Lesson 21- Jesus and the Left Lobe
When I ended my last program, I had just finished my discussion concerning the theories of Sigmund Freud who had said that the human mind was composed of three principles: the Id, which was our animalistic unconscious mind which operated according to a Libido or Pleasure Principle; the Superego, or Conscience, which repressed, or held down, the blind, impulsive desires of the Id by imposing moral laws and taboos on it; and the Ego, which was our Conscious Mind or Real Self, that tried to create a blend of the other two by finding a socially and morally acceptable way of resolving the conflict between them through a process called sublimation.
Thus, sports became a way of sublimating the Ids aggressive impulses to defend territory and to display male dominance. Marriage became a way of sublimating the Ids impulsive and chaotic sexual drives by channeling them into a legally binding commitment to the mother and the child. In fact, what we call civilization, according to Freud, is nothing but the results of the creation of social institutions which were created by the Ego to resolve the conflict between our animalistic impulses and the moral laws which are necessary for social harmony.
According to him, human beings would not be able to live in groups nor would civilization have been possible unless the Superego, or lawmaker, was able to suppress the blind impulses of the Id, which was a lawbreaker. In fact, the word "civil", which is found in civilization, means "government", as in "civil servant", and government means to "govern or to bring under control" through the creation of laws and restrictions. Thus, it is the job of the government to make, judge, and enforce laws which are necessary for social order and justice. Without it, human society couldnt exist or, where it did exist, our world would be like the natural world of the animal kingdom where the "strong dominate the weak." Instead of the laws of justice, where the rights of all are balanced, there would be the laws of dominance, where "might made right." Thus, among primitive people, like the Kurulus and Wittai of New Zealand, women and pigs, which are the signs of social status or rank among the men, are constantly stolen from weaker men by stronger men and there are no legal recourses for those who are weaker. Women in these tribes, who rank beneath pigs in value, are constantly being raped or changing hands as the men play their game of dominance. Thus, it appears, that the farther we go back towards the roots of human society, the more animalistic life becomes and the closer we come towards modern civilization, the more rationalistic we become. "Truth and right" replace "Strength and might" as the basis for making decisions.
And who do we have to thank for all of this? Well, if the Bible is correct, it is Jesus, the Light of the World, who has been leading the human race out of the Kingdom of Mental Darkness or Gehenna, where animals live, into the Kingdom of Mental Light or God, where rational beings live.
Unfortunately, we have muddied our theological understanding of God so much that most of us, even when we are worshipping Him, dont clearly understand who He is or how He interacts with us. We know the words but we dont understand what they really mean. And, since our understanding is so clouded, we become poor transmitters of our faith to our children and that is why they fail to value it and drift away from it as they grow older. We are, as the Bible says, the "blind who are leading the blind" and, as the Bible also says, we and our children are both destined to "fall into the ditch." It is impossible to help someone else understand what we dont understand. Tradition has replaced true understanding.
Recently, a music group known as Majestas, with whom I am connected, gave a concert and one of the songs that we sang was "Everybody Ought To Know Who Jesus Is." We chose this song because not everybody who talks about Jesus really knows who He is because, if they did, they would be a lot more appreciative of the role that He plays in our life. In fact, if all of us understood who Jesus is, our entire life would become one of constant praise and thanksgiving because we would suddenly realize all the gifts that He is constantly bestowing upon us which we take for granted.
Who is Jesus? Well, He goes by many names. Hes the Good Shepherd, the Suffering Servant, the Narrow Gate, the Prince of Peace, the Pearl of Great Worth, the Morning Star, the Son of God, the Truth that sets us free, the Light of the World, the Bread of Life, the Incarnate Wisdom of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Word or Logos who created the universe which is found in every human being. Each one of these titles speaks to some dimension of His personality but there are two titles which most accurately speak to His essential nature. The first one comes from Jesus Himself when He says, "I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me shall not hunger; he who believes in Me shall not thirst." And unless you eat My Body and drink My blood you shall not have life within you."
Once we know, as I have mentioned before, that the Jews believed that the flesh ate bread and the spirit ate Wisdom and that they referred to Wisdom as the Bread of Eternal Life then, all of a suddenly, the clouds which blurred our theological understanding start to clear and we begin to understand who Jesus really is. He is, as the Church has always taught, the Incarnate Wisdom of God and that our souls hunger for Him. We also begin to understand why some who leave the Church go because, according to them, "they are not being fed." Fed what? Fed Wisdom. In other words, they are going to the sacrament of the Eucharist and they are eating the Body and drinking the blood of Jesus, the Incarnate Wisdom of God, but they dont know how to properly use the sacrament and, therefore, fail to gain all the available graces. God is sending but they are not receiving.
