In both his physical presence and in his writing Francis Brown exudes a spirit of gentleness. He may no longer be a Franciscan priest but he remains both Franciscan and priestly to his core. We're splitting Chapter 2 of his book, My Love is Here — an evolution in spirituality, into two parts. He recalls the re-awakening of his childhood spirituality as a form of resurrection.
A treasured memory — I have a Cause and I am its effect...
I know answers are given. I learnt them by rote (and I can remember them now) from the penny catechism. An answer has to convince me and is only an answer until it resonates with what is deep down inside me. When will the answer come? Somehow I'm convinced that the answer has been given by a loving Creator and it is deep, deep inside me. Have I forgotten? When I am still enough, I sense the answer within me. Not as a reasoning process as coming from the bodily brain. More like an intuition. It is like the experience of having in my head a song half remembered. Some of the melody, perhaps a word or phrase comes to mind but the whole song escapes me. Yet I know it is there. I wait for my memory to return. I'm willing for it to return. I know it will return. Then I will have the answer. Something in my memory tells me I had it as a little child. But now I know that experience was as it were a dream within a dream. I feel it was given me to shore me up against the years that followed. The years of dread and terror that the so-called fear of God gave me, were not my only experience. The tenderness and love of so many wonderful people, places and events, the fulfilling achievements of great and ordinary people, including me, were for me the touches of divine Providence, preserving me from physical and mental destruction. My experience as a child is a memory I treasure and try to restore by practices of meditation and quiet time. But I know that was but part of a much larger dream from which my Creator, like a parent unwilling to startle a child by sudden awakening, waits lovingly and patiently for me to awaken so that I can experience present reality. I know that my regaining my memory is not remembering the past but regaining what the present moment truly contains.
My vision (as opposed to what my eyes see) is that I have a Cause and I am its effect. As it is evident effects do not leave their cause, I know I am still with my Cause. The bits of my memory that have returned assure me that I am loved and embraced. All the love and beauty I feel in my sisters or brothers convinces me that my Cause is universal and that my Cause, my fellow human beings and I share one mind. I am somehow an extension of the Cause I now call Creator. That makes me alike my Creator. The experience of my early childhood prompts me to say that I am one with my Creator and one with my fellows and with my creations as well. Yes, I am as I was created. Perfection, totality, innocence and joy are mine. My Creator could but embrace me and include me in all that is. In me I know the fullness of the Creator. And that makes me eternal. All this is somehow a God-consciousness or God-perception.
How did this idea of separation creep in?
So how does this world of isolation, rejection, guilt, sin, damnation, cruelty and "crucifixion" fit into the resurrection of my childhood experience and my willingness to waken now to my memory of what God created? I have come to a convinced state of mind that reveals, through the following or similar scenario, a reality I cannot deny:
In the eternity of my creation, where all is one, there must have crept a tiny, mad idea that the Child of the Creator could be separate. Not to laugh at the stupidity of such an idea was enough to have the Child of the Creator think itself into a dream of isolation. I know the reality must be that the Child of God is at this moment totally happy in Heaven with the Creator. But then it must think itself asleep in a dream, fragmented and separate.
I am willing to wake up now but perhaps I need a transition period, a dream within a dream (like what I had as a child) to bring me closer to the reality so the awakening is not too sudden for my seemingly fragile mind. This is my life here: to prepare myself for my awakening by seeing myself and fellows all as God created and act in each present moment only lovingly as Jesus did. I have more than a little willingness to awaken.
I have not mentioned the action of the Holy Spirit in all of this. For me the Holy Spirit is the function of the Mind with the Creator and is the Answer to the mad idea of separation. I feel the Holy Spirit must know the Creator as well as know what goes on in my dream. Jesus saw the need and tenderly gave me the Holy Spirit to be my guide to gain a purpose and function in this world. Jesus gave me the message of salvation, emphasizing my intrinsic oneness with God and God's intrinsic function within creation. The word "love" is used to express it. I see my road to awakening to reality is not so much a road but having my mind constantly in the present moment and presently being more alert to practicing unconditional love and correctly perceiving everywhere only innocence and beauty. The Holy Spirit is my guide in individual situations, prompting specific action and words and is my helper in unveiling the answer within me.
The following poem was written prior to the above to express the change from feelings of dejection over what seemed a miserable life to the joy of discovering that the fullness of life had only been clouded over by delusion.
My Love is Here...
Gaze on me, a man forlorn and empty of the zest I need.
What are your thoughts on this commentary?