I hear a lot of negative comments about religion, but at the heart of it all is the same thing. It’s what Jesus was all about: love. Religion is not the problem. People are the problem. We forget that ultimately, regardless of our differences, we can love each other. “Church” is anywhere your heart is and the Divine presence can be felt anywhere and everywhere, if you allow yourself to feel it
The Bible is a book with a mixture of mythology, allegorical stories, and a little bit of history thrown in. Christianity is based on many ancient religions (it’s never been denied), but it is timeless and beautiful, if you know what you’re looking at and understand what is being said. Having read about world religions and practised various traditions over the years, I personally have never felt so spiritually uplifted as I do right now, but it’s okay if it’s not right for others. Spirituality, I think, is something you find on your own when/if you are ready.
All I would say, is that I deliberately shut myself off from Christianity for years, seeing all the negatives, thinking it was something it was not. A few years ago, I decided, as an experiment, to throw myself into it to try to understand what people got from it. I decided consciously not to focus on all the negatives and preconceived notions I had. The rest is, as they say, history. There was a point where the jigsaw puzzle all fitted into place. I’ll never forget that feeling of love radiating out from my heart, connecting me to the Christ energy, when finally I understood.
(From The Gospel According to Thomas)
Then some of those disciples said to Yeshua:
“Tell us who you really are, so that we may believe in you.”
He replied: “You are testing the FACE of Heaven and Earth.
You are studying The All [the manifest universe]
without recognizing the Divine One that inhabits everything and everyone. You do not see God, literally everywhere. But you do not even know how to truly live in just this moment, without an agenda.
“When you finally see ‘The I’ within yourself, you will emotionally melt in joy and you will know that the I AM and the ‘I’—Its manifest expression— are One. If you have seen ‘the I’ within, you have seen your I AM Self. 91.
When you perceive one not born of woman
[seeing the Christ Expression perform its work within you]
then lay Down your ego personality and its mental habit patterns,
with which you have identified and protected all these years,
and just let them go. STOP leaning on your old habits.
Live spontaneously now, in the moment, without an agenda, and you will be led by the Divine One, and you will live in the frequency of Bliss.
Humbly honor only that birth-less and death-less Divine Life Force in you. Worship That One … with time spent together … within.
Make the purification and vibrational increase of your Temple [body]
the first priority; for that is the first glimmering of re-union
with the great I AM of you, in you, as you. 15.
from the Lachlen Paul French translation of The Gospel According to Thomas
I was brought up a Protestant, but there was very little I could grasp and understand about Christianity within Protestantism, much as I tried. I did occasionally go along to church with my mother, but it was because I loved singing. That was the main thing I connected with.
However, I knew I was religious – or wanted to be. I had my first religious experience when I was 17, driving through the Highlands. The sun rays were coming through the clouds and lighting up the mountains in a most peculiar and magical way. I asked the driver to stop the car and got out to gaze at the scene, awestruck and filled with a sense of spiritual wonder. I said to my companions, “If God exists, then that – for me – is God.”
I looked at various different faiths like Buddhism and Spiritualism. Eventually I found paganism and that offered something I could grasp, seeing the actual material world spiritually. I knew it wouldn’t stop there, but it gave me a start, a very good foundation, and that spirituality eventually extended to the idea of the cosmic soul, the Divine energy that is in and around everything. I still felt there was much to be discovered, though.
Even as a pagan, I would say Catholic prayers and novenas after having experiences with angelic beings and connecting with Our Lady. I speak with the angels and they always seemed to respond in a very profound way. They answer my prayers and they never let me down.
All through this part of my journey, I still knew that at some point I would discover Jesus. I felt he was there, and I felt that we had an understanding, but I knew I didn’t really comprehend him yet. However, I had faith that I would someday.
A few years ago, I decided to throw myself into really trying to grasp Christianity, so I attended the midnight mass at St Aloysius on Christmas Eve and watched online masses to see what people got out of being a Roman Catholic. I eventually realised, to put it in terms that I understood as a hypnotherapist, that the priest was providing something akin to a counselling service. The mass was therapeutic, giving people advice in whatever situation they may find themselves in which might cause them anxiety, or pain, or anguish. It also provided community, something which I have found to be missing in my life, and something I know many people feel is missing in theirs. One time in Greece, my mother and I sat on the balcony of our hotel listening to the priests singing in the Orthodox church below at dusk. Afterwards, family and friends all traipsed out, talking and laughing. It was a real sense of community, which I felt was missing in my own life and generally in the world.
As I began to understand Christianity through the eyes of Roman Catholicism and, it has to be said, through the eyes of a pagan and Gnostic, I still knew that I could never become a Roman Catholic because I disagreed with their philosophies and rules on homosexuality, divorce, celibacy in the priesthood, contraception, and women priests. Also, very importantly, I still hadn’t figured out Jesus yet, which greatly bothered me.
I had begun to get ‘signs’ like seeing crosses, and I had two different psychics walk up to me and tell me there was a cross on my forehead. Neither of them knew me, nor did they know that just months before my father had died, he did the exact same thing!
As my knowledge grew, through my love of symbolism and allegory, I began to understand the meaning behind many of the mysteries. I really started to enjoy seeing what it all meant and how it could all be applied. I actually got to the point of considering starting a new religion that would be very similar to Roman Catholicism, but without all the rules that don’t gel with our modern world. I envisaged this religion would also teach the mysteries of the symbolism within Catholicism. It would enhance their meaning to the worshipper, giving them a spiritual understanding they could apply to their own lives, ultimately bringing them closer to God.
One night, in the same way I would normally speak with angels, I decided it was time to speak directly to Jesus, and I asked him to reveal himself and let me understand him in a way that was right for me. It felt like it was time to do that. I had been guided towards Christianity and even to the priesthood, but if that was to happen I would have to be able to perceive him in a way that would suit me and everything I had learned up until now.
The very next day, I heard Bishop David Parry speaking on a radio show about Gnosticism and emailed him straight away to get him on my show to discuss it. It was exactly the road into Christianity that I needed. To be able to add mystical understanding to Christian myth, but that it did not necessarily negate Christian history or Christ, that’s what I was looking for. Then we spoke about the Old Catholic Church and those two things i.e. ancient Catholicism and Gnosticism, answered my prayers.
All this has been a calling, because I know that there is something missing in our society and I believe that many people are looking for a bridge between the usual Christianity, perhaps especially Roman Catholicism, and the modern world. Even although it’s the Old Catholic Church, it is more modern in thought and provides something that many people need in this day and age.
Old Catholicism and Gnostic Christianity both, in my opinion, bridge the gap between the modern neo-pagan movement and Christianity. I know pagans and Roman Catholics who find they can relate to these two paths and are very interested in finding out more. This suggests to me that there is likely to be more people out there who want the same.
I have received so much angelic guidance over the years that has brought me to this point. Now I am looking forward to the next part of the journey and being ordained into the priesthood with the Apostolic Old Catholic Church.
Your friend, A.D.