Jesus has physically entered their being and is available to help them to find what they are seeking and to the open the doors on which they have been knocking. But, many, being caught up in the world, have no deep questions for Him to answer or doors which He can open for them because, being rooted in the flesh and the world, they have a limited mental life. Unlike the wise man in scripture who "by pondering Gods laws day and night is like a tree planted near living waters whose fruits will never die," they live in the dry desert of the flesh where they ponder their own self interest and how they can accumulate treasures on this earth which rust and moths will destroy while failing to store up the treasures in heaven which will last forever.
You can read them scriptures from the Old and New Testaments and from the Acts of the Apostles and the letters of St. Paul and others, which is done at every Sunday Mass, and you can even tell them that "This is the Word of the Lord" but they are only half listening or not listening at all. You can sing songs based on scripture and the psalms but they arent singing or even listening or bothering to read the words. And that is why one day, when tragedy strikes or death draws near, they suddenly sense a deep emptiness within themselves and a gnawing hunger for something that they cant identify. Something is missing but they dont know what it is. Maybe its a new car, or a cruise, or a trip to the Casinos, or a new wife. But each attempt to find the answer in the flesh only leads to a greater sense of the emptiness and meaninglessness of their lives.
Even though, throughout their lives, they may have attended the Banquet of the Lord by going to Mass and sat at His table, and even eaten His bread, they never digested what they received. They came to the event unprepared and, although their body was present, their heart was somewhere else. When the Lord tried to speak to them, they were distracted by so many worldly concerns that it was obvious to Him that He was wasting His time trying to communicate with them. He was even willing to talk to them on the topic of their choice so long as they were willing to listen to His perspective on it. But they had never learned His mindset because they had never listen to or pondered the scriptures where the mind of God is revealed. While they are plotting their revenge on someone who has offended or taken advantage of them, they cant hear Jesus saying, "Love your enemies. Do good to those who harm you. If a man demands that you walk one mile with him, walk two. If he demands your hat, give him you coat too."
Even if they had heard and remembered these words, they had never pondered them and, at least on the surface, they seem absurd to anyone rooted in the world. As the scriptures say, to God the wisdom of man is foolishness and to Man the wisdom of God seems foolish for our ways are not His ways. Let me give you an example from my own life.
Many years ago, I bought two bikes with the thought that my wife and I would go biking on nice Sunday afternoons. Well, like so many good intentions, we did it a couple of times and then the bikes were put in the garage and forgotten. Years passed and then, in the 1970s there was an oil embargo by OPEC and the price of gas soared from $.33 a gallon to $1.40 if you could get it. Cars were lined up for blocks waiting to get to the gas pumps and, when they got there, they were told that the limit was five gallons. As a result, my interest in bike riding was renewed. I peddled everywhere and, not wanting to go through the inconvenience of constantly opening the garage to get my bike, I began locking it to the railing on my front porch.
One night, my wife and I went out to visit a friend and when we returned, I sensed that something was wrong as we entered the house but I couldnt decide what it was. The next morning, I got up to go to daily Mass, and discovered that the bike was missing. Someone had cut through the chain and stolen it. My first reaction was I hope that son-of-a-gun got hit by a truck as he was peddling down the street." I was furious and my imagination began to conjure up who the unknown thief was. It was some smart aleck teenage who was laughing and mocking me because I was stupid enough to leave my bike unattended and he was clever enough to steal it. My anger grew and my stomach began churning.
I decided to walk to Mass and as I knelt down in the pew, I knew that my feeling of hatred and revenge for the thief was inconsistent with my Christian beliefs and I openly acknowledged this to the Lord. At Communions time, I said, "I know that You said that I should love my enemies and do good to those who hate or abuse me but I have to tell you the truth. I dont feel that way. I really hope that he gets hit by a car."
