A continuation of our series of postings on the early Christian writings, the mystical Odes of Solomon, written in Apostolic times.
Open ye open ye your hearts to the exultation of the Lord, and let your love abound from the heart and even to the lips.
To bring forth fruits to the Lord–a holy life, and to talk watchfully in his light.
Rise up and stand erect, ye who were sometimes brought low.
Ye who were in silence speak, for your mouth hath been opened.
Ye who were despised be lifted up, now that your righteousness has been lifted up.
For the right hand of the Lord is with you, and he will be your helper.
And peace hath been prepared for you, before your war ever happened.
Hear the word of truth, and receive the knowledge of the Most High.
Your flesh may not know what I am saying to you, nor your garment what I am showing to you.
Keep my secret ye who are kept by it; keep my faith ye who are kept by it.
And understand my knowledge ye who know me in truth; love Me with affection ye who love.
For I do not turn away My face from My own, for I know them.
Before they came into being, I took knowledge of them, and on their faces I set My seal.
I fashioned their members. My own breasts I prepared for them, that they might drink My holy milk and live thereby.
I took pleasure in them, and I am not ashamed of them.
For my workmanship are they, and the strength of My thoughts.
Who then shall stand up against My handiwork? Or who is there that is not subject to them?
I willed and fashioned mind and heart, and they are Mine. And upon my right hand I set My elect ones.
And My righteousness goes before them, and they shall not be detached from My Name, for it is with them.
Pray and increase, and abide in the love of the Lord;
And the beloved ones in the Beloved, and those who are protected in him Who lives, and those who are saved in him Who was saved.
And ye shall be found incorrupt in all ages, on account of the Name of your Father. Alleluia.
–Eighth Ode of Solomon
- Open ye open ye your hearts to the exultation of the Lord, and let your love abound from the heart and even to the lips.
The necessary thing here is to open our hearts, then everything will follow as it should. But what is the heart? Not the organ that pumps blood, but the very core of our being which is the pure consciousness that alone is spirit. We need to open our consciousness, our spirit, but a multitude of things are in the way: body, emotions, desires, mind, intellect and will: all of which have been distorted by our chaotic earthly experience.
They are meant to be instruments for our evolution, but instead they are instruments of stagnation and often regression rather than progress. Unless they are purified and made responsive to our spirit it will never be fully opened because they are like mountains of debris under which it is buried. Not only that, but they are continually being mistaken by us for our spirit and erroneously called “me” by us daily.
What shall we do? Vigorously take up interior life through meditation and order our life scrupulously to conform to and reflect the principle found in the Bible: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (I John 3:2-3). Until we do this we shall neither exult in the Lord nor love him from the heart.
- To bring forth fruits to the Lord–a holy life, and to talk watchfully in his light.
The primary things we should be offering to God are a holy life and a consciousness illumined by the Divine Light that is God himself. For “talk” is not a typographical mistake for “walk” but literally means that every word and thought are to proceed from a mind filled with God’s Light: his Consciousness. Such a person can say with Saint Paul: “For to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21).
- Rise up and stand erect, ye who were sometimes brought low.
The force of cosmic evil and delusion is called “the Devil” and “Satan” (Revelation 12:9). Devil (diabolos) means “false accuser” or “slanderer,” and Satan (satanas) means “adversary.” This terrible force, called “Mara” by the Buddhists and “Maya” by the Hindus, completely undermines us in many ways, not the least of which is to get us to adopt wrong ideas about ourselves.
Belief that we are weak, unable to prevail against evil or that we are evil or somehow “wrong” is a major ploy used to paralyze, conquer and dominate us. Those who have fallen and been “brought low,” are fooled into thinking that they cannot rise or stand upright. But we can snap this psychic hypnosis in a moment and do exactly that, for it is our nature to rise and stand tall in body, mind, and spirit. It is delusion that is really weak, not we.
- Ye who were in silence speak, for your mouth hath been opened.
At the time of Jesus it was common to speak of “having a voice” in the sense of being able to affect or direct something, to wield personal power to actual effect, as in having a voice in government. The fundamental power of human life is “the word,” the ability to put forth our will and make a change in something. Many people think they are spiritually mute when they are not.
One of the most brilliant minds I ever encountered was that of an elderly lady living in a tiny town in the Midwest. Intelligent as she was, she had the delusion that she was blind, and I more than once heard her tell people: “I’m sorry, I’m blind.” She was not mentally ill, so I have no explanation for it. But this I can say: she had the most challenging mind I had ever met. It is the same with many people: they think they lack abilities they have abundantly.
I have known intelligent people who thought they were stupid, and beautiful people who thought they were ugly. One of the most beautiful women I have ever seen told me more than once: “I am hideous,” and believed it firmly. Why? Because her father told her throughout her childhood that she was ugly and “looked a sight” and “was a mess.” It was impossible to get her to see herself in any other way. In the same way, the Liar tells us we cannot do what we can do easily. And in that way we become stymied and stagnated.
- Ye who were despised be lifted up, now that your righteousness has been lifted up.
Of course, some of these illusions have nothing to do with this present life, but are carried over from previous lives in which we may really have been the way we now think we are. Some people develop abilities they did not seem to have in the previous parts of their lives. One day it just surfaces, having been there all along but unseen. I have witnessed people suddenly manifesting artistic and musical abilities–some of them in their early sixties.
It is the same with spirituality. Even if in the past we were filled with faults and “sins” in time we can become “lifted up” and free of those old bonds. Saint Francis had nothing in his past that indicated his future holiness. Saint Catherine of Genoa was a empty-headed worldling, and one day after receiving the blessing of a priest she jumped up and shouted: “No more world! No more sin!” and was a saint from that moment on. Most of us, though, have to lift our own inner righteous up and bring it into the light of day. That is what spiritual practice, especially meditation, is all about.
- For the right hand of the Lord is with you, and he will be your helper.
This is the secret: the power of God is within us to accomplish all things. “Because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
- And peace hath been prepared for you, before your war ever happened.
Before we even began the “war” to overcome ignorance and sin and attain wisdom and holiness, our success was assured. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).
Next: Part 2 of Ode 8–Tuning Into God: Growing in Knowledge Through Spiritual Life