A Homily on the Liberal Catholic Act of Faith
by the Revd Fr Sergio Perez Melo OSBA
Bishop C. W. Leadbeater , that old champion of Theosophy and the Liberal Catholic Church , wrote this Act of Faith to be used in the short form of the Liberal Catholic Mass, in lieu of the longer Nicea-Constantinople Creed . The longer creed while a venerable formula full of esoteric meaning for those who can understand it beyond the mere appearances of the letter ( see The Christian Creed , by C. W. Leadbeater for some great insights), is sometimes not very well understood by most of the people reciting it. So with that in mind Bishop Leadbeater came out with this universal truths act of faith, which he himself subtitled “ A Rational Creed”, in the sense that it could be agreed on by most free thinkers of the type that were attracted to Liberal Catholicism .
We believe that God is Love, and Power,
and Truth, and Light;
that perfect justice rules the world;
that all His sons shall one day reach His feet, however far they stray.
We hold the Fatherhood of God,
the Brotherhood of man;
we know that we do serve Him best
when best we serve our brother man.
So shall His blessing rest on us and
(+) peace for evermore.
God is Love, how so ? How could God be Love when we see so many tragedies around us ? The Christian scriptures state the same thing in the First Epistle of St. John : God is Love , but what Love is being talked about here ? Is it a sentimental or sensual type of love ? Is it a love that shows partiality to some and doesn’t care for others. What is this Love ? The answer I have found so far after meditating on it, is that this Love is Unity, the Unity of All in God. As another great theosophist and collaborator of Bishop Leadbeater, Dr. Annie Besant put it in her marvellous mantram: "Oh Hidden Love , embracing All in Unity. That Unity in God is the Love of God, it is the Force that keeps together and brings together all Creation". It is a literal Love though, as it has been experienced by many mystics and near death experiencers, that sudden flash of Unity feels more full of ecstasy than thousands of earthly unions with a loved one. The Love of God is the Love that keeps on giving, it is the constant Thought that holds everything together, and therefore it is mirrored down here in the unconditional charity of those who give their time and energy to others in service, asking for nothing in return.
God is Power .
I guess that is an easy one, since clearly the Intelligence of the Universe is mighty, powerful. Just look at the Sun and we see literal Power there. The Intelligence behind all this must be Power itself then. Albert Einstein the great scientist declares: I just want to know the thoughts of God. Science tries to understand Deity’s wonderful Power in the physical realms, and maybe some day will go beyond it and will be able to understand the non-physical as well.
God is Truth.
Here Truth (Sat as would be the term in Sanskrit) means more than what we normally make it to mean, stating facts . Truth here in my opinion means the state of absolute existence. Truth is what Is, and All that Is is God ( or as the hermetic initiates would call Him the ALL) . Also in God there is perfect Knowledge because in Him all is contained. It is interesting to point out that both advanced yogis and mystics, as well as near death experiencers, have experienced a feeling of Knowing ALL and understanding the purpose of It ALL in their expansions of consciousness . It is perhaps because they have contacted that God which is in essence Truth.
God is Light .
Again another statement that comes straight from the Christian New Testament, again from an Epistle of St John, the beloved apostle and the patron saint of Gnostics. Light and Fire has been the symbol of Deity since times immemorial. People have literally worshiped the Light and its source the Sun in many cultures. Now this Light spoken of here is beyond, although encompassing the physical Light. It is the supraphysical Light, the Christ Light, the Light that blinded St Paul, the Light that the yogis behold in the spiritual eye, the Light prayed to in the Gayatri Mantra of the Vedas, the literal Light that near death experiencers feel so attracted to, that Light so spiritual , so loving, so embracing that calls them home, that Light that is the Light of the Spiritual Sun, the Light that shines in every creature, yes the Light that is Christ Himself, that Christ in You the Hope of Glory… The Mystery of the Light is the mystery of God, and like all mysteries it is ineffable.
A hard one to swallow if we only look at the appearances. So much negativity and cruelty in our human history. How could it be that a perfect Justice rules the World when good people sometimes go through bad things while tyrants seem immune to any punishment. Believe it is a difficult one for me, but still sages of old have always talked of Karma, that Law that gives to every action a reaction, and they inform us that everything that happens, happens for a reason, hence what looks like a crazy world to our eyes ( and of course our physical world is not the only world) is indeed an effect of causes that act mathematically, hence there is Justice because each action is always balanced by a reaction… For those who clamor that this doctrine is oriental and not Christian , I will just point you to Galatians 6:7 : Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.
That all His sons shall one day reach His feet, however far they stray.
This one is difficult for non-esoteric Christians. We are all used to hearing about the doctrine of Hell, and to believe that if you are very good, well, then you will go to Heaven, if you are not that good then you go to Hell for eternity. Well good news, many primitive Christians did not believe so. Even great Fathers of the Church like St. Clement of Alexandria and Origen believed and were public about the doctrine of Universal Salvation ( or ultimate union with God) for all God's children. Who are these children? The sparks that once came from the Source and that like the Loving Father he is, he is waiting for their return after their rounds in matter. This is what the parable of the prodigal Son symbolizes, and this is what makes sense in a God who is Love and Unity. How is this achieved? well some point to multiple incarnations on Earth for successive learning and purification, other point to continued learning on the other side of life, the non-physical worlds after we disincarnate. Truth is, none knows for sure, but there is at least some evidence for some souls having multiple incarnations on Earth. One of my favorite books about the topic is Life before Life: Children's Memories of Previous Lives, by physician Dr Jim Tucker in which he details several cases of very well researched and documented cases of children remembering their previous incarnation. Maybe we should remember that the same Bible in the Gospel of Matthew says "Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him. "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, "‘from the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise'?"
We hold the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man :
This is clearly symbolic in the sense that the Source is neither male nor female , it is both because both aspects are included in it. Father is here meant in the sense of Begetter, origin or source. That Hidden Father to which Jesus prayed, and whom he exemplified by the good patient Jewish Father of the Prodigal Son, is the Father of All, therefore as we are All spiritually of the same source, we are brothers and sisters, we are all of the same origin and we all have that dignity. And for sure if universal brotherhood was more widely recognized and acted upon we wouldn’t have most of the problems we do as humanity.
We know that we do serve Him best when best we serve our brother man.
So shall His blessing rest on us and (+) peace for evermore. :
Here is the key to spiritual evolution . Christianity is a religion of Service, Jesus-Christ calls us to do good, to love one another, that is to serve. That is practical Christianity, to show compassion and to be of assistance. It is hard sometimes but it is the Narrow and Sure Way. Again we are assured that if we do the best we can and serve God through serving our brother man, the Hand of His Blessing will rest on us, and we will experience the Divine Peace, which the apostle described as surpassing all understanding
To finish, I would recommend my readers, if they feel so inclined, to learn this beautiful prayer by heart and repeat it as often as you can. It will not fail to bring you closer to God and His Goodness. It will protect you, guide you and uplift you when you need it, and it may even be for you a pathway of grace to that Mystery of Mysteries which is Christ , the True Light .
May our Lord God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost bless us all (+) AMEN