And the Lord said, "You're very upset and agitated by this arent you?" And I said, "You can bet your life I am." "Do you think that being upset and agitated is good for you?" "No, I guess its not." "Do you know why you are upset and agitated?" "Sure, I do. Its because this person took my bike!" "Well, how important was that bike to you? You had it for ten years and never used it and you still have another bike in the garage." "Yes, that's true, but that son-of-a-gun took advantage of me." (Let me pause here to say that I have cleaned up my language a bit because this is a religious program but when I was talking to the Lord, I let it all hang out because it was my uncensored heart that was speaking.) "So," said the Lord, being the logician that He is, "what really is upsetting you is not the lost of the bike but the feeling that someone has taken advantage of you." What could I say? He had me. I couldnt dispute His logic. "Well, I guess so." "Well, why don't you remove that problem by making a decision to give him the bike." "What!" I said. "Give him the bike! Thats ridiculous! First of all, why should I give him my bike and secondly, how can I give him a bike that he has already stolen from me?" "Didn't I tell you that if a man demands that you walk one mile with him, walk two and if he asks for your hat give him you coat too." "Yes! I remember reading that." "Well, why do you think I said that?" "I don't know. It sounds pretty wimpy and stupid to me." "Well think about it. Youve lost your bike, which you already admitted was not essential to your life or happiness, and you dont know who took it and you will probably never find out. So that harm is done and over with. Correct?" "Correct!" I said. "Yet, your spirit is in turmoil and will remain in turmoil because you think that someone has taken advantage of you." "Yes!" I said. "But no one can take advantage of you if your generosity exceeds their demands. If they say "walk one mile with me" in an attempt to impose their will on yours and you reply, " Oh friend, if you really need my company, let me walk two miles with you."
And it they say, "Give me your hat!" and you say "Friend, it a chilly day so let me give you my coat too" you have reversed the psychological impact of the situation by changing a demeaning experience into an uplifting one. You may have lost some time and given up a coat, which only impacted your physical being, but you have preserved your inner peace which is far more valuable than any physical loss which you might sustain." I was speechless because I knew that He was telling me the Truth and that it would set me free from all of the inner anguish that I was feeling.
Then he said, "Do you know who took the bike?" I said, "No! But I have my suspicions. It was some smart aleck teenager who has no respect for the rights of others. I can see his smirking face now." "And how does that make you feel?"... "I want to punch him right in the face!"... "Yet, since you really don't know who took it, you're free to imagine anyone that you want. Isnt that correct?" ... "Yes!" I said... "Well, suppose it was an unemployed father of ten who needed transportation to get to a new job. How would that make you feel?" ... "Well, that would be different." ... "If you knew that," the Lord said, "Would you have given him the bike?"... "Why, sure I would." ... "And how would you feel about it?" ... "Why I would feel very good about being able to help a father support his family. In fact, if that was the situation, I would probably be willing to buy him a bike." ... "Well, since you don't know who took the bike, why do you insist on nurturing the version that causes you the greatest inner turmoil and anguish rather than the one give you inner peace and a sense of fulfillment?" ... What could I say? His logic was impeccable so I said, "I don't know. It does sound stupid of me when You put it that way." Then Jesus said, "Then why don't you decide right now, for you own sake, to give the poor man the bike."... "Okay, I will but I still have feelings of resentment." ... "Feelings," He said, "don't count. They are neither good nor bad because they are spontaneous and arise without any decision on your part. Actions are what matter because, as a rational being, you are free to reflect on those feelings and evaluate whether it is in your best interest to follow them or ignore them. And, in the case involving the bike, it is in you best interest to ignore your feelings of resentment and replace them with feelings of generosity.
Well, that was it. I had taken in the Body and Blood of Christ in communion and had had a "heart to heart" talk with Him. I hid nothing. I told it to Him like it was and I listened to His responses. But the conversation could never have taken place unless I already knew His mind set through my habit of reading and pondering the scriptures. However, thats not the end of the story because, as I left the church, I was laughing to myself. "This is ridiculous," I thought. "How can I give away a bike that I no longer have? The whole thing is a sham." Well, the Lord took care of that.
A few hours later, I got a call from a friend who said that he had been talking with my wife and she told him that someone had stolen my bike. "Did you have it locked on your porch?" he asked. "Yes!" I replied. "Do you have home owners insurance?" ... "Yes," I said. 'Then all you have to do is report it stolen to the police and your home owners insurance will pay to replace it." I was just about to say "Great! when I stopped and said, " I can't report it stolen to the police." ... "Why not?" he asked.
