Our kingdoms and houses divided

Published 7:00 am Saturday, October 6, 2018

By Fr. Jonathan Filkins

Rancor is a valuable commodity to our persons, or so it seems by the recent discord so rampant in our media, conversations and viewpoints.

Seemingly gone from our rationales is the ability to be rational. Our viewpoints, which have been corrupted by the incessant onslaught of extremes, seem to originate from our very nature and negate the efforts of more controlled actions and thoughts. Such realities directly affect each of us, those around us and humankind overall.

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While most lamentable, these “corruptions,” while revolutionary to us, have existed from the beginning of Creation. Adam and Eve began the saga, when they felt necessary to ignore the truth of God, fall from His grace and reside in the earthly nature of sin-full living.

Yet, what this familiar story does not tell us, does not reassure us, is the reality of Heaven here on Earth. We seem so hell-bent on claiming we earthbound mortals only have sin and the pitfall of everlasting damnation. It is a sort of “trial by fire,” with little hope. Well, it is all about hope.

Saint Paul relates, wrote in his Second Letter to the Corinthians, “I knew such a man…such as one caught up in the third heaven.”

Biblical scholars tell us that the Third Heaven is where the throne whereupon is the seat of God. The Second Heaven are the heavens above. Any guess where the First Heaven is located?

The amazing truth is that it is right here with us. No, through our actions and attitudes we often fail in accessing this real truth. So often, our natures obscure the perfection we may so earnestly see; but then only on our own terms. Regrettably, our stoic positions require us to, “arm-wrestle” with God,” and…expect to win! Consider how misled we can be.

Our disputations are created at our own peril. Saint Mark’s Gospel tells us, “If a kingdom be divided against itself, then that kingdom cannot stand.” Like the Heavens, we require some clarification.

The third kingdom is our relationship with God. The Second is our relationship with our society and our world. The first kingdom dwells within ourselves. Each kingdom relies on the others for being in God’s grace, taking care of God’s creations and our neighbors and finally, taking care of the kingdom within ourselves. Each requires nurturing, patience and understanding.

It is so easy, in the sense of acquiescing to the baser natures of life, to embrace the combative, sensual and prurient. We may bewail the travails we experience in our lives. Yet, consider the life of Jesus Christ, who suffered often and gave up His life for us. We, should accept Him as our Savior and rely upon our relationship for eternal life.

However, our hearts may not speak to this hope. We may even deceive ourselves in the belief. In holding out for unity, the Great Deceiver may withhold the actual truth.

Are our Kingdoms in order? The actual truth is, they are not; for we are imperfect. Yet, we are mandated, commanded to relive the struggles with ourselves, humankind and our Creator, as we seek God’s order. When we, both individually and collectively, are divided, then there is little strength for us. Only the darkness shines and that is a very dark place indeed.