Soon after my conversion in 1986 to Roman Catholicism I was given a plaque with these words inscribed upon it:
"A Sign of Contradiction,"
"A true Christian is a sign of contradiction ~ a living symbol of the Cross. He or she is a person who believes the unbelievable, bears the unbearable, forgives the unforgiveable, loves the unloveable, is perfectly happy not to be perfect, is willing to give up one's will, becomes weak to be strong, sees some good in every bad, and finds love by giving it away. A Christian transcends the natural with the immeasurable power of love and becomes a supernatural person." - Joseph Roy
This sign still hangs at our front door entrance and is there to remind me of precisely of what it means to be a Christian. Through the years I have learned a great deal from my adopted religion. Certainly I believe that most Christians, and other world religions would have little difficulty agreeing with the virtues and principles expressed by its inspired author.
I have come to believe that this simple statement incorporates everything that God offers to all humankind. There is no question about the challenge or difficulty of following this ‘creed’ in our daily lives. For me this priceless ‘memo’ transcends the struggle with the ego and invites me to honour the God or ‘true self’ within. The same Creator, Source or Sacred Power that is honored by all other cultures, faiths and religions.
Anyone who is willing to adopt this challenge will no longer need to search for organized religion because he or she will find the teacher within and become an instrument of peace for all those placed in their path.
To set myself free, to experience the total mystery of God, I have 'dropped' the following statements about institutional religion that no longer resonate. The blank spaces, in each line below, may be used to acknowledge your own religion, or for the more daring – your own name!
- Being ________ is not about following a particular creed, dogma or doctrine, faith or religion.
- Being ________ is not about church,synagogue,temple, etc. membership.
- Being ________ is not about demanding change within your religious community.
- Being _________is not about finding fault with your religious leaders.
- Being _________is not about studying your Bible, Koran, Torah or any other religious tract.
- Being _________is not about fear of heaven and hell and who is going there.
- Being _________is not about who is right and who is wrong about matters of faith.
- Being _________is not about seeking similar thinking people.
- Being _________is not about sin and God’s punishment.
- Being _________is not about comparing yourself with others.
- Being _________is not about an outward display of special religious articles or clothing.
- Being _________is not about being special or holier than you already are.
- Being _________is not about feelings, rituals and grandiose displays.
- Being _________is about being free to discover the Truth within.
- Being _________is living life to the full in the present!
- Being _________is about being at one with God, neighbour, myself and becoming a Sign of Contradiction.