One of the clearest things in the Gospels that we see is that the disciples don’t get it, or Jesus. This shows why following in the ways of God means constantly and consciously bumping up against him. Brushing up against God is like a traumatic experience. We experience, and it takes time to make sense of it. This is why the Kingdom of God is counter-cultural, in which it doesn’t make sense to the common mind, but, when we begin to see the unveiling of God, it makes more and more sense.
I am finding more and more as I get older that the road to God and the road to my true-self are in fact the same journey. To be made in the image of God means to constantly be in the union of God and myself. That we are, in fact, longing for what Christ had; perfect union. When I find God, I find myself. Which is why, so many of us, at least in the beginning, don’t find God until we are at the point of crisis. When we experience the end of ourselves, then God begins. The reality of God is the reality of myself.
In order to escape the isolated journey, we must realize that when we experience ourselves in his image, universally, we also experience the divine integrity of others. If all human beings are made in the image, and Jesus died because God wishes for all to be with him, then this demands an ethic of love and union with others. While this has typically been found in its narcissistic form of forcing every one to mend to my image, it should rather open us up to the fact that while God can begun to be understood, his existence will always remain some form of mystery to us. Which should help us remain open to others and strengthen our gifts in discernment and wisdom. This is the beauty of Emmanuel Levinas’ words which calls us to see God in “The Holy Other.”
This is the danger of hostility towards one another. When we close ourselves off to people, we close off a potential gateway between one’s self and God. Mother Teresa once spoke of how every impoverished person she met was a “Jesus in disguise.” To receive the presence of God in our lives, very few things will ever help us get there more effectively than receiving our own lives and receiving the lives of others; this is the divine DNA in which God chose to distribute himself. If we are not living present, then without knowing it, God is passing us by all the time.