April 26th, 1995, Serial No. 01012

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Monastic Spirituality, Set 6 of 12

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Dorothy's Discourse No.
5 on Consultation.
Remember, that's not the real title.
The real title is that it's not good to follow one's own judgment.
That means it's not good to be directed exclusively by one's own judgment.
He spends a lot of time convincing us of the necessity of consulting the others.
Because we're talking about consulting, he's not talking about just discussing our life with everybody.
trying to get everybody's advice, but it's the elders in particular, it's the spiritual father.
Like all other fathers, he stresses the danger of following your own judgment.
And he's got these two enemies there, these two problems or obstacles.
One is self-will and the other one is self-judgment, or self-righteousness, rather.
One is salama and the other is dikayoma.
He says that this consultation, this spiritual guidance, is especially for, I'd say a kind of absolute devotion to it, is especially necessary for people who come from a sinful background.
Evidently they're supposed to be especially vulnerable to being misled, susceptible to being misled, maybe by their memories, maybe the devil's supposed to have a foothold in their mind.
But anyway, he stresses it for them.
The relationship between the devil and our own self-will, and how he's spoiled by opening our heart to the others.
And simply by caution, by consultation.
The need for discernment from another person.
And then his principle, which is so strong,
And the service guru says, every fall comes from somebody trusting his own judgment.
And when he says that, we just know that something else has to be said, that you can't stop there.
I know of no fall that happens to a monk that does not come from trusting his own judgment.
Or rather, there's a voice that comes up in the back of our mind and says, well, you can't fall if you don't walk.
But the other fault, of course, the other failing,
is never to learn to walk.
And it's possible for a person in a monastic life, or in any life, just to reject the need to learn to walk and just to stay in one place his whole life.
It's not that this is the only problem.
There's another fall, which is a fall that you don't even notice because you don't go anywhere.
You can't fall unless you walk.
If you don't stand up, you can't fall.
That whole business of all of those clumsy images just mean that
that in some way we need to make progress, and in some way we need to try to arrive at a kind of autonomy.
We're being trained to liberty, not to heteronomy.
We're being trained not to be perpetually dependent upon another person.
What kind of training would that be?
But rather to find our own center, to find our own freedom, to find a kind of autonomy and self-direction.
But which is always a delicate and two-sided thing because
We're never completely autonomous, but rather we're most autonomous when we're not autonomous, the paradox of Christianity, which is impossible to make clear.
We make it clear, but we can't get it down to one term.
We're most autonomous, we're most free when we're not autonomous.
And it's so easy to misinterpret that in terms of a kind of
What do you call it?
A parental obedience, you know?
That is, you're most free when you're not free at all.
And you can misuse that paradox so that you can abuse people into being children for their whole life long, and persuading them that their very littleness is freedom, when it's not, you know?
There's a kind of littleness that's not free at all.
And then there's another kind of littleness which is really free, and which is able to be little or great, which is able to be big or small, which is able to be in subjection or to be autonomous.
to obey or to be autonomous.
That's the kind of freedom that we need.
And the obedience and the subjection and the following another person's direction is the kind of needle's eye that we have to go through to get to that freedom.
But it's too easy for one side of that to be so overstressed, as often happens in the history of the Church and in the history of religious orders, so that the only virtue is obedience.
And people end up never getting beyond sort of third grade in their personal growth.
And then he talks about the peace and freedom that come from this way of consulting the elders.
And once again, we have that question in our minds as to the value of that peace and freedom.
But as we read further, and as we read the fathers further, we get reassured about that, that it's the real thing.
And it's not the peace and freedom of a person in a hothouse, or a person who's completely sheltered from the problems of life.
But it's a peace and freedom which results from a successful encounter with life, but in this particular way of obedience, in this particular way of following the direction of the elders and following the tradition.
And that the real problems of life do come to us in that way.
But what form do they come to us in?
In challenges to our faith, challenges to our obedience, and especially in relationships with others.
The problems are encountered on an interior level, in our own hearts.
instead of being encountered so much in a kind of a variety of circumstances outside, in a kind of adventurous voyage in life.
Okay, the problems of life
In other words, this peace and freedom that Dorothy is talking about, when he says, remember, I experienced all of this tranquility and I was suspicious because I had read in the scriptures that it's through many afflictions that we have to enter the kingdom of heaven.
So he said, well, I began to be suspicious of that.
His very suspicion reassures us.
And then he said he went and he asked Abhijan.
