the bonds of charity.

“And all they that believed, were together, and had all things common.”[1]

When this oneness becomes a manifested reality, a personal revelation, rather than a sublimated archaic ideal dressed to fit our individual modern opinions and interpretations, it becomes rather difficult to not enter into some fashion of apologetics. For this no apology needs to be made. Its manifestation radiates a brilliance that dispels darkness and reveals fallacies that would otherwise lead one in directions where they ought not to go. This oneness becomes a vehicle that safely spiritually protects and carries us as we travel toward our eternal destination.

I’ve mentioned privileged opportunity. This reality, too, I view as privileged opportunity though it does come with an open invitation addressed to all.

Personally experiencing this oneness, something that is divinely designed as the pure transcendent nature of the Christian faith, transforms the way one views the world, the Church, and life as a whole. It has a refining effect that dissolves the rugged individualism that so characterizes modern society, something that has banefully made its way even into the realm of the Church. This holy nature of oneness, one that first finds it’s being in the nature of the Holy Trinity, becomes, then, one of the foundational standards of the faith.

A terrible series of disconnects occur when this standard is not firmly allowed its ordained place. At a personal level we are no longer at one with ourselves and fail to realize our singular true identity as members of a larger body where stewardship and accountability are vital elements. When we see the effects of this at the personal level it’s easy to begin to see how it affects life socially, how factions and schisms are able to occur and, once begun, continue to multiply themselves into a vast array of detached societies with their own individual ecclesial hierarchies or independent structures. This is not to be taken as a roasting accusation. It is simply a matter of unarguable church-historical fact.

Oneness offers me deliverance from all the sublimation, from all the factions and schisms, from the tendency to exalt my own pride and stubbornness and to do it in a sanctimonious, pseudo-holy way. It shows me a higher ideal that will ever present itself as an invitation to the processes of continual conversion and perseverance in the faith.

The oneness of monastic spirituality, particularly Benedictine monastic spirituality, gives me a spiritual/liturgical guide that is designed to keep me growing in the depths of the contemplative life, one that knits me, as one small fiber on the edge of the garment, into the fabric of the larger Benedictine community where the overall good of the community is preferred over any fashion of rugged individualism. The oneness of the Church[2] accomplishes this on a larger universal scale and in her wisdom she has given us the collective means to an articulated and unified global voice. As a Catholic Christian living in the world I share in this voice, this message, of the Church as I endeavor to embrace and live out the Gospel life in day to day circumstances hoping to be an example of Christ.


[1] Acts 2:44
[2] The Nicene Creed draws its authority from the fact that it stems from the first two ecumenical Councils of the Church in 325 and 381. In our profession of faith we declare the truth of these early councils when we acknowledge that we believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.