Becoming who you are

Potter's hands

The Potter’s hands

‘It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. The privilege of a life time is being who you are.’ ee cummings

Being and becoming. Key words that have been rattling around my head of late. We describe ourselves as human beings, and yet there is a deep sense in which we could be called human becomings. As Dr David G Benner, in his blog post The Journey of Human becoming and develops further in his book Spirituality and the Awakening Self: The Sacred Journey of Transformation, 

                 ‘Being human is a journey of becoming’ 

That journey is one that is life long, but it not simply a progression in a linear fashion through time. As Dr Benner expresses it- ‘time is necessary, but not sufficient’. He goes on to say ‘The Spirit of God- the source of all generativity, all creativity, and all life- invites us to participate in the grand adventure of becoming. Openness to becoming, is openness to God.’

Henri Nouen explores similar themes of discovery in his book Life of  the Beloved– a journey of knowing ourselves loved in every cell of our being. Becoming the Beloved.

My own particular journey of becoming has in recent years, been that of a journey towards priesthood. One week today, I will go into a time of retreat and guided reflection in preparation for being ordained as a priest on Saturday 29th June. In Rounding the Last Bend, and Stepping Stones, I reflected this time last year, on the final stages of ordination training and the journey towards being ordained deacon. One year on, and I now approach the moment of becoming who I believe God is calling me to be. Becoming who he has been fashioning me into over the course of my life time.

Although it feels like there will be a deep sense of completion, it is not a question of arriving. I am still on this ‘grand adventure of becoming’ that is God’s constant invitation to me.

The picture of the chalice being shaped, is the front of my ember card. I chose it because it sang to me of the need to be pliable in the hands of the creative Potter who is fashioning me. To let him use all the circumstances of my life, past and present to form me as he sees fit. This particular lump of clay has wrestled and fought those hands, vigorously resisting this call to priesthood. (You can read more on this struggle in Where is your Home?)  Yet all along he has simply been calling me to be me. Shaping me into who I am. Borrowing an alternative analogy I used in an earlier post, Born to Fly and related to the name of this blog, I was born to fly as a feather on God’s breath. No more. No less.

I started with a quote from ee cummings, a particularly favourite poet of mine. I’ll close with another..

may i be i, is the only prayer- not may i be great or good, or beautiful or wise or strong.” 

May I be I . Amen and amen. May I have courage, grace, openness and trust to become. To go on being and becoming.

If you can add your prayers to mine for this significant moment of transition, it would mean a great deal to me and you have my heartfelt thanks.

Taking God in

Theosis and Theotokos

Theosis – Participation in the nature of God .. ( 2 Peter 1:4)  In Eastern Orthodoxy, this is considered the supreme goal of the spiritual life.  I heard it described this morning as

being drawn into God’s being, and having His Being drawn into us

The speaker  Bishop Simon Barrington Ward, was talking to us about the use of that most simple, profound and ancient of prayers known as ‘The Jesus Prayer’

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, be merciful to me ( us), a sinner

He spoke of praying it until the prayer “prayed itself within you”  and almost became part of your subconscious- finding it on your lips at moments when you respond to situations, and as you wake.

I mused further on being drawn into God’s being, and having His Being drawn into us – through presence, our presence in His Presence.

Blurring the lines between God and us, so that we no longer know                                   where One begins and one ends.

If it were simply up to us, this could never happen, but fortunately it is up to Him.               It is His gift of grace to us, His desire to make us one with Him, as He is one with the Father. The simplest of gifts can sometimes be the hardest to receive. We can hardly believe that He means it. That He means it for us.

I linked it in my head with Theotokos – God Bearer.

The name for Mary, Jesus’ mother.

It seemed to me that as we are drawn into God’s being,                                                     so we are also made to be ‘God bearers’ .                                                                           We are given His life growing within us to take to the waiting world.                                   Like Mary, this is not without cost. It demands our ‘Yes’ and that yes is our all.

Aftermath of Angels

Who are you and who am I

that you should choose me?

Who am I now

that I have chosen

to say yes?

How can I bear the weight

of this light,

carry the child of your heart;

hold He who is Love

within the limits of my own?

Face down, I lay my head

upon the earth

hide me under the shadow

of your wing.

As you form Him in me,

shape me within your hands.

Knit my soul

to the fabric of your being,

Cradle us both

In your enfolding

and bring us to birth

encircled by grace