Advent Sunday

Both the Collect and the Epistle today tell us to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could distinguish those who wear the armor of light!? First of all, we’d be able to see the angels, and that in itself would be incredible. But we’d also be inspired by those souls of light. How they would inspire us to be like them! However, since 99.99% of us do not yet have the power to perceive the higher realms, we will have to sense this armor of light with what we do have. Like calls to like, we are told, so we ought to be normally drawn to those who are trying to live the spiritual life as we are doing.

Well, for a start, look around you. You are surrounded by truth-seekers, by like-minded folks. We suggest, in our weekly announcement from the pulpit, that you come downstairs after the Eucharist, have a cup of something warm, and get to know us. Our church is unique, blending the ancient Tridentine Mass with the New Age messages of karma, reincarnation, and the evolution of the soul. We’ve been doing this for eighty-some years now, since back when the New Age messages were really new!

A short paragraph from the first page of our Liturgy says: “The Liberal Catholic Church exists to forward the work of her Master, Christ, in the world and to feed His flock. It draws the central inspiration of its work from an intense faith in the living Christ, believing that the vitality of a church gains in proportion as its members cease to think only of a Christ who lived two thousand years ago and strive rather to serve as a vehicle for the eternal Christ who ever lives as a mighty spiritual presence in the world, guiding and sustaining His people.”

Our new church year begins today, with the start of Advent. Again from the Liturgy, on The Church’s Year: “The Church’s year divides itself into two portions. The first portion, from Advent to Whitsuntide, is devoted to the commemoration of the various scenes in the mystery-drama of the life of Christ, which in itself, as Origen pointed out, is typical of the life of every Christian.”

We use violet vestments to indicate this time of self-preparation and self-examination, as we do during Lent. For the Advent season we prepare for the birth of the Christ-child in our hearts, and we focus on the four qualifications given by Krishnamurti long ago in his little booklet, At the Feet of the Master. They are, in the order we follow, discrimination, self-forgetfulness, love, and right action.

Today’s intent of discrimination is the discrimination that refers to making good choices, as one might be said to have a discriminating palate. The Epistle and Gospel were full of suggested good choices: “Owe no one anything but to love one another; walk honestly, not in rioting and drunkenness, not in strife and envying,” from Paul, and “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and with the cares of this life,” from Luke.

As the church year unfolds, we are continually given behavioral clues in the Epistles and Gospels that the founders chose to guide us, if we will but listen. Saint Paul was especially prolific in his instructions to so many Christians scattered all over that area of the Earth. I am always astonished at his faith, because he and Jesus Christ did not co-exist on this earthly plane. That did not stop Saint Paul from becoming His ardent disciple and follower. We can do it, too. We don’t need the physical Jesus in front of us to subscribe to His teachings, not if we let Him speak to our hearts. His gentle message of love and compassion will never grow old.

It has been said here and elsewhere, Origen, for example, as mentioned above, over and over, that Christ’s life was a demonstration, a way-showing of what our lives should and will be. I have a little book of White Eagle’s (pub. Lucis Trust), The Path of the Soul-The Great Initiations of Every Man, and I’d like to share a little bit from the beginning of the first chapter, entitled “The Preparation.” I find it a good description indeed of what lies before all of us and where we are all going.

Some may wonder why we shall so often refer to the four Gospels during this series of messages. We do so because they contain many essential truths concerning man’s spiritual unfoldment, from its beginning to its end; so that the more one ponders over these writings, the deeper one goes into the Ancient Wisdom and into a knowledge that every living soul is consciously or unconsciously seeking. For this knowledge can unveil the nature of life in the heaven worlds and also give new understanding of the value of every detail and happening that goes to make up everyday life on earth. Man needs not only the ‘vision glorious’ but also sufficient wisdom to bring this knowledge through into his mundane life; which should become more wisely directed and influenced by the vision he has seen, so that the light of his knowledge radiates not through his character alone but also refines the substance of his physical body.

In addition, if we can attune ourselves so that we habitually express or manifest something of divine truth in daily life, we shall be preparing ourselves for the supreme initiation. Some people think that initiation involves going through a ceremony of some kind, and this in a sense is true. The initiation we have in mind, however, is something that is taking place over a long period, during which the soul quickens and earnestly endeavors to practice the spiritual truths that it has acquired. In this case the soul will prepare itself for and pass initiation after initiation. On the other hand, as is too often the case, the person will remain unaware, wrapped up in his earthly self and be ‘spiritually dead.’ The spiritually dead cannot comprehend or even glimpse truth; they live in a state of darkness.

There are two kinds of people-those who know and those who do not know; those who have perceived reality and those who are still blind to the real life. Some people cling to the idea that initiation can come about only by recognized stages-say, by attaining to what is called the first, second, third, fourth, or even the thirty-third degree. This is not always so; by searching your own inner experience, you may find that you have been preparing for a number of degrees at the same time but are not yet complete in any one of them. In other words, you are training first on one level, for a period and then on another; so we find that the soul, through contact with its brother man, and through all the experiences of its incarnation, is preparing for the supreme initiation throughout human life. This we know as the Christ initiation, or initiation into the full power and consciousness of the divine, the Christ light, which is called the Son of God.

I will close with one more short quote, where White Eagle ends the first chapter.

Step by step, we shall amplify these teachings concerning the soul’s awakening, the soul’s initiation. We shall see how closely these are related not only to the Christian doctrine but also to other religions throughout the ages-realizing that this is indeed the Ancient Wisdom, the jewel of truth possessing many facets. But we would emphasize that this knowledge is of very little use if the aspirant only becomes engrossed intellectually; there must come a realization of the light that burns within and a becoming of that light; or readjustment of the life so that it becomes lived in light.

My wish for you this Advent season is that you do find the light you seek, that you let it guide your footsteps to the end, and that your own personal armor of light becomes a beacon for others to follow as well.

And now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, three Persons in one God, be ascribed all honor, might, majesty, power and dominion, now and for evermore. Amen.

Judie A. C. Cilcain, Deaconess

December 1, 2002

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