Charleston: Sacred Within Each of us
“Do not be shy about claiming the visions you have seen. I know that in our time and culture it is not as common for people to speak of their spiritual visions, but that does not mean the visions themselves have ceased to appear. The Spirit still sends messages to each of us, images that are unique to our experience, flashes of meaning for us to interpret and understand. Some we seek, some come unbidden, but all are authentic parts of a spiritual life. The sacred is a visual realm. Wisdom is in what we see.” Bishop Steven Charleston daily Facebook page, June 27, 2018.
We pass by the town of St. Ignatius in the Flathead Indian Reservation on the way to Glacier National Park. The name of Ignatius is sacred to so many of us for what this saint taught us from so many years ago. I have previously visited the church there at the foot of the Mission Mountains which is well known for its original biblical paintings on the ceiling and walls painted by one of the brothers, believed also to be the cook! My daughter tells me that there also had been a school there where the students were punished if they were caught speaking in their native Salish language. The Jesuits were so certain they were doing the right thing changing the native Americans into Europeans.
This is a constant reminder for me that we as well sometimes can be so assured about the God of our understanding and what we have to share that we forget to honor that part of God in our neighbor we are trying to help. Our hope is that we will first always honor the God of the understanding of our spiritual friends. We may tell them about the God of love we know and share our experience, but we do not insist that this is the only way to encounter God.
Each of us has a part of the divine within. Our job is to realize that part of God within us and help those we meet to find the God within them and look for similarities in our relationship with God. We also learn so much from others about the divine present in their lives and honor it, and care for it. It is precious.
Today we are beginning to realize the power of native American spirituality that so many for so long were certain was not really God.