2015. október 24., szombat

Becoming full of light

"The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit. The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips..." (Proverbs 12:12-13)

"No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light." (Lk 11:33)

"But woe unto you, Pharisees!... Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge him vehemently and to provoke him to speak of many things: laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him." (Lk 11:42.52-53)

One cannot but admire Cranmer's inspired paring of the old- and new-testament readings of the morning and evening prayers in the Book of Common prayer. After the past few months' wrestling 'with the issues of global history' − in the book of Kings and Judges − now there is a shift to the 'personal'. Earlier we focused on the struggles of the people of Israel to keep God's commandments and not let themselves be diverted from the Covenant by political powers. Now Proverbs brings to focus the state of mind of the individual. The underlying conviction seems to be that it is not only history which affects how individuals feel and think. The brave suggestion is that our union with 'Wisdom' is always retroactive. Step by step, through the inner peace which the contemplation of Truth creates, we can regain mastery over our history. And finally, we can alter its course. Proverbs pronounces also a judgment. We must face our personal involvement; our complicity, contribution and accountability.
Jesus in Luke's Gospel addresses the 'collective' and the personal levels at the same time. A whole generation can lose its ability to see and speak "wisely". No wonder that our present history exhibits the most shocking dead ends. Wars, the inability to reconcile and create peace are constant markers of our derailed journey. Contemplating the 'inner Light' is made a central task by Jesus. "The lighted candle has to be put on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light." Our passage insinuates the healing power of contemplating the Light. It is through internalising this 'wisdom' that alone can heal the 'outside world'. (The Saturday Eucharistic Exposition, Adoration and Benediction at St Mary's is a genuine experience of being lead by the "Light of the world". Our global history, through our hearts, can anticipate when the "body, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light".)
However, the Gospel passage ends with a sobering realism. The conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees and layers (the cocksure experts of the world's ways) shows that pointing out our blindness provokes a fierce resistance. Any correction of direction which may alter the inertia of history (personal and collective) is more than a laborious work.

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