The Gardener’s Tale of the Possibility of Change

By Charles Avila, Chairman of the Lay Society

“Behold, I make all things new!” In the Lay Society our job is to make new persons. They, in turn, will make a new dispensation, a new politics, a new economy, a new culture. But how will they become new? We will teach each other to have a new mind every day and  think new thoughts and never stop building a new world. Building a new people: this is the real aim of the Lay Society.

We “make all things new.” This new reality called the mystical (as in mysterious) body of Christ is God-among-us. It is us-become-divine. 

To speak of the new we have to step into the river of change. We have to cross a gap between the old self and the new self.

In order to change we become conscious of our unconscious self which, for individual persons or nations, will mean an unknown historical past that continues to determine the realities of the present.

We break free from the chains of hardwired programming and the conditioning that keeps us the same.

Change precisely means achieving a new state of being which is unfamiliar, unknown or which simply doesn’t feel “normal” and where everything feels uncertain. We begin to think about and perceive reality differently because we begin to see our life through the lens of a new mind. We experience a discomfort, naturally, for we are experiencing the dismantling of old attitudes, beliefs and perceptions that have been repeatedly etched into our cerebral architecture.

But change is possible. There has been a lot of research recently into the brain’s neuroplasticity or its ability to adapt and change when we learn new information. When we learn vital information about our self and our life, we stitch a whole new pattern into the embroidery of our own gray matter. Shocking as it may sound, it is nonetheless true that when we learn new things and have new experiences, we’re literally changing our brains and modifying our very genes from this life and from untold previous generations. But this requires considerable effort aided by God’s grace.

As our new self is born, new genes are signaled to make new proteins to alter our state of being in new ways. Yes, crossing the river of change actually means the biological, neurological, chemical and even genetic death of the old self resulting in our having power over change and enabling us to set our sights on the other side of the river.

We then realize at this point that the best way to predict the future is to create it – not from the known but from the unknown. Let us allow the Holy Spirit to make new our minds and our hearts and there will be creation of new things (rerum novarum) – a metanoia and a true metamorphosis.