"Because it wasn't stolen, I gave it away."
You know what? I have never suffered a bit of anguish or regret over that bike. In fact, every time I think of it, it fills me with a sense of fulfillment and amusement. I learned so much from that incident that the value of the bike pales in comparison to the value of the Wisdom that God gave me through it. My spirit was fed that day by the Bread of Life and it gave me treasures that will last for eternity.
Surely Gods ways are not our ways but if we are willing to listen, He will teach us. How many people, suffering a similar type of loss, spend the rest of their lives filled with resentment and distrust towards their fellow humans over the loss of some material object which was not essential to their lives or happiness and all it would take to set them free is a change in perspective.
Thus, when we go to communion to receive the Bread of Life, we should go with the expectation of entering a dialogue with the Wisdom of God who is anxious to hear the deeper issues which are on our heart and who is always ready to lead us to the Truth that will set us free. If He doesnt change the situation, He will definitely change our perspective of it. And very often, it is our perspective which needs changing more than the situation. But this cant happen if we dont know the mind of God which is revealed through the scriptures and if we dont advantage of everything that the Church offers us to prepare us to have a more intimate relationship with God. Often the people who say that they get nothing from Mass are the same people who bring nothing to it. While we are singing "Amazing Grace" and pondering the significance of it in saving us from the Kingdom of Darkness, they are humming "Fly Eagles, Fly" to themselves and pondering the Eagles chances of going to the Super Bowl. They are the horses that you can lead to Living Waters but you cant make them drink.
Think about it. Has there ever been a people who have been more exposed to the scriptures in the Bible through education, the Mass, and the songs sung in Church, than Catholic and who have such little understanding and appreciation for them? Sometimes it appears that we are the most taught and least informed of all Christians.
Sometimes its the fault of those who lead us because they are in the same boat as some of us. Their lives are on automatic pilot because they are going through the motions of real devotion to God. They say the right words and perform the right ceremonies but their words and actions lack the vitality that signifies true understanding and commitment. Because they dont ponder the scriptures that they read or reflect on lessons that life is teaching us all the time, they cant communicate the deeper Wisdom for which our souls hunger. Thus the scriptures read at Mass, which are suppose to inspire us, and the homilies that follow, which are suppose to clarify them by demonstrating their application to the issues of life, often fail to do either. Thus, when the miracle of the Eucharist arrives ready to plant its seeds of Wisdom it finds the ground in the hearts of some recipients to be hard and rocky. The Word of God cant take root either because the tillers of the soil failed to prepare it, or the soil itself is barren of the necessary nutrients for Wisdom to grow. What both the tiller and soil have to know is who Jesus really is so that they can understand His direct connection to everything that relates to life.
I have already discussed how, among His many titles, the Bread of Life, which is Wisdom, speaks to His essential being because, according to the scriptures, God used His Wisdom to create the universe. Which leads us to the second title which helps us to understand His essential nature. Proverb 8 says that Wisdom was the craftsmen that God used in the beginning to create the universe and John I says, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God and everything that was created was created by the Word." Obviously, Wisdom and Word are the same being and yet I have met Christians, both Protestant and Catholics, who miss the connection.
One Protestant commentator, whom I greatly admired and still do, once asked his listening audience what was the first thing that God created. I thought of things in the physical universe and was shocked and surprise when he said that it was Wisdom. God never created Wisdom because to create means to make something outside of oneself. Wisdom or Jesus, as the Nicene Creed states, was "begotten not made; one in Being with the Father... God from God; Light from Light." In other words, Wisdom or Jesus was an offspring or child of God, not a creature. Thus, although this Protestant commentator was a sincere "born again" Christian, he didnt know who Jesus really was. On another occasion, I was attending a retreat and the priest asked for all the titles that apply to Jesus. When I said, "Incarnate Wisdom", he became confused and didn't seem to know what I was talking about. And yet, this is the title which speaks most directly to the essential nature of Jesus.
