Well, this morning actually begins with prayers last night, and the thoughts that struck me – could have just been tiredness, so I figured I’d write it out this morning. First, as I was saying the Hail Mary (Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.), it struck me to wonder if Mary, in contemplating her life, would have thought that the thing people remembered her for was only for being the Mother of God – granted, quite an important position, but one that was accomplished by the time she was a teenager – and never had a thought for what the rest of her life might have contributed to the world. Birthing the Holy Child was, in fact, a great miracle, but can you imagine being the Mother of God?? I mean, it’s your responsibility to raise the child, to ensure that He grows up to be a good and Godly man. Then there’s Joseph, for whom I have such admiration. He took on the responsibility of raising a child not his own, and there’s got to be part of him that is thinking, what can I teach a child of God – and yet, as Jesus was to experience being human, he had to do all the things children do – learning to crawl, walk, talk, interact, etc. It’s not like God gave them a blueprint of what his life was to be – so Joseph also needed to ensure that “his” child learned a trade, contributed to society and learned the holy writings. And even though it’s part of the apocrypha, the “Infancy Gospel” of Thomas does make for interesting stories of the childhood of Jesus.
Okay – 2 minutes to get out the door for MP. Back. I am reminded that in order to listen, one’s mind needs to be quiet! Today’s walking meditation was a reminder that if I’m going to play “Hermione” and ask question after question after question, and never listen for the answers because my mind is flitting from one topic to the next, to the next ad infinitum, I’m never going to learn anything new. Meditation needs to happen again, focusing on only one simple thing (pick one, any one, but just one!). I feel like that joke about the mind of a man having one or two tabs open on an internet screen, and the mind of a woman having 3,984 open at one time.
Listening is *not* an easy task!
So, to finish the thoughts on prayers last night. In the Nicene Creed (but not the Apostle’s), it has the portion:
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.
It’s an interesting point to make, that Jesus was begotten, not made, and not only was he begotten, but eternally begotten. C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity puts it this way:
We don’t use the words begetting or begotten much in modern English, but everyone still knows what they mean. To beget is to become the father of: to create is to make. And the difference is this. When you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies, a beaver begets little beavers and a bird begets eggs which turn into little birds. But when you make, you make something of a different kind from yourself. A bird makes a nest, a beaver builds a dam, a man makes a wireless set—or he may make something more like himself than a wireless set: say, a statue. If he is a clever enough carver he may make a statue which is very like a man indeed. But, of course, it is not a real man; it only looks like one. It cannot breathe or think. It is not alive.
Now that is the first thing to get clear. What God begets is God; just as what man begets is man. What God creates is not God, just as what man creates is not man.
This brings to mind two things: mankind was made. Now, we were “made in God’s image”, but still, made. We are adopted as children of God, made part of the family through Christ’s sacrifice, but we were not begotten by God. So when we were “made in God’s image” – the concept that it is our soul that is in the image of God, and not the human body which is rather ephemeral by nature – is a question. That which is made can be unmade, whereas, I’ve sort of looked at the soul as being eternal. Probably one of those meditation topics after a while, when my listening skills improve.
The second thing that it brought to mind is that Baha’is look at the Manifestations of God (Moses, Zoroaster, Christ, Mohammad, the Bab, Baha’u’llah, Krishna, Buddha, etc.) as being God made manifest here on Earth to teach mankind, the same spiritual lessons, but different social teachings, fit for the place and time in which the Manifestation appears. But Christ is the only begotten Manifestation. All others would fall into the category of made. That would speak to the inherent superiority of Christianity, if one believes that being begotten is inherently better than being made. It does speak more to the divinity of Christ, as being begotten of the Father makes one of the same being and substance as the Father. Does it, however, discount or limit through human eyes what God can do? Is that which God makes inherently less or inherently different from what He begats? (These verb forms are beginning to drive me crazy, so I’ll end with a song to remind me…)