2021. november 23., kedd

God's way of beginning a day 


This is how usually a 'bad day' of mine begins. I have some ill-feeling because of a disagreement over something, which has managed to slip over from yesterday into this morning. It was traveling with me through the night. Then, something at the beginning of the new day, let's say, a minor mistake by others, triggers out this resentment. It becomes like 'spectacles' though which I see the upcoming events of the day. It is, however, like tinted diving googles. I see everything what happens through these hijacked colours. Then, small conflicts trigger out over-sensitivity, and, this, prompts over-reactions. Like a domino-effect, the whole day can end up in ruins.  

This morning, at the beginning of the Morning Prayer, I was aware of my googles. I felt, I could not remove it just by a thought. Something else was needed. Then the idea occurred that yep, we are praying, right now, the morning prayer to God, and, together with God. This is not only us, who are starting this day, but God, too. So, I continued this quiet unexpected inner conversation. Well, this is how I am starting my day. But what about God? He also has to start this very day, as this is his Creation. He can't afford the human luxury of having the day with grudges. He simply cannot get out of the bed on the wrong side (his Creation, sic!). That thought has instantaneously removed my tinted googles. God starts the day in peace and mercy, and with a positive curiosity. So why not imitate Him? 

While singing the psalms set for the morning prayer, I managed to look at the icon of the full-figured Christ Pantocrator. The icon itself, as one can see it in our chapel, is just a cheap copy. No particular artistic value. But the icon works as it should. Jesus is sitting on his throne. In the background, intense gold. This golden background, with the Judging God, journeying with us into this new day, summed up the moral of what I understood of how God was starting the day. No remorse, no complaints, no fights and inner-courts over events from yesterday. Only free-flowing pure positivity. The magma of divine nature, which is capable of melting everything into herself…and transforming them. Giving things, thoughts and events the shape, they should have. 

If we let our hearts be transformed and directed by these positive energies - the whole day will be, literally, different. You become master of the moment: you can start an encounter with a smile, with a positive twist to the moment. Let us see, how the day, when we begin it as God does, is unfolding. I am sure there are many surprises - just by following the threads, hidden in the day, of His positivity. So, my fallen dominoes, are now being played backwards, the fallen pieces of a ruined day are being set up, one by one. Waiting for God's touch, not of mine.  





 Sensitivity to Dream (Daniel 2:31-45) 


In the Bible, these are often those who are in exile, or on the move, who have dreams. When there is an existential crisis, there is an eruption of dreams. No wonder that Jewish people (Abraham, Joseph in Egypt, prophet Daniel, Saint Joseph, the three Kings, etc.) became 'experts' of dream interpretation. Culture itself can go through cataclysmic changes, like Europe did at the time when Freud and Jung laid the foundations for interpreting dreams.  

In these 'exile situations', identity becomes fluid. The old belonging is lost, the present is unsettled, the future is yet out of grasp. Undefined. We Christians, today (again!) live with the sense of Biblical exile. It is part of scrutinising the signs of the times. The apocalyptic mood of the readings before advent highlights this instability around, but also in, us. And just like our Old Testament predecessors, we can attain the ability to decipher dreams, and understand the meaning of the signs surrounding us. Like Proust in Search of Lost Times, we can tell a very different story from that of our age. However, instead of a psychological past, we can 'arrive at a separate world, a descent into the abyss of the self, in which the ego's boundaries dissolve and are lost. Like a hallucination empty of objects and people, enveloping the sleeper as he floats in a state of phychic quasi-death.' Here we arrive to 'the edge of the unsayable.' (The Philosophy of Julia Kristeva, Open Court Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois 2020, p.99) 

As mentioned, for the members of the Covenant (old and new), it is not a retreat into the past, but an insight into the Kingdom of God, the World to come. Our dream eruptions - reveal a depth. Though things are fragmentary and can fall apart, as 'the centers no longer hold', but not in this under-surface realm. Our church buildings, icons, and doctrine, the Creed - with their order, and contra-movement to the ephemeral nature of the age - have never spoken so eloquently of the firm roots which we have, or can develop. These roots are the guarantees that we can become interpreters of dreams instead of being entrapped in a dream-like state, without a real voice to awaken ourselves.  

