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Who Are The Children of God?

The following passage is from The Bible, but similar topics/writings can be found in the Sacred Texts of religions the world over...

1 Corinthians 13
1Suppose I speak in the languages of human beings and of angels. If I don't have love, I am only a loud gong or a noisy cymbal. 2Suppose I have the gift of prophecy. Suppose I can understand all the secret things of God and know everything about him. And suppose I have enough faith to move mountains. If I don't have love, I am nothing at all. 3Suppose I give everything I have to poor people. And suppose I give my body to be burned. If I don't have love, I get nothing at all. 4Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not want what belongs to others. It does not brag. It is not proud. 5It is not rude. It does not look out for its own interests. It does not easily become angry. It does not keep track of other people's wrongs. 6Love is not happy with evil. But it is full of joy when the truth is spoken. 7It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It never gives up. 8Love never fails. But prophecy will pass away.
Speaking in languages that had not been known before will end. And knowledge will pass away.

9What we know now is not complete. What we prophesy now is not perfect. 10But when what is perfect comes, the things that are not perfect will pass away. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child. I had the understanding of a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see only a dim likeness of things. It is as if we were seeing them in a mirror. But someday we will see clearly. We will see face to face. What I know now is not complete. But someday I will know completely, just as God knows me completely. 13The three most important things to have are faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love.

So many people of ANY religion tend to think that someone who practices a different faith than theirs is destined for spiritual disaster come the end of his/her life. I've been told by more than just other Christians that I'm going to Hell because I'm a Catholic & a Buddhist. But as my life and spiritual path have evolved, I have come to realize that it doesn't matter what religion, faith, or spiritual practice we have and do, except that we LIVE IN LOVE. Not a self-centered, human love, but an altruistic, all-encompassing love. One that loves the other person even if that person is killing you, defaming you, hating you, or using you. As I have traveled my spiritual path, I have seen men and women of ALL religions and faiths (and even pagan faiths and other non-faiths) say that they follow a loving decree which their particular path calls for, but TRULY live far from that. It is like they pray, or chant, or sing their prayers and chants about love and forgiveness, and then when The Holy Spirit puts a test before them they forget what they just prayed, chanted, or sung that they would do! I have come to realize that "The Children of God" are not comprised of people from ANY ONE PARTICULAR FAITH, but are comprised of people who LIVE IN LOVE...ALTRUISTIC, SELF-SACRIFICING LOVE THAT SHOWS NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN FRIEND AND FOE! If "God IS Love" as The Bible says, than it only means that those people who LIVE IN LOVE, must be LIVING IN GOD (AND WITH GOD)! They might be Buddhists, Muslim, Jewish, Native American, or whatever, but if they live with complete love for all people of all faiths, with no distinction between friend or foe, they are CHILDREN OF GOD. As God does NOT REJECT ANYONE...it is people who reject God, especially if God does not appear the way that the person thinks God should appear! Too many times, people who are representatives of their faith play the part of "speaking for God", and reject people of other faiths, condemning their beleifs simply because they are unfamiliar.

Why does living in love make one a child of God? Because not long ago a young Zen Buddhsit came up to me and asked me how can I love everyone? I could never love everyone. The young man could see no way to have a true altruistic love, to live in love and to love everyone. How is it possible that we can love even those who hate our very existance? The answer is, without God it is IMPOSSIBLE. St. Therese of Liseux knew the answer so long ago, she would let God love others through HER. Likewise, she would love God in them. Also, being a buddhist and a Christian the relationship between the two is one way, my Buddhism helped fulfill God's command to love everyone equally. I now understand the relationship is two ways, it is my christianity that helps me make sense of other paths to God...other paths up the mountain to the summit...that would otherwise be undecipherable to the western mind.

From the book: Sermons of a Buddhist Abbot, by Soyen Shaku:

Now the word Nirvana means "extinction," and it means the eradication of all evil desires, of all passions, of all egotism, so that the flame of envy, hatred, and lust will have nothing to feed upon. This is the negative side of Nirvana. The positive side of Nirvana consists in the recognition of Truth. The destruction of evil desires, of envy, hatred, extinction of selfishness implies charity, compassion with all suffering, and love that is unbounded and infinite. Nirvana means extinction of lust, not of love; extinction of evil, not of existence; of egotistic craving, not of life. The eradication of all that is eveil in man's heart will set all his energies free for good deeds, and he is not genuine Buddhist who would not devote his life to active work and usefulness that would refuse neither his friends nor strangers, nor even his very enemies.

Now, there are many faiths in the world today that do not have a central "God" in them. They practice a faith that might center on rituals, rites, or meditation, with no thought or contemplation on Any All-Knowing God. A practictioner of such a faith, might think that they "live in love" but I offer this..."you will know them by their fruits." Does this person's life truly exemplify living in love...ie that they love EVERYONE regardless of that persons Spiritual tastes, econimic status, or sexual preferences? Peace be with you.

Sister Juliemarie
of the Sisters of Embracement

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