What follows has the sole purpose of honouring God and all life. I mean no disrespect to anyone, but God - or life - is in desperate need of our love and care. And it is that love and care that drives these words. There is no greater honour to bestow on God or life than putting them first.
The following are words taken from the ‘Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis’ delivered at Saint Peter’s Basilica on the First Sunday of Advent, 29 November 2020.
‘Today’s readings propose two key words for the Advent season: closeness and watchfulness. God’s closeness and our watchfulness. The prophet Isaiah says that God is close to us, while in the Gospel Jesus urges us to keep watch in expectation of his return.’
He then puts forward the following prayer, “God, come to my assistance”. He mentions that ‘The first step of faith is to tell God that we need him, that we need him to be close to us.’
Pope Francis then goes on, ‘This is also the first message of Advent and the liturgical year: we need to recognise God’s closeness and to say to him: “Come close to us once more!” God wants to draw close to us, but he will not impose himself; it is up to us to keep saying to him: “Come!” This is our Advent prayer: “Come!”’
I will include one final quote from this Advent address in which Francis goes to great lengths to reiterate the importance of watchfulness, ‘If we ask Jesus to come close to us, we will train ourselves to be watchful. Today Mark’s Gospel presented us with the end of Jesus’ final address to his disciples, which can be summed up in two words: “Be watchful!” The Lord repeats these words four times in five verses (cf. Mk 13:33-35.37). It is important to remain watchful, because one great mistake in life is to get absorbed in a thousand things and not to notice God. Saint Augustine said: “Timeo Ie sum transeuntem” (Sermons, 88, 14, 13), “I fear that Jesus will pass by me unnoticed”. Caught up in our own daily concerns (how well we know this!), and distracted by so many vain things, we risk losing sight of what is essential. That is why today the Lord repeats: “To all, I say: be watchful!” (Mk 13:37). Be watchful, attentive.’
The Pope’s message is clear.
He calls on our world to be aware of our closeness to God.
And watchful for the presence of Jesus.
He points out that it is a ‘great mistake’ to ‘get absorbed in a thousand things and not to notice God.’ He explains how this relates to one of the great fears of St Augustine, that ‘Jesus will pass by me unnoticed.’
And, finally, he cites that being distracted by our daily concerns is one potential threat that could result in our blindness to God. But perhaps it will not be daily concerns which blind Francis. Perhaps it will be his attachments to power, influence and the preservation and protection of the Catholic Church - the material spoils of this world.
In any case, above, we see well-meaning words, no doubt. But I wonder how committed the Pope is to practicing them.
How eager and open is he in his ‘watchfulness’ and his awareness of what ‘closeness’ to God looks and feels like?
For it is a massive call!
Here, we see the most powerful figure in the Catholic Church, a religious organisation worth billions of dollars, telling his followers to be watchful for the return of God’s Word.
And for the presence of Jesus in our world.
It would take an act of incredible faith and humility for the leader of the Catholic Church, the oldest institution in the western world, dating back almost 2000 years, to publicly acknowledge and surrender to the contemporary Word of God.
What an enormous test of faith.
And the question that lies at the heart of this test is the ultimate one and is summed up perfectly by the first and most important of the Ten Commandments - honour no other God before me.
‘Is it God whom I honour above all else?
‘Or my own Catholic Church?’
‘Which is the God I truly worship?’
When God communicates with the world, he does so to the world. Any instructions God hands down are not for the benefit of any individual organisation, but for the benefit of life.
God’s life, to be precise.
It is God’s dream to truly reign over our world, but it is impossible for this dream to come true under the banner of the Catholic Church alone.
Or any other religious organisation for that matter.
That would be like the Catholic Church saying God works for us. Or that God and Jesus are no more than great ambassadors of the Catholic Church.
Or you do not get to God unless it is through the Catholic Church.
Religion has put limitations on God’s reach. It has kept him separate from the expression and decision-making of the world.
At an incredible cost...to him and life!
But we will return to that train of thought in a moment. First, I would like to highlight the challenge facing Francis when it comes to truly honouring the return of God’s Word into our world.
Never mind the fact he will almost certainly need to acknowledge, advocate for and support someone with far less influence in this world than he, and someone who will also be putting an end to many mysteries about the identity of God.
For that is what revelation promised.
When the time comes for God to reach out to the Pope, how he responds will reveal his truest identity as being either God-centered or Catholic Church-centered.
And the two are vastly different foundations.
How much will he sacrifice to honour God? Will he be follower? Or pharisee?
Embrace? Or reject?
Time will tell, but if we examine the tone of the Pope’s address it would seem he is enthusiastic, even eager, about having to face such a dilemma.
In his own words, ‘it is up to us to keep saying to him: “Come!” This is our Advent prayer: “Come!”’
