Today’s Bible reading
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. — Genesis 2:7
Just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ out Lord. — Romans 5:21
More thoughts for meditation
Since we are born into time, we are always in a process of becoming one thing or another. “Who we are” is not quite ever found in an exhaustive or complete sense. It is something which is yet to be known, something that we are in transit toward. Finally, it is something which will be revealed to us.
“To be or not to be” is really the question. Will we face reality, or will we not? If we do not, if we choose to live out of our own private ideas and subjective experience, then we will have to remain isolated and small, “safe” in an ever-shrinking sphere of relatedness. Paul describes such a life as living in the “dominion of death,” because it is in thrall to death.
Sin, for Paul, is not really the bad stuff we do. It is more like a journey, whose shape is determined by the destination – death. This journey is one of disintegration: moving out of harmony with God, with ourselves, and with others. The journey towards integration is also possible. That is the journey we were created for.
Properly speaking, the movement toward death is not a journey at all, but the abandonment of our journey toward union with God. It is sheer negation of any journey. Yet, even in the specific acts of sin there is something positive which is looking for God, even if it is distorted and hidden beneath our addictions. Pleasure is part of creation, and everything in creation tends (or journeys) toward the creator, even pleasure. These acts, however, can become an occasion for us to flee from God instead of journeying toward Him
Grace is the great antidote to the dominion of death. It works all the while in and through us, drawing us toward the purposes we were created for. It invites us into the life of God. The life of God is the depth of the present moment. As we sink more deeply into the abiding presence, grace is at work drawing out of us our true and original humanity, expressed ever more richly in the moments of our life. Who we are unfolds through time, bearing with ever greater clarity and color the imprint of the image of God.
Suggestions for action
Choice is our dignity as well as our tragedy. We are human, so ultimately we have to contend with our own will. What do we want? What do we love? It is a great blessing to reach the point where we see that our choices are actually a matter of life and death. This is the so-called “rock bottom” of AA. It is a blessing, because most of us remain blissfully unaware of the havoc that our addictions are wreaking on our lives.
We can actually pray for this saving knowledge. It is the prayer for true awareness of our selves and our position in life. It is not prayer that seeks false experiences of guilt or shame, as though we need to trump up some over-the-top image of how bad we are. It is rather prayer that only wants to face reality. It is prayer that seeks the quality of heart that Jesus describes in the Beatitudes – hungering for righteousness, mourning, aware of its own limitations.
We can not create for ourselves this kind of heart. But we can ask God for it, daily. The fruit of such earnestness and sincerity is re-creation. As we become more open and receptive to grace, God breathes into us the same breath that He blew into our nostrils the day we were created. The spirit of God brings to life all the dead and dying parts of our soul, re-integrates us with ourselves, with others, and most of all with God Himself. So ask.