Catholicism on Jesus and God

I’ve never heard of Eckhart Tolle, but the priest’s comments are useful beyond just commenting on Tolle’s book. He provides a good sense of where Catholics are coming from in regard to the Western world’s prevailing spirituality.

(h/t Mark Shea)

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4 Responses

  1. I happend to have just read Tolle’s book and found it ring very true, like Father Barron said. I also asked myself: what does religion, or specifically the Bahai Faith add to these profound insights?

    I come to a very similar conclusion as Father Barron: at the core the difference is the Manifestation of God, Who is, in practice if not in theology, the equivalent of the Son of God, or even God Himself (not literally, but from our human perspective). Theology aside, the important point is that the Manifestation, or the Son, manifests God as a person. That makes a personal relationship possible, which, I believe, does indeed have a great transforming power.

    Still, did the jews and gentiles before Christ made do without this personal relationship, or was it manifested differently at that time? And do muslims not experience or undergo the transforming power of a relationship with a personal God because they deny Christ’s Godhood? Are they really so depraved?

    Father Barron says: “Salvation is participation in Him, not just getting new ideas but becoming a new person”. I agree but it may not be fair to judge Eckhart Tolle or those who learn from him as “just getting new ideas” and not really transforming, like ‘true’ Christians do. To be honest, one would have to judge impartially. Are there essential differences in character or personality that ‘participation in Christ/God’ evokes in Christians that could never be accomplished without accepting Christ as God Himself incarnate?

    Acceptance of the theological position of the trinity should perhaps not be equalled with transformation of the human heart without some ‘independent’ evidence, or should it?

    Baha’ullah claims that the Manifestation of God, the Word, the Son of Man, the Divine Presence on this earth, its the transforming power that will lead to the establishment of the Kingdom on earth. For me, witnessing the profound insights and evidences of spirituality in, among others, Eckhart Tolle, Catholics, Muslims and Buddhists, I must conclude that on a personal level God’s Manifestation appears not to be conditional on conscious acknowledgement of the Divine and Unifying Mission of a particular historical figure. Nevertheless, those historical Figures do work as catalysts of transformation due to the personal relationships they engender and the Spirit they embody, bringing the inner world of the individual in harmony with God’s purpose for humanity.

  2. Still, did the jews and gentiles before Christ made do without this personal relationship, or was it manifested differently at that time? And do muslims not experience or undergo the transforming power of a relationship with a personal God because they deny Christ’s Godhood? Are they really so depraved?

    Anyone who is in touch with God is in touch with Christ, even if they deny Christ intellectually. If a non-Christian is sincere in his devotion to God, and he experiences God’s grace in his life, then Christ is present in his life. That is true even if he has been taught to believe that Christ is not the Son of God.

    Are there essential differences in character or personality that ‘participation in Christ/God’ evokes in Christians that could never be accomplished without accepting Christ as God Himself incarnate?

    I addressed part of this question previously. You can participate in Christ without knowing that you participate in Christ. I address another part of this question, are there essential differences in character between Christians and non-Christians, in this new post: Doctrines are different from character.

  3. “If a non-Christian is sincere in his devotion to God, and he experiences God’s grace in his life, then Christ is present in his life. That is true even if he has been taught to believe that Christ is not the Son of God.”

    Thanks, Jonah, I can follow this.

  4. That’s an interesting universalism that Catholicism teaches. It seems to be in the ‘middle’ of the extremes: I.E. the belief that everyone else is going to Hell for eternity, or the belief that every doctrine and teaching is true and whoever you pray to, they’ll answer you back.

    It’s kind of hard to wrap my mind around that concept, though. It would seem kind of shocking to me, because it would be like me sending letters to a person my whole life, only to find out that I was communicated with someone else entirely. It would be like I never knew them because I thought they were someone else…

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