I try to imagine a ‘tradie’ (the affectionate nickname for carpenters and other tradespeople in Australia), knocking on the door of the Vatican, being allowed to enter, and then sitting down over tea, or perhaps a beer if Jesus is that kind of guy, to explain to Francis that he is Jesus, and he is back.
He goes on to say there is no need for the Catholic Church anymore because God no longer wants to be fenced in or pigeon-holed by a label.
And, he adds, God is moving beyond religions and labels, because on their watch his world collapsed.
He does point out he can continue running the Catholic Church, even though he will not be joining, because it does give millions of dedicated and loving people a nourishing sense of community and belonging – and this is a good thing - but that he must publicly acknowledge his return and be accepting of God’s revelation.
He seeks confirmation that Francis is comfortable with this, before finishing his tea/beer and heading back out to the streets where he feels more at home.
I think we could all be fairly certain in the above scenario, our ‘tradie’ friend would not be granted a sit-down.
And I think we could also be certain there would be no announcement.
On those last two points, I admit, I am speculating. I cannot say for certain how the Pope would react to such a scenario.
Then again, it might not be a ‘tradie’ that drops in. Perhaps God spoke to a Muslim, and it was a person of the Islamic faith who knocked on the Vatican door with news of God’s revelation.
What the Pope has done in the homily above is capture the essence of the Advent season. It is about watchfulness, but it is also about preparedness.
Every Advent we hear how desperate the Catholic Church is for a sign from God. Or for the return of Jesus.
‘Listen!’, they tell their congregations, ‘And watch!’
But are they?
Have they given any genuine contemplation as to what these things would mean for them. Or how they might come about?
If we know one thing about God, it is this – he moves in mysterious ways. And where God exists, irony is never far away.
We have built a world of great suffering and imbalance, and it is the things that have caused this reality which are on notice.
And those things that must be destroyed if ‘God’ is to truly reign.
At the end of this piece, you will see the cover image of a book I published in 2017. It is called "Meditations for Action” and is a collection of wisdom and teachings I ascribe to my frequent - many each day - conversations with God.
Meaning, revelations from God, or wisdom from God, or Words of God.
For if God speaks, what is said belongs to him.
I write of a world ‘in danger of crossing the point of no return.’
But that we have a choice to ‘reconnect with love, faith and the beauty of the Word or remain disconnected and only interested in our own material overindulgences.’
In the book, the first of several I have written, sourced in the direct word of God, I point out we have entered the era of revelation.
In it, I also introduce the notion of conditional expression – which has the nickname of ‘Phusion Living’ - as the way of life that will heal humanity’s ailments and steer life away from the suffering which overwhelms it today.
So, God spoke to our world, in the hope we would avoid the calamities of today.
These revelations are important, as is the timeline.
The first thing I did when this book was formally published was send a copy to Pope Francis via the Vatican with the message, ‘God has asked that you to support this work.’
So, God, arrived at the Vatican in the mail four years ago.
Of course, I knew there would be no reply or acknowledgment of what was sent. But it was sent.
And what a ‘four years’ it has been for life.
God had to reveal himself to the world because intellectual faith and belief does not work. Only actioned.
And human beings are not good at living like Jesus.
In fact, in the high-income world, virtually everything we do, and value, is contradictory to the instructions we have been handed down by God and to the way of life embodied and exemplified by Jesus.
And we witness these contradictions in the Vatican and the Catholic Church. And we witness the results of these contradictions in the state of our world today.
This is not to point the finger – we see these contradictions everywhere.
If anything, these revelations should make our world lighter, as the judgment and ugliness of the self-righteous should vanish overnight.
Unless they want to play ‘name and shame the abuser’. But why would they, given their attacks on the flawed and imperfect put them on the list.
Speaking of Jesus, if anyone had taken the time to explore conditional expression, they would quickly come to see it is definitive of the way of life he lived and taught.
Jesus lived with conditional expression.
The mantra, ‘I will put conditions on my expression and demands so who and what I am is supportive of life and its needs!’
‘I will say no to the things – opportunities and temptations - which are abusive to life!’
Jesus is the greatest ambassador of conditional expression. It is how he told us to live.
In his own words, 'I am of this world. But not of this world!'
That Jesus lived this way is what makes him the Word of God. He was able to pull it off.
You see our instructions have not changed since the beginning of time.
We have been told to live with conditional expression. To say no to the things that would abuse life.
The story of Adam and Eve taught us this.
The Ten Commandments taught this.
The Quran teaches this.
Yoga teaches this.
The life of Jesus taught us this.
And so on...
But now we see it as an instruction given to us by God in a form beyond any label or fence which might hope to claim ownership or authority for God.
And with the evidence needed to convince even the most steadfast atheist among us of God’s existence.
There is nothing to join and no group or religion to belong to.
Other than our collective belonging to the same human life.
Conditional expression represents the return of Jesus in the most powerful of ways.
