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New Church Perspective
is an online magazine with essays and other content published weekly. Our features are from a variety of writers dealing with a variety of topics, all celebrating the understanding and application of New Church ideas. For a list of past features by category or title, visit our archive.

Entries in spiritual practice (7)


A Common Heart

Chelsea writes of how religion, while becoming more central to peoples lives generally, is also the justification for increasing aggression between people of differing faiths. She calls on humanity to recognize our common heart, and shows us how New Church doctrine is uniquely suited to inform the growing desire for interfaith respect and love. -Editor.

Effort to understand people of various religions is needed right now in our national and global society. Religious intolerance and extremism are current issues in American society and around the globe. The combination of increasing religiousness world-wide and a vastly interconnected global society makes it nearly impossible for people of different religious identities not to cross paths. These current circumstances raise the question: is it possible under conditions of such close proximity for the world’s religious variety to coexist harmoniously?

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Using the Letter of the Word to Fight in Temptations, Part 1

Malcolm is developing his capacity to use the Word skillfully to fight in temptations. Part one of this essay addresses the power in the letter of the Word, and provides some doctrinal context. Part two? Well you are just going to have to wait! - Editor


Some time in the last couple of months I read a statement in the teachings of the New Church about spiritual combat and it’s stuck with me. I’ve been chewing on it since then—trying to think through the ramifications and possible applications of it.

Here’s the statement (preceded by a statement from a few numbers before that gives some context).

[T]here are both evil and good spirits with every man; the evil spirits are in his evils, and the good spirits in his goods. When the evil spirits approach they draw forth his evils, while the good spirits, on the contrary, draw forth his goods; whence arise collision and combat, from which the man has interior anxiety, which is temptation...

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Meditate | Bad Weather

“The fact of the matter is that no one has any understanding of truth or will to do good… When people develop a heavenly nature, they seem to have a will to do good and an understanding of truth, but the capability is all the Lord’s, as they themselves see, acknowledge, and perceive… The independent self of every human being and every angel—even the most heavenly—is mere falsity and evil… All good and all truth belong to [the Lord] alone” (Secrets of Heaven 633).

“People are unaware that each of us has a deeper level inside, and another level deeper than that, and another level that is deepest of all… Our bodily urges and sense impressions form the outermost surface; our passions and memories, a deeper layer; our loves and rational thoughts, a still deeper layer; and a will to do good and a comprehension of truth, the deepest” (Secrets of Heaven 634).

I want to invite the Lord in. Looking inward in meditation today everything inside feels cloudy or foggy. I can see the first two levels mentioned in today’s reading and have a sense of the third, but the inmost was clouded over in fog. This felt sad to me, but I remembered and thought about how the rational can serve the outer or inner self. I want it to serve the inner. In the passages I read today it also said how we invite the Lord’s mercy, truth, and goodness in by how we live. And so I feel a longing in me to be a heavenly person, to have the way opened. Thinking this, I then was reminded that I can’t just choose to be good today in my life because goodness and truth are the Lord’s alone; they flow in. So how do I make it so that they can flow in? Remove evil. I also got the message that one evil is enough. Just pick one. So here’s what I choose—the evil, the falsity associated with that evil, and the action that results:

Evil: Self-love leading to hatefulness and a love of putting myself above others and my needs above others.

Falsity: The moment requires impatience. The Lord isn’t taking care of my day and life. The Lord doesn’t give enough time so I need to worry and control to get my time.

Action/Result: Impatience with my daughter and a lack of compassion and mercy towards her.

So I can focus today on removing this evil from my life. Choose not to do it or give it action, pray for the Lord’s help, and notice when it happens, or when it is about to take over and pray to the Lord for another option. The Lord has overcome all evil so he can give me the power to overcome this in my day and life. Thank you, Lord. 


Meditate | Forgiveness

“The Lord cannot be worshipped except from charity” (Secrets of Heaven 440).

“The Lord… said that we should not forgive our brother or sister up to seven times but up to seventy times seven. This means that we should forgive as often as our brother or sister sins, without limit, or to eternity, which is holy” (Secrets of Heaven 433).

Forgiveness. I think—well, I can only know for myself—that my ego or outer self says, “Yes, forgive others without limit if…” If they repent, say. But I think this passage would have said something about that, inserted some additional clause, if that were the case. I think my role is to forgive, because the Lord is forgiveness and mercy itself. And the part of me that wants to withhold forgiveness until something that serves me has happened, like having the other person change his ways, is not of a heavenly origin. Even though a person changing his ways may be a good thing, my needing it to be so in order to forgive them is selfish and self-serving. Similar to what I’ve heard said of anger; the resentment that results from not forgiving others lives, along with all its negative effects, in the person not forgiving, whereas the other person is forgiven already by the Lord. Good things for me to think about.


Meditate | Expanding Love

“Everything good in the next life expands without limit… Life bounded by the body is such that we can’t progress any farther than loving our neighbor as ourselves, because we’re wrapped up in bodily concerns. But when these concerns have been laid aside, love grows purer and purer until at last it is angelic. Angelic love is to love one’s neighbor more than oneself” (Secrets of Heaven 548).

“The whole of heaven and its inhabitants without exception trace their origin to the Lord alone, in general and in the smallest particulars. This is the source of order, unity, of mutual love, and of happiness, because this is what causes individuals to look to the health and happiness of all, and all to that of every individual” (Secrets of Heaven 551).

It feels good to recognize that this is the order the Lord has written into life—the more bodily concerns are set aside, love is “programmed” to grow, expand, and become purer and purer until it is angelic. It reminds me of the passages in the Word about not needing to worry about what we’ll eat, wear, etc.—a.k.a bodily concerns. The Lord makes it possible; he teaches us a way to move toward angelic love while we live in the world. One way I can participate is by not worrying about my bodily concerns so much—practice putting them secondary to serving and loving others. At the same time, I get a lot of joy out of taking care of my body so I can better serve others and live in my life, do my work. So maybe that is a balance—managing my time so that I meet the needs of my bodily concerns sufficiently so that they don’t need to be central in other times of my life. And a boon to this practice is to trust in the Lord that he is providing everything that I need in order to do his will, in general and in particular, in my life at all times. 


Meditate | Livin' It

“’They are filled with the fat of your house, and you slake their thirst with a river of your pleasures, because yours is the wellspring of life. In your light we see light’ (Psalms 36: 8, 9). The fat and the wellspring of life stand for the heavenly quality that belongs to love. The river of pleasures and the light stand for the spiritual quality that belongs to faith” (Secrets of Heaven 353).

It has been really helpful to have the daily intention in my mind, “I want to be loving, kind, useful, and merciful. May that be my focus today and may I not be attached to the results of my actions.” (See last week’s meditation post). To live this way means to be living from the heart, filled with the fat of the Lord’s house, connected to Him in my heart/inner self as the wellspring of life, and to live off of His river of pleasures and see in His light. And this doesn’t mean I’m not getting anything done! On the contrary, all my actions have a more genuine source. Write because it is useful; live because it is kind and useful; act because it is loving, kind, and merciful; and not be attached to the results of my actions, but act for the action itself, because it is loving, kind, useful, and merciful. The Lord will take care of the rest.