I spent a three-hour airplane ride this week occupied with a book a friend gave me and insisted I read. The book is called Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander.
Eben is a M.D, in fact is a neurologist and surgeon. Literally a brain surgeon. The book is an autobiographical study of his life leading up to his serious conversion experience; brought about by what is often described as a NDE, or Near-Death Experience. Without spoiling all the details, it brings you through his personal experience as a pseudo-agnostic to firm believer as a result of his journey. With seven days in a coma brought on by a bacterial infection which affected his brain, Eben encountered God in a way which removed all doubt of the existence of God, heaven and confirmed an afterlife for him.
I am not here to validate this one doctor’s journey, but it does bring up the question of how confident are we there is an afterlife for us? And how confirmation works for those who have seen a “glimpse” of heaven; how reassuring God’s presence is for them.
Pierre Teilhard dc Chardin, a Jesuit priest from the 20th century declares we are “spiritual beings having a human experience”, something scripture and tradition affirms many times. Yet we will still have doubts, for those who have their doubts removed a great gift is given, however, for many others, we rely on our faith knowing God will not let us down.
We should not have to go to scientific accounts of out of Body experiences to affirm what God tells us daily and meets us in the Eucharist. The presence is all around us. The mystery is a key part of how Christ draws us nearer to Him.
This week we can look for Christ in our everyday lives without having to turn to science for affirmation. In the eyes of a child, a fall nature walk and in the gift of a friend supporting us at a time of need.
And, still if you need to notice Him, savor Him intimately in the Eucharist. In the spiritual union which is a gift of our faith.
Taste and See.
Ocean of Love
I am a watcher by the stream,
longing for the cool, clear water to refresh me,
yet I cannot enter, for fear of where it will take me
dissolving my will
losing my status
to a journey and a path I cannot control.
So many others line the stream,
friends, others I don’t yet know, watch it, mesmerized it seems
by the sound of water and the eternal nature of its path.
Still I stand, now noticing all around me,
all transfixed on its path.
After some time, years or maybe seconds,
I suddenly jump in and find myself taken,
first scared as I am carried without a guide through white waters
in a seemingly uncontrolled ride.
Then suddenly, I am protected,
and the coolness turns to warmth as I enter the river.
And a sense of oneness overcomes me.
I feel the divine as God enters my soul
as a light ravishing me,
I continue to dissolve in His presence,
illuminating cold and empty places I dwelt moments before.
For all is now forgotten as I drift along an ever-slowing river.
Noticing others around me,
a communion of like souls drawn together,
as a salty taste fills the air,
we near the ocean of love.
The ocean where each drop makes it mark,
fills it role,
makes the taste that is God Himself,
as this ocean is His, as we are His.
At last together.
Gospel of Matthew
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”