So, this ability to 'root', to understand, and interpret is the moment equal to the Catholic sacrament of transubstantiation of the Eucharist. When we celebrate the mass and receive in the communion Christ himself and his story, we can freely access the Kingdom of God, its life-giving depths. The sings of the bread and wine, which belong to this world, as the Body and Blood of Christ, also belong to the world to come! (The world, in, and beyond our world.) In the communion, we understand that our age, with its powers, is not rock-solid at all. Actually, it is in a fluid state, regardless of the empires that are being built at the moment. The transubstantiation, the miracle of change and the manifestation of divine Presence, is our hidden and joyful ability to break free from the constraints (the mindset) of this world. Christians are free; our daily transubstantiation makes us free. The ability to read all the changes around us en Christo, in the freedom of the risen Lord. So, dear king Nebuchadnezzar (Zuckenberg-Musk), it is not the Lord, which is a dream like message. On the contrary, his resurrection is the real. And compared with him, everything what we judge to be real and rock-solid, your 'meta-verses' and extra-terrestrial expeditions, are put into question.   



2021. április 13., kedd

Easter Is Our Ability to Listen to Others', articles 47-48, 'Information Without Wisdom' from Pope Francis's Fratelli Tutti, his letter on fraternity and social friendship

True wisdom demands an encounter with reality. Today, however, everything can be created, disguised and altered. A direct encounter even with the fringes of reality can thus prove intolerable. A mechanism of selection then comes into play, whereby I can immediately separate likes from dislikes, what I consider attractive from what I deem distasteful. In the same way, we can choose the people with whom we wish to share our world. Persons or situations we find unpleasant or disagreeable are simply deleted in today's virtual networks; a virtual circle is then created, isolating us from the real world in which we are living.

The ability to sit down and listen to others, typical of interpersonal encounters, is paradigmatic of the welcoming attitude shown by those who transcend narcissism and accept others, caring for them and welcoming them into their lives. Yet "today's world is largely a deaf world… At times, the frantic pace of the modern world prevents us from listening attentively to what another person is saying. Halfway through, we interrupt him and want to contradict what he has not even finished saying. We must not lose our ability to listen". Saint Francis "heard the voice of God, he heard the voice of the poor, he heard the voice of the infirm and he heard the voice of nature. He made of them a way of life. My desire is that the seed that Saint Francis planted may grow in the hearts of many".

2021. április 1., csütörtök

From Pope Francis' Fratelli Tutti - Pandemics and Other Calamities in History 1 (articles 31,32)

True, a worldwide tragedy like the Covid-19 pandemic momentarily revived the sense that we are a global community, all in the same boat, where one person's problems are the problems of all. Once more we realized that no one is saved alone; we can only be saved together. As I said in those days, "the storm has exposed our vulnerability and uncovered those false and superfluous certainties around which we constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities… Amid this storm, the façade of those stereotypes with which we camouflaged our egos, always worrying about appearances, has fallen away, revealing once more the ineluctable and blessed awareness that we are part of one another, that we are brothers and sisters of one another".

The world was relentlessly moving towards an economy that, thanks to technological progress, sought to reduce "human costs"; there were those who would have had us believe that freedom of the market was sufficient to keep everything secure. Yet the brutal and unforeseen blow of this uncontrolled pandemic forced us to recover our concern for human beings, for everyone, rather than for the benefit of a few. Today we can recognize that "we fed ourselves on dreams of splendour and grandeur, and ended up consuming distraction, insularity and solitude. We gorged ourselves on networking, and lost the taste of fraternity. We looked for quick and safe results, only to find ourselves overwhelmed by impatience and anxiety. Prisoners of a virtual reality, we lost the taste and flavour of the truly real". The pain, uncertainty and fear, and the realization of our own limitations, brought on by the pandemic have only made it all the more urgent that we rethink our styles of life, our relationships, the organization of our societies and, above all, the meaning of our existence.

2021. március 31., szerda

From Pope Francis's Fratelli Tutti, art.31

In this world that races ahead, yet lacks a shared roadmap, we increasingly sense that "the gap between concern for one's personal well-being and the prosperity of the larger human family seems to be stretching to the point of complete division between individuals and human community… It is one thing to feel forced to live together, but something entirely different to value the richness and beauty of those seeds of common life that need to be sought out and cultivated". Technology is constantly advancing, yet "how wonderful it would be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation could come with more equality and social inclusion. How wonderful would it be, even as we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters who orbit around us".