Now if Jesus is the Wisdom of God, and the Wisdom of God is the same as the Word of God, and if in the original Greek Word is spelled LOGOS from which we get the word LOGIC, then, it logically follows that Jesus is the Logic of God. And, if as John I further states that this Logic of God, who created everything, was the light that was found in every human being, then, it logically follows that if I can locate the seat of Logic in human beings, then I will know where Jesus resides in every human being. And if, as modern psychology has discovered, that the thing that separates us from the animal kingdom is the fact that we have a logical left lobe that reflects on an intuitive right lobe, then it logically follows that the left lobe or hemispheres of our brains is the seat of logic within us and, therefore, is the Jesus in every human being. And if Jesus is the Logic in every human being, then everything that we have that flows from this logic comes from Jesus. And, if logic is responsible for civilization, government, law, justice, math, technology, science and all the things that we associate with order and harmony, then Jesus is the one that we have to thank for all of them for, without His residence in the left hemisphere of our brains, we would be animals living in a primitive state of Mental Darkness or Gehenna and subject to the blind impulses and drives that rule the natural world. Through the gift of the left lobe, we are lifted, like Helen Keller, out of the hell of empty thought or Gehenna, which is the natural world of animals, into the supernatural world of rational thought and, if Helen Kellers description of that transformation is accurate, it is comparable to being taken from hell into heaven.
This suggest that there is truly only one way out of hell whether you be a Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Moslem, atheist, or agnostic. Only the Logos of God, which is found in nearly everyones left hemisphere, is capable of conscious thought and is therefore capable of logically understanding the Truth. And, of course, as Jesus had said, "The Truth will set you free." Without the Truth or the ability to understand it, we would be eternally locked in a subjective prison of "empty thought." Therefore, logic says, hell is not a place that we are going to but, rather, a place that we are in so long as we remain part of the natural world. In order to get out of it, we must be "born again" to a supernatural level where reason and knowledge replace feelings and instincts.
This should be a wake up call for those parents who allow their children to feed their animal nature through the games and entertainment that they allow them to experience. Their job is not keeping them from going to hell but rather helping them to get out of hell and, if they fail, and the Gospel message is true, then these children will die in the only world that they ever knew and spend eternity in Mental Darkness. They will be among those that St. John described when he asked, "Why does God condemn Man? Because the Light (of Understanding) came into the world and Men loved Darkness."
Jesus, the Logos within us, did not come to condemn us but rather to save us from Gehenna by bringing the Light of Understanding into our world of Mental Darkness by advising us to seek the Truth. In fact, He said that He would send the Spirit of Truth who would reveal to us all things.
So who will be saved? All those who love and seek the truth? Will it be only Christians, or Catholics, or Protestants? No. In fact, according to the scriptures, many of them will be shocked when they discover that the Lord wont even recognize them at the Last Judgment. As Jesus once said, "Not everyone who calls me Lord will enter the Kingdom of God but only those who do the will of My Father."
This, by the way, is the teaching of the Catholic Church which says that every person is obligated to follow his/her conscience even if it is wrong. Of course, the Church also adds that it is the moral obligation of each person to do his/her best to inform their conscience by making every reasonable effort to explore the issue to learn the truth. But, if through no fault of their own, they dont know the real truth, they are obligated to follow the truth, as they know it. Why is this so? Because God is looking at the disposition of their hearts, not at what they are doing because ultimately that disposition is what He has to work with.
Let me give you an example so that we can see how God might look at it. Suppose I have a person who knows the real truth but fails to follow it and there is another person who has a false truth but is diligent in following it. What do I know about the hearts of these two people? I know that the first one wont follow the truth even when he knows it but the second one is willing to follow any truth once it is revealed to him. There is no way that I can save the first one because no matter how much truth I reveal to him, he refuses to follow it. However, the second person is easy to save. His problem is ignorance. Once he becomes convinced that something is true, he has already demonstrated that he will commit himself to following it because he obeys his conscience which is the repository of what he believes to be true.
Well, I see that my time is up. I will have a little more to add to this next time. Heres Dom.
Addendum not used in this tape
Where did the Church get this idea that sincere non-Christians could be saved? From the Bible and from St. Paul who in Roman 2:9-15 :"There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil: the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good: the Jew first and then the Greek. For God shows no partiality. All who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the laws will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. When Gentiles who have not the laws do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them."
Did you hear that? " Their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them." And where is this conscience? Well Freud said it was the Superego which was the lawmaking part of the mind that made civilization possible. And, according to modern brain research, it is the logical left lobe which is the lawmaking brain that creates structure in our world. And, according to St. John, the seat of logic is the Jesus in every man. So to follow your conscience is to follow Jesus according to the level of truth which He has succeeded in revealing to you.
Well, by this time your brain should be sufficiently scrambled and I am out of time.