Wednesday, 11 March 2015
Ruminating on Rebirth
Posted by Supertradmum
Lately, as I sit and read and pray in a house by myself, I have been thinking of the ending scenes when the character, Bowman, (an evocative name), sees himself in a high French Baroque room at different ages, aging until he is an ancient man dying in a bed.
The scenes show Bowman watching himself age in silence. Everything is prepared for him, food, comforts, and so on, until he dies and is resurrected a some newly perfected fetus, who seems to return to Earth.
Not withstanding the various atheistic interpretations, what has been brought forward in my memory is the similarity between the cleansing of the soul, moving into Illumination and finally Union with God and these scenes. One looks clearly at one's entire life of sin while one is in the silence of the Dark Night.
Silence and complete detachment for all humans and the commerce of humans leads Bowman to reflect on his life in stages. Like the person going through the Dark Night of the Soul, being purged of all sin, including venial sin, and becoming someone new, Bowman sees himself only in silence and in being alone, without the comfort of others. He is being prepared for some type of purification which is symbolized by the perfect fetus.
Now, only God, the Trinitarian God, can make one perfect and new. But, Christ Himself had an answer to the old question of renewal.
Bowman reminds me of Nicodemus, who asked how a man could enter his mother's womb again to be reborn.
In my own life, this imposed exile which I am experiencing, is the death of self and the complete detachment of all things I love. I have learned to love in detachment, in objectivity. As one's body grows older, one's soul should be made younger. As one intelligence is quicken by grace, one sees more clearly the role of Divine Providence in one's life, even in using sin to bring about God's glory.
To live in silence, except for spiritual direction or necessities, reveals one's complete reliance on God. Like Bowman, I have to rely on God for all my needs, all.
Like Bowman, one must have no anticipation for anything but God.
It is interesting to me that some people who have the last name of Bowman have adopted an ancient motto for their families. This motto is Numine et arcu, meaning God's Providence and my bow. The archer is an ancient symbol of independence, like the yeoman, and one who seeks to find the center of the bull's eye. As in my earlier post yesterday, keeping focused is a necessity in the spiritual life.
Bowman is born again. So, too, are we, if we keep God's Providence and our bow, which means our own skill or gift, together. The gift is life, and the Giver is God.
Of course, one can be aiming for the wrong thing, like Isabel Archer in the novel, Portrait of a Lady. She missed the center of the target by choosing money and status over love. We can do the same without detachment and silence. Her name is ironic, as she over-arched herself and ended up unhappy in her wannabe choices.
Let us be like Nicodemus, becoming humble in the night, asking God the real question of life--How can I be reborn?