And Abhijan said, no, be at rest.
This tranquility and this freedom of heart that you feel is the heritage of all those who entrust themselves to the guidance of their fathers.
Now, you could say still, well, maybe that's simply the peace and freedom of a person who has been sheltered from all of the problems of life, okay?
Because he's in a monastery, and the big problems of life, the problems of sort of making your own way in the world, the problems of supporting a family, the problems of just the conflicts and the storms of life, he's sheltered from them because he's in this little greenhouse here.
And somebody else is worrying about it.
All he has to do is tend his own little garden, his own little interior life.
But it turns out that these problems of life in a monastic life, the same conflicts of life are supposed to come to us, but in another way.
They come to us in a concentrated form and sort of head on in having to encounter our lack of charity in the relations that we have with others and in the things that we're asked to do under obedience.
and the resistance that our own self-will offers to those things.
That's the way in which we encounter.
They're the same challenges to faith and to hope and to love, but they're in a smaller and somewhat specialized environment.
That's what I was trying to say.
That's the theory, anyway, that you're not sheltered from those conflicts, but in some way they're supposed to be concentrated, because you don't have so many ways to evade them.
That's the theory, that's the way it should work.
that you sort of aim head-on into the storm, as it were, into the conflicts of life, directly heading towards this problem of self and self-world, rather than sort of being all over the place and mixing in a little of that struggle with a lot of diversion and going at it, you know, sideways and sort of obliquely.
I mean, I think life is supposed to head at it, go at it head-on, in a concentrated form.
Of course, it's very easy for that not to happen at all.
It's simply too easy for me.
And also, we don't want to overestimate that, because remember, we say monastic life matches monasticism.
We don't live monasticism, we live monastic life, which means that we live first, we live life first, and then we live life as monks.
We don't want to pretend that all of our life is heading head-on into some kind of storm, or all of our life is a spiritual struggle.
That would be false.
First we live, then we struggle.
First comes the positive, then comes the conflict.
That tends to get worked out in experience.
If the spiritual father of the superior is really on the job, he should help you to find the boundary line, how far you should go with your own initiative, and then at what point you should just, you know, or beg, or whatever.
He should help you.
to figure out, perhaps with some perplexities, and it tends to work itself out.
You clarify it in dialogue.
And if a person has gone too far on one side, and he did something really that he should have asked for, he should be told.
On the other hand, if he's not taking enough initiative in his work, or even in his own spiritual life, and if he's waiting for somebody else to tell him what to do all the time.
especially in his own spiritual life, because certain initiatives have to come from the individual.
Nobody's going to tell you what to do for life, nobody's going to suggest all the time what you should be reading, what you should be thinking.
Those things have to come from inside.
And then there's the consultation.
Then we have a curious vision of Dorotheus where he's all troubled, he's going through this kind of dark night experience and the bishop appears to him going into the sanctuary and recites the psalm verses about the trial and the liberation from it, taps him on the chest and disappears and Dorotheus is flooded with light and joy.
And evidently since that time he has this inner security.
And we had a problem interpreting that in the light of his argument, because it is kind of ambiguous.
Then he says that faith is the thing that counts in your relationship with the spiritual father.
It's not the qualities of the spiritual father, it's not that he's the most charismatic character in the world, but even if you go to a child with the right kind of faith, the right disponibility, God will enlighten the child to tell you what to do.
I've come close to it sometimes, but I never try to try.
Whereas if you go to a prophet with a crooked heart, and who hasn't got a crooked heart?
Even to a prophet, you'll mislead the prophet.
You and the prophet will go in a ditch together.
Although that quotation from Ezekiel refers to false prophets, not real prophets.
OK, we were talking about the whole spiritual father tradition, how it opens that enormous field of the spiritual father tradition, which actually we're just getting back in touch with nowadays.
It's something that's been lost, curiously.
And why does it get lost?
Because since the patristic time, a lot of things have happened in our Western spiritual tradition, OK?
Now, the spiritual father tradition retains a pretty good continuity in the Eastern Church, in the Orthodox Church, for instance, at Mount Athos.
The star, it's the Abba there, the Gera, whatever you call him, the spiritual father, still has that role.
And there's still this kind of a mythology, you know, there's a mythos, there's a legend of the spiritual father, which sometimes is really exaggerated.
And I think sometimes the old men, they sort of court that kind of thing, too.
I mean, they play it up a little bit.
They act the part.
They try to do little marvels and so on.
