Repressed Memories of God

Repressed memories are a significant topic in our modern time.  My earliest memories go back to when I was four or five years old.  Most people I’ve talked to about it are able to remember events earlier than that—some claim to even have memories of being in their mother’s womb.  I wish it were possible for us to go still further back…to Our Loving Creator.  Many religions, including Christianity, contend that we come from God and we return to God.

Last year, Saint Charles Borromeo Academy introduced classical education as our primary model for learning.  Classical theology and philosophy profess four principles that preexist us and reside within us: truth, goodness, beauty, and oneness.  In their pure form, they exist in our Creator and, as part of the creation process, were planted in us as a priori understanding.  We, creatures, therefore, made in the image and likeness of God, are always attracted to and in pursuit of these qualities.  Though they remain beyond our touch in perfect form, we instinctively gaze in, and reach toward, their direction.  Classical education, then, is less about learning than it is about wonder that recognizes and rediscovers transcendental wisdom that God placed within us.

As Father Ronald Rolheiser explains in his recent book, Wrestling with God, some mystics profess that the human soul comes from God and that God puts that soul into baby bodies with a kiss.  Because of that, we always dimly remember the touch of God, which contains perfect love, and have a desire for those preeminent principles.  Some ancient scholars believed that the reason we each have a little cleft in the center of our upper lip is that it marks the spot where the Creator’s finger sealed the memory of our soul, which preexisted as part of His divine soul.  That is why, when we sometimes struggle to remember something important, our index finger spontaneously rises to that cleft where our primordial connection with God once touched.

Sometimes little kids are said to have an old soul or to possess a sense of things that seem godly or preternatural.  Some people believe that all children have a purity and closeness to God that slowly evaporates as we become more content with our physical form and human condition.  There is a story told about a little boy—four or five years old—who had been an only child until his sister was born.  He asked his parents to be left alone with the baby but, fearing that he might be jealous of or harmful to her, they refused.  As he continued begging them, however, they finally gave in to his request.  Standing outside of the nursery with the door ajar they watched him tiptoe to the baby’s crib and whisper, “Baby, tell me what God is like because I’m starting to forget.”

With many repressed memories surfacing via psychotherapy, it would be interesting if we could remember as far back to when God sealed us with a kiss and placed a piece of His soul within us to keep us connected transcendentally all our earthly days in hope that we wouldn’t forget where we come from and where we are going.  Since that sort of repressed memory recovery is impossible, perhaps our consolation is to simply lift a finger to our lips and recognize the divine connection we have with beauty, truth, and goodness as we pursue oneness with God’s love until the fullness of that memory gets revealed in a world to come.