By Kaelanne Jordan
The notion of development in an integral consciousness requires all to understand that it is both our action and God’s action working in harmony that brings the development into being.
What emerges out of this notion is a “much more humble person. Once one realises ‘I can’t do this [on my own]’, then I realise I’m dependent on God and that God has given me innate energy, and that’s what will sustain me in the long run.”
So said Archbishop Jason Gordon during an Ask the Archbishop live chat on Facebook November 17. The conversation on social justice was hosted by Darrion Narine, Programme Coordinator, Archdiocesan Ministry for Migrants and Refugees (AMMR) with guest Daniel Francis, entrepreneur, personal development coach and author of Millennial Mind.
The Archbishop observed that there’s so much self-help literature that convinces people to believe they can do it by themselves. “I’m not the architect of myself because I did not design myself. But working with God in co-responsibility, a much better self can emerge constantly…” he said.
On the one hand, he warned persons against forming a dependency mentality. “That is really on the lowest level of development,” the Archbishop said. On the other hand, “you don’t want to push people into a place of believing, ‘pull yourself up by your bootstrap’.”
Archbishop Gordon commented that in any theory of development, there exists a “dangerous” heresy called Pelagianism.
“And that misses one fundamental point—that we are fundamentally flawed and in need of salvation. And it’s not that God came to give us a little ‘bligh’ to make it easier, it’s that without God we can’t come to salvation, or the best version of ourselves….”
Responding to a question on how persons can get involved in social justice within the Church regardless of their level of spirituality, Archbishop Gordon shared that touching the wound of the poor and marginalised settled him spiritually. “It’s a vital stage of spiritual development everyone should meet. Even if you believe that God don’t exist, that’s ok, come and touch the poor, come and do something for some other being and something about your life will change,” he said.
Narine posed this question to Francis: how does working for oneself help the social justice cause? Francis said that understanding one’s purpose has a great role in the aspect of social justice.
He explained when one engages in deep self-reflection, it shifts the thinking of ‘how can I gain?’ to ‘how can we gain?’.
“How is what I’m doing affecting others? It’s more adding a touch of empathy to what I’m doing.”
In giving some tips for maximising one’s full potential, Francis recommended persons set clear, specific goals for their lives. He said simple daily routines such as one’s morning routine can have a great impact on one’s life.
He advised persons to eliminate unhealthy habits once they recognise these are not part of their purpose.
Commenting on this, Archbishop Gordon said habits are so important as they form much of who we are. Positive habits can have an exponential impact on one’s life, and vice versa.
He added that all have an innate value as a child of God. The habit of seeing people as a part of the Divine, the Archbishop said, is a very powerful antidote to the “foolishness in our society”.
Crucifixion – asking subversive questions