" For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory." (Doxology from the Didache)
In a recent post I spoke of how we create "ugly little kingdoms" for ourselves. We are like selfish little despots ruling over our kingdoms with iron fists. Woe to those who don't abide by the rules of our kingdoms! The rules of these kingdoms may be enforced by anger, intimidation, manipulation, silence, withholding love, impatience, grumpiness, a sickly sweetness, sarcasm, verbal abuse, judgments...and the list goes on and on. The manifestations of these kingdoms can be very subtle or quite obvious.
Let's use road rage as an example of someone whose heart is full of anger. Have you ever been stuck in front of a person who is in a rush to get somewhere? They honk, make gestures, and yell because you have interfered with the rules of their kingdom. The honking and gestures are ways of intimidating you through fear to get you moving faster. This person truly believes that his life is more important than the person's in front of him. We see this on the road so much these days.
Our kingdoms aren't always as obvious as this. Ever held onto a grudge for a while? Ever get home to a messy house, pat yourself on the back for not saying a word about it, meanwhile your heavy sighs are saying it all for you? Ever sit in church and grumble in your head about the noisy children in front of you, "Good grief! Why don't they stay at home if their children can't behave in church! And what's with these new Mass changes?!"
Still not subtle enough? How about this:
Have you ever gone through a day without thinking about yourself once? (Not counting normal care of the body or prayer and examination of the conscience.) I attempt it and fail every time. Were it not for our fallen natures we would be quite unaware of ourselves. Instead we wear masks and facades because we are overly aware of ourselves and fear showing ourselves in our utter fragility. And yet it is this very fragility that calls out sweetly to the Lord. Who could fail to help a child?
Which brings me to the next point:
Only the REAL you can enter Heaven. The ego is the false self and cannot enter God's Kingdom. This false self is what the Lord is trying to rid us of. There are no masks or facades in Heaven. God purges us and tears down our false kingdoms because He LOVES us, not to hurt us. He knows these things have no place in Heaven. He doesn't want an impostor pretending to be someone they are not running around His Kingdom. Besides, this would cause immense suffering in that person because they are in the presence of God which allows no falsehoods to stand. He wants His child that He created in all his or her unique spiritual beauty. The real you is utterly acceptable to Him and deeply loved and cherished, for He created you. You are one of a kind and irreplaceable.
God can always see the real person inside of us. He seeks this person, even if he or she has become so covered in the muck of sin that they don't seem recognizable to others. He knows and recognizes them and wants to heal them. I often hear people say, "God loves you just the way you are." Yes, He certainly does love us, but maybe the truth is:
God loves us too much to leave us just the way we are.
Like so many today, I have walked in darkness. When the Lord called me out of this darkness, I heard Him. I have seen so many glimpses of His Kingdom since then.... but the truth is I am still as yet unable to stay in it permanently. I KNOW the joy of His Kingdom but because I am still in a state of purgation I lose sight of it often. The purging is good, I am assured of God's healing but I often wish it were finished. I joke around and ask the Lord, "Is today the day?"
The point of this post is that we CAN begin our heaven on earth. As I said in Kingdom of Darkness, hell is a state of being as well as a place. The same is true of heaven. With God's grace, we can reach the holiness to which He calls us to and dying would be as simple as walking through a door since heaven already reigns in the heart.
First we must renounce our own kingdoms. I do this every day. We all have personal agendas whether we are aware of them or not. These agendas keep us from being truly free.
So what are we asking for when we pray? Are we asking for God's Kingdom to come? Or are we really saying "My kingdom come, my will be done."
Something to think about.