As the way of life we have been asked to adopt and live by since the beginning of time.
What is the point of Jesus coming back as someone who can be rejected and crucified again, because the Pharisees of today do not like the identity or form with which he came.
God has tried that approach already. He knows it does not work.
Jesus could never save life or protect it from the abuse we inflict on it, by living the way he did alone. Life can only benefit if our world chooses conditional expression as the collective path.
If we all reject those things which abuse our world.
Everyone on the same page.
Everyone honouring God – or life – as he has asked to be honoured.
We could look at it another way.
If any human being rejects conditional expression as the way of life we should be living, they are making a huge statement.
The reverse mantra is equally powerful, and completely contradictory to the way of life Jesus lived and completely contradictory to the word of God.
‘I will not put conditions on my expression and demands so that who I am is nourishing and supportive of life.’
And, ‘I will not put the needs of life before my own!’
In conditional expression every truth reveals another.
If we embrace materially excessive living, we contribute to world hunger and trauma to the earth.
In God’s eyes, and in the eyes of Jesus, we honour God, or we don’t.
It must be that way. Because God is real.
God’s word is not ideology.
It is a practical guide on how to care for all life.
And we cannot care for life as it needs to be cared for without putting conditions on the things we say and do. It is impossible.
Sharing God’s word, when it comes from him directly, is traumatic.
No one takes you seriously.
Let alone a Pope.
But in one of my most troubled moments, right before going to bed, I renewed my commitment to God.
‘I’m in. I will do your work but help me explain you in a way even an atheist could understand.’ It is the only thing I have ever asked of God.
I then went to sleep.
I awoke in the middle of the night with a jump, to the words, ‘You are the cells of my body!’
This is God telling us who and what he is, and who and what we are to him.
It is the ‘evidence’ Jesus promised that would show him to be right.
And the world wrong.
It is why he discouraged boastfulness and self-promotion and said that self-righteous would cause great harm to life.
Because, as cellular components of life, these represent toxic and corrupt expressions.
Poisoning God – or life – from the inside out.
We are to God, what our own cells are to our bodies.
We do not want them being overactive and corrupt in their behaviour.
We want them behaving in a manner that supports our whole body – including our psychological and energetic systems.
This is how we explain why a loving God would decimate a whole group of people. It is exactly what we do when we have chemotherapy.
Our number one priority is our own health. And if that means cancerous cells need to go, then so be it.
We do not love them with affection and permit them to go on destroying us from the inside out.
We fry them.
Because we want to be healthy.
That is what God said when he delivered the Ten Commandments.
‘I am a jealous God. I want to be well. So, you need to behave like this, so I don’t suffer!’
We do not want to destroy cells within our own bodies. But we will if they are destroying us.
We are made in God’s image.
It is all true.
God’s ‘love’ for us is reflective only of the love for our own. And his wishes for his own health, much like our own.
For him – no Sabbath, no rest!
Jesus is the Word of God because he lived with conditional expression. He said ‘no’ to the things which are abusive to life. He showed us how to honour God.
Or to those who do not like that term, how to honour life.
As it needs to be honoured.
Or as God needs to be honoured.
There was never going to be any point to God sending Jesus back in human form. He would only meet the same fate.
That is if he was even listened to.
But we look to celebrities, and the rich and powerful, for guidance.
The demographics who live more contradictory to God’s instructions than any other.
And more contradictory to the needs of life.
Many of whom live the very life Jesus rejected.
We love the things of this world, far more than we love God.
Jesus showed us the way to eternal life. The way to end the cycle of birth and rebirth.
He was never coming back as a human being.
But as a ‘way’ of life.
The only one that could nourish life in its entirety as it needs to be nourished and supported.
The literal bread of life.
Life was never going to benefit from our intellectual belief in Jesus.
Only our being like him.
Which is why he knew the world’s belief in and love for him was only ever going to be shallow.
‘Happy are those who believe without seeing!’
Our world is interested in change because we have destroyed life. We needed to see the wounds.
The way of conditional expression has been an option for each of us since the beginning of time.
No political or economic system can ever force any of us to be abusive to life.
This is what Jesus meant when he said God – or life – is the ultimate authority.
Just because these systems create opportunities and pathways for the abuse of life, does not mean any of us have to take them up.
Or that the abuse is not real.
You see, God is more real than we are.
At least in terms of the things we have created.
To God it is black or white.
We are either supportive of life and its needs, or we are not.
God has revealed who and what he is.
And who and what we are to his life.
We now have the evidence that Jesus promised. And we received it from God.
Not a laboratory.
And Jesus has returned.
Once again as the Word. As the same instruction we have been given since the beginning, and in a way that takes God beyond the confines of religion, and into a practical form that every human being can connect with and comprehend.
God is not fantasy.
The fantasies are the things we have created.
