My Writer's Journey
"The Spirit of truth will testify to me, says the Lord, and you also will testify."
- John 15:26b, 27a -
- John 15:26b, 27a -
"I never realized until now that the Bible would have so many signs and symbols. It's like a treasure buried by the inspired authors," I told my angel. "The frankincense, myrrh, and gold—it's amazing that these symbolize Christ's role as priest, prophet, and king."
"And mirrors your call as priest, prophet, and king."
I thought that was right.
I had a call to pray and worship -- priestly role,
to preach, teach and spread the Good News-- prophetic role,
and the call to serve and minister through my work-- kingly role.
"The Power of Three," he said, and I laughed.
Indeed, there it was again.
"You know why the use of signs and symbols?" he said.
I raised my eyebrows. Why, indeed?
"Because you don't want to throw pearls to the pigs who would merely trample on these treasures. Some truths are hard to swallow, so you hide it in symbols. The graver the truth, the more powerful the symbol. But be careful with symbols because some meanings of symbols change through time and events."
“The cross used to be a symbol of shame,” he continued. “Death through the cross used to be very demeaning and associated with heinous crimes. But Jesus changed its meaning. Now the symbol of the cross means salvation and freedom from our crimes and sins. The cross is honored and glorified in memory of Him who allowed himself to be hanged on such a demeaning wood, a tree so that those who embrace this tree, this cross will have life. It is the antidote for the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil which gave us death. This is the tree of life, the cross, and its fruit is Jesus, our source of eternal life. Just like the symbol of the serpent, which used to denote evil and the cause of our death. But when Moses took a serpent and mounted it on a pole, it denoted healing for those who believed.”
“But there are times when something becomes both a symbol and a sign, like the cross. The symbol of the cross had become the Sign of the Cross. Why do you make the sign of the Cross? Remember the door post that the Israelites had to mark with the blood of the lamb, so the angel of death will pass over them and spare their firstborn child from death? In the same manner, the Sign of the Cross marks you as a child who had been saved by the shedding of the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus.”
“It is a sign of salvation. So do not be ashamed to make the Sign of the Cross. By it, you mark yourself as a child of God. Early Christians signaled to other Christians their belief through the Sign of the Cross. It was a sign that they are to gather together at some catacomb and celebrate the breaking of the bread, away from the eyes of Roman soldiers who were ordered to kill them. It was a powerful sign of unity and community, of fellowship that they belonged to a church that believed in one faith—that Jesus Christ had risen and is alive, among them, with them and in them through the breaking of the bread. So make the Sign of the Cross with as much reverence as you have in your heart for by the Cross you have been saved.”
“Don't make the Sign of the Cross in haste like you are swatting and shooing away flies, mosquitoes, and gnats.”
I lowered my head, ashamed and nodded.
"So do you know the difference between a sign and a symbol?"
I sat in silence. No, I didn’t. "That is a good question," I said.
"Funny how you compliment me to hide your ignorance."
I turned red—a sign of my pretentiousness. "Alright, I don't know. That is really a good question because I don't know how to answer that. My best guess is that a symbol is a subjective representation of a belief. It can change. When it has transformed into an objective representation of truth and reality, it becomes a sign."
"So bury the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God through signs and symbols,” he said, “just like the parables. So they will look but not see, and they will hear but not understand."
I marveled at this. "And it is through the Holy Spirit that I'm able to decode the hidden message, to unearth a parable within a parable, within a parable."
I remembered the Russian doll. You pry open one and inside you find the same doll but smaller. And when you open it, you find another smaller one, and so on and so forth.
And it came to me, another hidden meaning for the Parable of the Sower for a writer like me.
His words of inspirations would fall on many aspiring writers. But the words would fall on different paths—the unbelieving hearts, the rocky ground where the word will be received with joy but they have no root, so they fall away in the time of trial, and then there are those writers who hear but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit.
"I don't want to be those kinds of writers," I told my angel. "I want to be a rich soil where His words of inspiration will bear fruit and nourish my readers. I want to be a moist and fertile soil."
"And you shall be, for as long as you continue to drink the water of prayer, bodily disciplines, and spiritual reading,” he said. “God will nurture the word with His living water, air and light."
I smiled in my musings. There it was again, water. Leitmotiv.
"And symbolism," my angel added, reading my thoughts. "If He is the living water, you shall be like a mikvah."
"What?" Then I remembered Anne Rice's book. She described mikvah as a pool that the Jews used for purification where water flows and drains continuously.
So if I am to inspire as a writer, I need to be like a vessel that captures the water and has a hole that allows the water to flow freely so it does not stagnate. To become like a mikvah—a vessel of God's living water that purifies—I shuddered at the immensity of the call.
And I cried.
"Why do you cry?"
"Because I am not a mikvah. I am more like a broken vessel… a leaking clay pot."
"But don't you see, it is because of your leakiness and brokenness that makes the water flow freely—the living water. Remember, the water that drenches the soil will fulfill its purpose and does not come back to the heavens without having done what it had been sent to do… to moisten the dry soil of men. You just need to listen."
