Originally published April 13, 2007


A few mornings ago, Easter Sunday, our family was running around the house getting ready for Mass.  As is typical, I was getting myself together and hollering out to the kids to keep them on track.

“Molly!  You ready to go see God?” I asked as I walked by her door.

With no hesitation she answered, “I’m always ready to see God.  I’m just not dressed, yet.”  That tickled my wife and I, and we chuckled about it all morning. 

As I continued to remember that simple little one liner from my nine year old girl, it occurred to me that there was more wisdom there than I had first glommed onto.  When we go to religious services it’s pretty typical to get dressed up and to look our best.  Our hair is brushed, perhaps some makeup is applied, and we wear some of our nicest clothes.  It’s a special time and this sort of preparation is absolutely appropriate.

But this preparation is pretty much the same as going to a party, to work, a date, or any other social engagement.   We use these props to project to the world the person we want to be, or at least the person we want people to think we are.  Through such means we seek to cover up our weaknesses (whether that be cosmetic, social, economic, or whatever) and/or emphasize out strengths.  Again, there is nothing wrong with this; from a purely practical perspective, it makes perfect sense to keep those who might want to take advantage of our weaknesses from becoming too familiar with them, and to help folks who we might really benefit from having in our lives see how nice it would be to hang around us.  This is the stuff of human lives and has been since there’ve been humans. 

For those seeking a more immediate relationship with God, however, this preening and projecting does more than a little harm.  How can we approach the very ground of our being if we are hiding, denying, insisting, or fabricating what our essential nature is?  In two words: we can’t.  With all that energy involved in our drive to create whoever we have decided we should be (or had decided for us by family and society) our authentic self is way to busy to actually approach God. 

Mystical living is how we address this painful disconnect.  Unfortunately, mysticism is often equated with wild visions and paranormal abilities; fun to be sure, but not even close to the point of why one would choose a life of spirit.  Rather, the mystic life is one of identifying these elements that are imposed through training or ignorance and releasing them.  It’s a never ending irony that the real ‘you’ can never approach the Divine as long as he/she is carrying the fabricated ‘you’, yet it’s the fabricated ‘you’ that has to start the journey! 

Through meditation, dream work, prayer and an ethical life, we can shed those encumbrances.  Eventually, we can all be ready to see God and approach Him nakedly.  Cleanly ourselves, unclothed in the stuff that swamps our spirit, and recognizing how we are made in His image.  Not through the shape of our body or the cognition of our minds, but in the bare awareness that is fully loving and open to our foundation, the Trinity. 

So, I’ll continue to pester my little girl to get dolled up for Mass, but I hope she retains her sense of being ready to see God regardless of her state of dress.