2021. március 30., kedd

From Pope Francis' Fratelli Tutti, art.30 - Globalisation and Progress Without a Shared Roadmap 3

From Pope Francis' Fratelli Tutti, art.30 - Globalisation and Progress Without a Shared Roadmap 3
In today's world, the sense of belonging to a single human family is fading, and the dream of working together for justice and peace seems an outdated utopia. What reigns instead is a cool, comfortable and globalized indifference, born of deep disillusionment concealed behind a deceptive illusion: thinking that we are all-powerful, while failing to realize that we are all in the same boat. This illusion, unmindful of the great fraternal values, leads to "a sort of cynicism. For that is the temptation we face if we go down the road of disenchantment and disappointment… Isolation and withdrawal into one's own interests are never the way to restore hope and bring about renewal. Rather, it is closeness; it is the culture of encounter. Isolation, no; closeness, yes. Culture clash, no; culture of encounter, yes."

2021. március 29., hétfő

From Pope Francis' Fratelli Tutti, art.29 (Globalisation and Progress without a Shared Roadmap 1)

With the Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, we do not ignore the positive advances made in the areas of science, technology, medicine, industry and welfare, above all in developed countries. Nonetheless, "we wish to emphasize that, together with these historical advances, great and valued as they are, there exists a moral deterioration that influences international action and a weakening of spiritual values and responsibility. This contributes to a general feeling of frustration, isolation and desperation". We see "outbreaks of tension and a buildup of arms and ammunition in a global context dominated by uncertainty, disillusionment, fear of the future, and controlled by narrow economic interests". We can also point to "major political crises, situations of injustice and the lack of an equitable distribution of natural resources… In the face of such crises that result in the deaths of millions of children – emaciated from poverty and hunger – there is an unacceptable silence on the international level". This panorama, for all its undeniable advances, does not appear to lead to a more humane future.

2021. március 26., péntek

From Pope Francis's Fratelli Tutti (art.27-28) - 'Walls vs God's Openness'

Paradoxically, we have certain ancestral fears that technological development has not succeeded in eliminating; indeed, those fears have been able to hide and spread behind new technologies. Today too, outside the ancient town walls lies the abyss, the territory of the unknown, the wilderness. Whatever comes from there cannot be trusted, for it is unknown, unfamiliar, not part of the village. It is the territory of the "barbarian", from whom we must defend ourselves at all costs. As a result, new walls are erected for self-preservation, the outside world ceases to exist and leaves only "my" world, to the point that others, no longer considered human beings possessed of an inalienable dignity, become only "them". Once more, we encounter "the temptation to build a culture of walls, to raise walls, walls in the heart, walls on the land, in order to prevent this encounter with other cultures, with other people. And those who raise walls will end up as slaves within the very walls they have built. They are left without horizons, for they lack this interchange with others".

The loneliness, fear and insecurity experienced by those who feel abandoned by the system creates a fertile terrain for various "mafias". These flourish because they claim to be defenders of the forgotten, often by providing various forms of assistance even as they pursue their criminal interests. There also exists a typically "mafioso" pedagogy that, by appealing to a false communitarian mystique, creates bonds of dependency and fealty from which it is very difficult to break free.

2021. március 25., csütörtök

From Pope Francis's Letter on Social Friendship - Conflict and Fear 1

War, terrorist attacks, racial or religious persecution, and many other affronts to human dignity are judged differently, depending on how convenient it proves for certain, primarily economic, interests. What is true as long as it is convenient for someone in power stops being true once it becomes inconvenient. These situations of violence, sad to say, "have become so common as to constitute a real 'third world war' fought piecemeal".

This should not be surprising, if we realize that we no longer have common horizons that unite us; indeed, the first victim of every war is "the human family's innate vocation to fraternity". As a result, "every threatening situation breeds mistrust and leads people to withdraw into their own safety zone". Our world is trapped in a strange contradiction: we believe that we can "ensure stability and peace through a false sense of security sustained by a mentality of fear and mistrust".