Review of "The Yoga of the Sacraments"
by the Revd Br Sergio Perez Melo
This view or idea of the sacraments as a form of western yoga was first expressed in those terms by Blessed J I Wedgewood in his writings, where he calls the eucharist a form of yoga in the sense that it is a ritual that by its symbolism and by its energetic effects brings the participants into a degree of “ Holy Communion” ( which is basically what Yoga means - Union ) with the Christ energy/Spirit. And in so doing it spiritually helps the communicant to advance in his/her evolution, in his/her journey towards Christhood , which is the goal of Christianity. Naturally - and Abbot Burke clearly articulates this point - the spiritual help will be directly proportional to the degree of willingness and openness of the person receiving the sacrament, as well as the karma of the individual .
He also makes very clear the true meaning of the sacrament of absolution: it is a "yoga of spiritual healing". Basically in the Liberal Catholic view, absolution is a way of re-aligning ourselves with our inner divinity by acknowledging our shortcomings (where we still fall short of the ideal of Christhood) and receiving grace from the Holy Spirit to continue our journey strengthened by good intentions. This reaffirmation of our spiritual identity as sons of God, loosens any invisible bonds to negative energies. What Absolution is NOT, is an erasing of karma, because as St Paul states in Galatians 6:7 : “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap”. We will all have to work out our own karma, since that is the law of God, but absolution helps us onwards by giving us grace to create good seeds of positive evolutionary karma; straightening out the ripples in our aura caused by negative actions and thoughts, and eventually leading us to our next step in evolution.
Another very important part of the book is the chapter related to Holy Orders and the understanding of the polarity issue, where the male energies of the priest and the feminine Holy Spirit polarities come together to confect the sacrament. I have not seen it explained this way before, except perhaps in Van Alphen’s catechism where something similar is said.
He also related the story of the “ad experimentum” ordination of three women involved in the Theosophical Society by C W Leadbeater. It was done in the presence of several clairvoyants and some of the ordinands themselves were also psychically developed. The conclusion was that the ordination did not take hold, and it actually physically shocked and disturbed their balance for quite a time after. Clearly Bishops Wedgewood and Leadbeater were not women haters, since they were both co-masons and theosophists, a movement started by a woman (Blavatsky) and which at that time was presided over by another woman, who was their foremost collaborator, Annie Besant, so this reaffirms once more the invalidity, and even the danger of ordaining women to the Christian priesthood. He then mentions deaconesses in passing by saying that they have always existed but their role was one of teaching and auxiliary pastoral care.
In fact he says that oriental Christians think that there is only one force flowing through all the sacraments: "Divine Grace", and that also comes down to the devout person who sincerely opens up to God in meditation and prayer, outside of a sacramental context. This chapter is very much in tune with the last chapter of "Religion for Awakening" by Bishop Pigott, which expresses the same idea.
All in all great, enjoyable, to the point and I would say vital reading for liberal/esoteric/gnostic Catholics, both laity and clergy, because truly at its core Liberal Catholicism is a Christian Yoga of the Sacraments.