with Thomas Keating
This presentation was recorded in Austin, TX in 2007
Part One, 70 minutes
Thomas Keating begins his exploration of the Paschal Mystery focusing on the passion, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ — the grace-filled mystery that opens the healing process and leads to a divine way of being human through the Trinity. The key to unlocking this mystery is found in the liturgy and contemplative prayer.
Fr. Thomas unpacks this mystery through profound reflections on Jesus’ encounter with Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus and the significance of the good, better and best levels of the contemplative life, which come about through deepening levels of consenting and awareness. We are led to reflect on our own identification with each of them and begin to see how this journey has only one destiny — to let go and allow God to transform us.
In a glorious act of love by Mary of Bethany,
as she smashes the vessel of fragrant oil about the head of Jesus at the banquet, filling the room with the intoxicating aroma which moves all who were present to a higher level of spiritual awareness and understanding. What an awesome way to “preach a sermon” with no words!
Fr. Thomas continues his reflections on the four different levels of Scripture.
First, he continues his reflection concerning Mary of Bethany, highlighting the symbolism from three viewpoints: Mary giving her all to Jesus; the Jewish tradition of greeting guests; and the anticipation of the crucifixion and the spirit flowing through the world.
Second, the calling Lazarus out of the tomb is a story representing the dying of the false self and the birth of the new self.
Third, Jesus is arrested, symbolically becoming sin and in solidarity and oneness with all. This is the meaning of the incarnation – he gave his divinity away to become one with us in the human condition in everything except sin, so that we could share his divinity.
Fourth, this drama is played out by the events in Holy Week: Thursday the drinking of the cup of all that we experience; Friday, the cross where he experienced alienation from his Father as he cried out “My God, my God why have you forsaken me”; Saturday, the descent into hell to enter into the utter despair of humanity without God; which then opened up to the resurrection of Easter Sunday.
Fr Thomas ends this segment with, “Death is resurrection, resurrection is death — death to all which is not the unconditional love of God.”
Part Two, 63 minutes
Fr. Thomas explores the Mystery of Christ and our participation in the divine life, using the ritual of the Easter Vigil as a template for our stages of transformation as the gifts of the Holy Spirit are manifested. Using quotes from sacred scriptures, the wisdom Christ’s teachings are revealed to shock us into the reality of the spiritual journey.
Through the events of the Resurrection and the Ascension we experience God as No Thing, as existence itself. Therefore, we are challenged to live a life of non-possessiveness which opens us to put on the mind of Christ and live with new attitudes. These attitudes open us to unity, oneness and a greater awareness of the larger picture — from Christ consciousness, to cosmic consciousness and to unity consciousness. In other words, unconditional love.
Question & Answer Session, 42 minutes
With Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler as moderator, Fr Thomas enters into a light-hearted and profound reflection, exploring the practical implications of the Paschal Mystery in everyday life.