The many ritual practices in Roman, Orthodox and Anglo Catholic Church traditions were put in place over time to remind people that Life was more expansive than it appeared to be and the mystery of Life was to be cherished and revered. Bowing, genuflecting, crossing oneself, robed priests and attendants, altars, processions, incense, bells, icons, statues, candles, daily offices, the rosary, holy days, communion, fasting and other practices were presented to awaken and expand awareness; to help people experience an internal and external living Presence.
Unfortunately, most of these external practices became ends in themselves. The essence of the practices which pointed within to the infinite and ever present nature of the Divine became something to appease a distant G-d or give a show of piety and enough-ness for self and others. Today, many of the ‘faithful‘ have let go of the practices because they became shallow vessels. Others however were able to experience an inner shift in focus through the practices to experience a greater dimension, perspective, depth and aliveness in divine Presence.
This inner shift of focus awakens us to the Ultimate Energy of the Universe called Love. The depth of this emotion creates Reverence which arouses a humble veneration and respect. The reverence the Church teaches is real when it comes from the heart. When it comes however from the rules and cultural conditioning of should, must, ought and have to, it rarely works. I spent decades playing the rules game until I finally found an inner door into what was on the other side of the veil. I discovered that Reverence is an always and everywhere practice.
To practice reverence is to feel awe, love and respect. I remember seeing my newborn son, daughter and grandson for the first time. The awesome nature of birth filled my heart with reverence and reappears every time I look into someone’s eyes. Reverence was present again as my father exhaled his last breath. The love and respect for him, his life, and his moment of passing is still with me from that timeless moment so many years ago. Standing at the helm of a sailboat in a gail with eight foot waves also triggers awe and reverence within me.
It’s been said that ‘gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies; those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.’ When did you last experience the emotion of Reverence? How often have you bowed to a flower or a tree with honor and respect? How many times have you dropped a knee in awe and reverence just because? Can you recall a moment where you felt deep love and respect?
The old and new revelation of Love is that Life is precious and not to be taken for granted. It’s to be reverenced, loved, honored and respected. How different would your life be if you did everything with gentleness, kindness and reverence? Could it be that this is the way Grace moves and Love dances? Is it possible that whoever gives reverence receives reverence and that our hearts want to teach us something here? Might it be love, respect and reverence?
- Open your heart to the beauty that lives in, around and through you, soul to soul . . .
- Take a slow walk in nature and greet what you see with gratitude. Reverently bow with grace and whisper ‘Namaste’ – The divine within me recognizes and honors the divine within you . . .