Grand Canal after sunset, Venice - Italy

Matthew 7:13-14
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Recently, I was having a discussion with a friend of mine- what makes me Christian- or better, what makes me such a strong Christian.  As a former soul searching person, as a practicing former Buddhist, as one whom had studied religions such as Baha’i, and a former Protestant, it truly was a great question.  So I thought on it.  I thought on it last night, and I am still thinking on it now.  But, as always, the best I can usually do is not verbally, but usually in writing.
As a Buddhist for a year, I studied the practice, the meditations, it’s teachings, it’s practices of peace and love- all of which were not necessarily harmful to others- not necessarily bad lessons.  But the more I learned, the more I realized it became destructive to my soul.   You see, the main point of the Buddhist is separation from suffering- separation from the earthly vessel, and from the cycle of their belief in reincarnation into other realms of existence whether on earth or into ghost, or into demons, but separation into absolutely nothing.  Nothing, being bliss, or as they see it peace, the ultimate goal, the absolute cessation of existence- or samsara- or nirvana.  Although the practice of selflessness, peace and love are common in Buddhism they are taught so that the practitioner in Buddhism may be reincarnated back to human the most treasured form, so that one may meditate and find separation and reach nirvana as the other forms cannot. There are many religions that we can garner understanding of.  Many religions that teach peace and understanding, and compassion.

But it our faith that is most beautiful.  As Christians, and as believers in Christ, God himself took flesh so as to redeem us and bring forth new life within us and redeem us from our sin.  He became man, to understand us, to live with us, to save us.  He suffered through His passion, to give us new life, within Him.  Truly, our sins are redeemed through His love, and His passion.  For God is us, and we are within him.  No other religion- no faith- can promise us everlasting life, through the redemption of sin, and the belief in our eternal father, and the sacraments he has bestowed upon us to relieve us of that burden and suffering within sin; if only we give ourselves to His love, and redeem ourselves to His will and ask for His forgiveness and give ourselves over to His compassion, and His mercy.
Some scholars even argue that Christ himself, because little was known between his childhood story in the Temple and his baptism by John the Baptist even traveled to the far East and learned the Buddhist principles because they are so simple.  But let us not forget.  GOD IS LOVE.  Matthew  7:13-14 teaches us a valuable teaching from our Lord.  We often do not listen.  We do not listen to our hearts, our souls. The gate is narrow, and is not easy. We do not listen to the love, the grace that God gives us, the light of God that is present; the spark, the love of God within each in every one of us.   The Buddhist meditation tries to snuff this spark out, where our meditations look within, connect us with this love, and then with exuberant declaration scream with utter joy the peace and love of God- “Thanks be to God”.  Our sufferings are there to tie us ever closer to Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.  Our sufferings are there to remind us of His sacrifice to us.  That He was the new Adam- the reason He came down; not for the Jewish chosen people of God, but for the all of mankind; to save the world from sin, to tie us with love- which is our Father in Heaven.  This is love.   Many other religions, have monotheistic God’s, but let us always remember, no other, not Islam, not Judaism, not Baha’i, had the one true Messiah, in Christ, that we knew existed, for His followers had testament of his rising from the dead, documentation of it, and WERE willing to DIE for this testament, no matter the cost.   Thousands are still being slaughtered right now today, in Iraq and Syria.  Women are being raped, children are being beheaded with their heads being put on stakes, and their fathers are being executed.  May we take the time to pray for them right now and until this evil ceases, and remember why we are Christian.  May we pray for these Martyrs. Let us also remember the beauty of the gifts of our Sacraments, for no other faith has them: Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation , Marriage, Holy Orders, and Anointment of the Sick.  Let us remember what they mean, let us embrace them, and let us remember the gift that they are.  Let us look within us during our meditations during the reading of scripture, theology, blogs, prayer, Rosary, Chaplets, Jesus Prayers; and always look for that spark within our hearts, the love of God.