So, Francis, you no longer need to be watchful. Nor contemplate your closeness to God.
You, like each of us, is a functioning, physical component of God’s body.
Which is what Jesus always knew.
Now, you too, have the evidence he promised.
Mystery solved. And it had to be.
God was dying and his life depended on it.
Faith and belief turned out to be as effective as science in defending the dignity and honour of God.
Only living as Jesus did, which is to live with conditional expression, is of any real benefit to God.
What is sick right now?
While the Catholic Church watches and listens for God’s arrival in our world, he has already touched down.
At a moment of great suffering.
You see, God is the life. If it happens, it happens to him.
Life is on its knees, which means God is on his knees.
Francis, as leader of the Catholic Church, the following question now rests with you.
Are God’s revelations, in his greatest hour of need, true.
Do you believe in the Word of God? That we are one body, in truth?
Is living as Jesus did, which is to also ask, is conditional expression, the true path we should all be living? Can you declare this with substance from the balcony of the Vatican?
Should we be saying no to the things that are abusive to life?
Or do you reject God and the way of Jesus?
There should be no Advent this year.
The watching and waiting are over.
The full embrace by humanity is all that remains.
If advent runs, it represents the rejection of God.
I suspect there are many in the world who believe Christianity or Catholicism outrank God. But it does not.
It is, like other religions, a pathway to see him.
Are you really going to turn away when he needs you most?
This is your chance to show them this is not true. That God is above all.
Time is wasting and each day God grows sicker, frustrated with the absence of care for life in our world.
If humanity is dying, it is God’s physical form that is dying.
If a virus is ripping through life, it is ripping through God.
If we are mentally disturbed, our cellular contribution to life is toxic, turbulent and chaotic.
You see, we were meant to view just our being here as the greatest miracle of life.
Our breath was to bring us our greatest joy.
And from there, everything a bonus. The abundance Jesus spoke of was from the inside out.
But we pursue healing where there is no need.
We equate creating the perfect life, and feeling high on physical bliss, as evidence of healing.
That is our greatest insanity.
God is sick.
He needs, and has asked for, our conditional expression.
He needs us to live like Jesus more than ever before.
Would we be so bold as to deny him?
Now with God being real this changes the status of all the God-delivered instructions we have been handed down through history.
Instead of religious fantasy, they represent the formal documentation of the things God – or life - does and does not consent to, in terms of how life is to be treated.
Right now, we love lecturing one another on the concept of consent.
So, if we have not lived like Jesus, then we have been harmful to life. His is the way to care. Not living as he did is the way not to care.
And few are less like Jesus than the self-righteous who love to whack people into line.
God knows each of us through our own function. And attacks on others are just attacks on ourselves - and life.
Which makes them attacks on God.
I will leave it there.
God is speaking.
And has been speaking.
Right now, he views his world as faithless.
And he bases this opinion on evidence.
The evidence being the suffering we are inflicting on the actual life we belong to. Because we do not live with conditional expression.
Or, rather, with an actioned unconditional love for life.
God’s life...to be precise.
Francis - you are right. It is a ‘great mistake’ to ‘get absorbed in a thousand things and not to notice God.’
Now you know who pays for that mistake.
Mother Earth writes a letter to humanity - each of us - to express her feelings and point of view on how we have treated her. She does not feel valued, loved and cared for. But no one who experiences abuse at the hands of another feels valued. right? In her own words, 'Know that my relationship with each of you is personal. And, as such, I will experience you exactly as you are. I will either benefit from your expression and the way you live. Or I will suffer because if it.'
This year's theme for Reconciliation Week in my homeland of Australia is 'Be Brave, Make Change!' This is wise as it takes far more courage to love where there is hurt, than to cling to that hurt as a source of division. This is true for us as a nation, and for each of us in our individual lives. And in terms of our relationship with ourselves and others. It is not love standing in the way of reconciliation. In a human experience, love knows it can't balk at anything. That's why it is so courageous. To us all, love says, 'I am ready when you are!' This piece was first posted on the 26th of January 2018. What a four years it has been for life. It is her we should love for, more than anything else. For life and our sacred mother do not take sides. As she said to me once in Central Australia - 'Why can't we just love!?'
If our world is sick, it is because we make it so. Whenever a human being chooses a course of action and expression that prioritises them, as an individual, over the balance of life itself, life must suffer. Unfortunately for life, it is the default setting of the high income world to place little to no restrictions on the things we do and the lifestyles we create - collectively speaking, of course - all while making declarations of our great love for humanity and the earth on boastful social media posts.
‘If you reject me, I will give you everything you could ever dream of in the human experience. Or you can honour me and tend to my needs. It is all yours to take. Or sacrifice.' ~ God himself reveals just how contradictory the ways of the high-income world are to his timeless instruction that we live with conditional expression.
ready to forge biblical men?