The second reading for today, PHIL 2:6-11, has become very important to me in my spiritual practice of centering prayer. While I cannot even conceive of comparing my practice of letting go of thoughts as I sit quietly choosing to be in God’s presence to the reality of which Paul speaks, there is a connection. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul says that although Christ was by nature God, “he did not regard equality with God something to be grasped at. Rather he emptied himself of godliness” becoming human – like us in all things but sin. We know the story of where this led. Paul says that “he humbled himself even to death on a cross.” We also know that this was not the end of the story, but often we move right from the story of the Crucifixion to the Resurrection without even reflecting on the reality of the cruel suffering he endured.
Jesus gave up everything to become like us – FULLY human (or else how could we see his suffering and death as anything but a Passion Play?). His purpose in life was to manifest the fullness of humanity, to teach us that love is the ground of that fullness which will lead us to our ultimate unity in God. It is up to us, then, to model in our lives this willingness to give up everything in service to unconditional love.
It is through the letting go every day of attitudes, behaviors, desires and actions that separate us from our true nature that we come to know what Jesus was about here on earth. So I begin each morning by sitting – a simple (but not easy) practice of letting go of thoughts that interrupt my presence to God – in order to spend the day letting go of what does not serve the greater goal of union. Small steps, to be sure, but definitely worth the effort!