By Matt Riegel
In the Liturgy of the Hours, a line in the prayer of intercession states, “You are our Redeemer, who made the Immaculate Virgin Mary your purest home and the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit, make us temples of Your Spirit forever.” What does it mean to be a temple of the Holy Spirit?
It might well be said that this is the entirety of the path of integration, the path of theosis, our oneness and union with God. This is what Meister Eckhart called the One Path, and the Sufis call the Great Work. But in our Christian tradition, we might call it theosis, quite literally the absorption in and a taking on of union with God, to make divine.
But there are practical considerations as well. Those of us on the One Path who are not monastics, must still live normal lives. We must attain spiritual maturity in the midst of our earthly pursuits, and prove ourselves effective in the world, as members of society, as parents, as lovers, as whole human beings. Indeed, a psychospiritual integration that leaves out any aspect of the human experience must be considered incomplete and unfinished.
If we are to become temples of the Holy Spirit, to grow into spiritual maturity to reflect the Light of God, then where does this reflection happen? It is in our true selves, our souls, and our nervous systems. Where is the bulk of our wounding, our neuroses, the darkness within us, that which separates us from God, if not in our nervous system? We might call this purification of mind and spirit catharsis, the divine therapy, which rightly leads to theoria, a glimpse of the pure, unapproachable Light, and true nature of God. As we polish our mirror, it begins to reflect this Light of God more and more clearly, and to the greater benefit of all around us.
The One Path that we take is to develop our nervous systems through the Christian practices and disciplines of the mystic tradition, to develop our physical bodies through the disciplines of exercise, diet, learning to breathe well, to develop our sense of interdependence with all of life and to grow our altruism and compassion, to develop the priority of common cause, to develop in social relations, to develop in family and conjugal relations, to develop an abundant livelihood through the quality of our work, to become stewards of the natural environment, and to develop a grasp of the Truth of God, and attain the grace of theosis in this life, as we yearn for the presence of God, like refugees.
We pray, then, with the whole Church on this solemnity-day:
Heavenly Father, You prepared the Virgin Mary to be the worthy mother of Your Son. You let her share beforehand in the salvation Christ would bring by His death, and kept her sinless from the first moment of her conception. Help us, Father, by her intercessory prayers to live in Your Presence without sin. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.