“No one knows the Son except the Father; and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son has revealed Him.” (Matthew 11:27)
In commentary on this verse, St. Irenaeus (died c. 202) says: “The word ‘revealed’ refers not only to the future – as though the Word began to reveal the Father only when he was born of Mary; it refers equally to all time. From the beginning the Son is present to creation, reveals the Father to all, to those the Father chooses, when the Father chooses, and as the Father chooses.”
To me, this explanation says something very different from what I assume Irenaeus intended: It says that one does not have to be a Christian to come to know God, the Father. Anyone who experiences a connection with the Word, present in all creation, indeed present BEFORE creation, has the potential to know God. Christians define the Word as Jesus Christ but acknowledge that He has always existed along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Hindus define the Word as AUM, or OM (the great Amen) – present with the Father, in creation and in all of us.
Regardless of religious affiliation, if we believe that Christ is a kind of consciousness – a consciousness that is one with God – then anyone and everyone has the potential to connect with Christ, and through Christ, with God. There are multitudes of ways to connect with Christ Consciousness: prayer, immersion in nature, ritual or worship services, meditation (particularly on the Third Eye), chanting OM, compassionate service to others, reading holy scripture, etc.
Throughout human history, there have been saints who have connected to Christ Consciousness (the Son), and through Christ to God, the Father. Some examples are the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament, Hindu saints and sages, Moslem fakirs, and everyday people who ascribe to no particular religion – as well as Christian saints.
Let this be an inspiration to all of us. We need not fear that we’re alone, that we need the guidance of some “official” institution or hierarchy to show us the way. Each of us has the potential for enlightenment, for knowing God, for union with God. Indeed, our soul is created for no other ultimate purpose.