"In the silence of your heart. In the prayer of the quiet, where you do not speak, but you merely sit and wait for Him to speak. To say, `Speak Lord, your servant is listening.' To be ready to obey when He speaks, because the antidotes of pride and disobedience are humility and obedience."
I was struck. I remembered St. Bernard's writing regarding the ear, of how it was the instrument of our fall. It was through the ears that the words of temptations were whispered. Therefore, God had to keep the ears intact. We may not see Him, but we shall hear Him. It will be through the ears that we shall be brought back to Him. 'Hear o sinner so that you will see.' Everyone was blinded, but the ear was left intact. Therefore those who hear need to believe before they will see. To believe is to see, and not, to see is to believe. Faith. That is faith. And it will be conferred by hearing. And to hear, someone needs to proclaim… a prophet…
My thoughts ran like a train on mag lev. My angel had to pull it back to a screeching halt.
"Did you not wonder that when you read, the ear hears? There's a voice that speaks in the mind when the eye does its function."
So I paused and turned back my attention to him. Read and hear a voice. So I did. And yes, there it was. I heard it! My voice, my real voice. Deep in my mind. It is beautiful. It is the divine voice that speaks to my Divine Lord, his mirror voice image within my soul. Created in His image and likeness. My soul. Light for light. Love for love.
Once again, my angel pulled me back to a halt.
"Conform your natural voice to that divine voice. A voice lesson of sorts. Make it as your standard. Soon you shall speak your divine voice in the natural way. Then the ears of the called ones will hear," he said.
I nodded. I remembered the lecture on Death and Dying. My teacher said the ear is the last sense that goes away when one is dying and dies. So whisper to the ear of your beloved. Tell the departing soul your prayer intentions that you want to raise to heaven.
"Listen to the silence," my angel blurted through my thoughts. I was running a commentary again. I smiled sheepishly and fixed my attention on him. "That is where God is. Listen to the white noise. That is where you can speak to Him. Ignore all the other noise. Seek that static sound. It's like a radio frequency to the spiritual realm. It's a frequency where you and God can communicate apart from this world. It's a frequency where He can impart truth to you. It's a frequency where you feel relaxed and calm and joyful and happy. It's the frequency of prayer and meditation."
"You're right,” I said. “In the morning I feel like my mind's molecules have scattered everywhere and I had to draw them all back into me and unite them to God's Spirit so I can hear Him well. Otherwise, it just collects all these noises from around me and feeds me with all sorts of worthless and useless information. But when I gather them together and unite them with my body and spirit then my soul hears God clearly. It's like it had filtered out all the noise around and only feeds me with God's voice. Then I start hearing Him talk to me through people around me, events around me, books I read and just a silent knowing of what He wants of me."
"It signifies that all your bosons had gathered together,” he said, “and all your senses are recollected and waiting for Him to speak. Go to that frequency as often as you can throughout the day, and He shall lead you and I can guide you."
"Look it up," he said and I googled.
"It's some subatomic particle that's too technical for my dull brain to understand," I said.
"To listen in God's radiofrequency, a frequency where you can discern His will, is to gather these particles together."
"Gather—oh, you mean, when I come to His presence before I pray and after I read His words…"
"Yes, what do you do?"
"I collect my scattered thoughts and put them on a leash then I let silence settle in my mind. Wipe it blank. I listen to the sound of silence. It's like collecting back my thoughts when I wake up to remind myself of who I am, where I came from, where I'm going, like what you said…. Oh, it's recollection! I collect my scattered bosons."
"That's how you shall put yourself in God's presence. Stay in that SRF throughout the day and you shall be calm and at peace at all times, well disposed to hear His voice and commands, and obey His will."
"Just a code for you, a symbol of sorts: Spiritual Radiofrequency."
"The white noise…"
"Listen to it."
I did, and I noticed that when I was anxious and worried, I didn't hear the white noise. Or when I had negative thoughts about other people. I had to ask pardon for those thoughts before I could hear the white noise again.
So that's why Jesus first greeting to his anxious and fearful disciples was "Peace be with you," because without peace they cannot hear Him. It was imperative that the apostles and disciples let go of anxiety, fear and worry for them to hear Him, to forgive and be at peace with one another, to hear His voice. It was even more crucial when He would ascend to heaven because they would no longer see Him but would depend on their spiritual ears to hear His voice from within, the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Peace be with you. Be at peace with yourself and with one another because unrest and absence of peace will block the SRF.
A sort of tampering of the Spiritual Radiofrequency.
So I started to listen for the white noise during my runs. I noted that it was easier to hear and dwell on the SRF when I was outside because it resembled the sound of the gentle wind constantly blowing and rustling through the leaves-- swoooosh, the merging sound of cicadas-- chhhchhhchhh, the sound of flowing water chshchshchsh.
The sound of silence.
My angel seemed pleased.
Search for that SRF. It's like looking at 3D illusions. Once you break through it, you see a different realm and dimension. You'll see that the waves and patterns that you encounter in this world have a deeper meaning. You find a parable within a parable within a parable. The more you look deeper into it, the more your eyes open to a different image and reality, to different signs and symbols.
I vowed never to underestimate the power of signs and symbols again.
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