I mean, marvels of knowing things, you know.
I remember one over there that did a journal postcard of the Hermitage, you know.
He said, there's water there.
It was over on the corner of the park.
It was very close to the Pacific Ocean.
He was right, you know.
But at the same time, a person like that can be genuine.
There's a mixture of fairy tale and reality that's very hard to... of charism and theatrics too, because the myth is... the legend of the spiritual father is so old and so solid.
Whereas what happened in the Western Church?
Well, a bunch of things happened.
First of all, you've got the rule of St.
Benedict and the fact that almost all Western monasticism has come through the rule of St.
Benedict.
But what does St.
Benedict do to the spiritual father?
He turns into something else, doesn't he?
As he turns into the abbot, he becomes less the person who's in an individual, personal relationship with the monk, and he becomes more the father of a family, or more somebody who's in charge of a bunch of people, and who becomes something... Well, the family father's a little different.
The relationship is not quite as individual, as intimate, as personal.
The discernment becomes more, at least the way you find it in the world, the way also you find it, I think, in St.
Gregory, who was so close to the world.
Remember that Gregory, he's a monk, and when it comes to the bishop, he's the pope.
So he looks at things from the point of view of government, or not exactly administration, it's too cold a word.
The point of view of the pastor.
The pastor is a little different.
from the spiritual father in the depth of the Eastern spiritual father tradition, where he really knows the heart of the individual, where the relationship between the two is a very close and tender one.
The picture that you get is incredibly interesting.
That he knows people as if he knows just how to temper, you know, rigor with tenderness or love or compassion or whatever, that kind of thing.
But it's as if he's doing it from the outside, rather than having that close personal relationship with the individual.
That doesn't mean that I'm doing the same thing.
There's a love, there's a compassion in that, but still there's a kind of generality about it, not that intimacy.
Then other things happen in the Western tradition.
As you go into the Middle Ages and get these big monasteries, the role of the abbot and his relationship with the individual monk becomes somewhat lessened, still lessened more, and the Benedictine structure helps it to become more remote.
And so the notion of spiritual father sort of begins to peter out.
And it's mostly because of the particular character, I think, of the Benedictine world.
And also the disappearance of the Aramidic world.
or it's being pushed out really to the fringes rather than being in the center of monasticism.
And then something else happens in that the spiritual part of me begins to turn into something else.
It begins to get split between religious superior, between confessor, and between something else which comes out in the world and which is a spiritual director.
I don't know when you first get that notion, but it's probably about the time of the vigil in the 16th century, the Counter-Reformation.
You have a spirituality for people in the world, and you're going to have a priest as your spiritual director.
And he directs a kind of sector of your life which is a spiritual life, but which is a little cut off from the rest of your life.
It's a funny thing.
It's like you've got this monastic garden, and he's in charge of helping you to tend that.
And then the rest of your life is something else, which is different from the wholeness of the monastic life in an earlier time.
And the relationship is different too.
It's like you go to, it's like a piano tourniquet.
It's like some kind of specialist that you go to, to get that particular part of the line, being a bit sarcastic about it.
It doesn't have the wholeness and the depth of that original relationship.
It's incredible.
Yeah.
Well, the spiritual director thing could be pretty effective sometimes too, but it didn't... it's not really the same thing as you have in a monastic scene, where the person's whole life is together and the spiritual father sort of is relating to the core of the person and to the core of that life and relating to the whole thing at once in a certain way.
There's not that totality and that simplicity in the relationship.
And so you can't call the person a father in the same sense, because his relationship is too limited, you know, it's too much along one line, in one sector of the person's life.
And then it becomes kind of a professional thing, with certain rules, and especially rules that come from the exercises of examination.
You know, most of the theory of discernment in the past four centuries in the Western Church has come from the exercises of examination, which is a pretty slim basis, because
And yet it's a good basis to learn.
It doesn't start there, but what he has in the exercises comes from an earlier tradition.
It's good stuff, but we're poor in that respect.
We don't have a lot.
We don't have a solid tradition in this area.
Yes.
At least the spiritual-directed relationship and the notion.
That's when you have a secular life out there, OK?
And you have priests who have a special mission, office, of being spiritual-directed with people in the world.
I think when you get somebody like St.
Francis de Sales, too, you're going into the spiritual direction, where he's having, he's outlining spirituality for people in the world.
And it's a necessary thing, too.
Well, there's a criterion, there's an interior criterion there too in the exercises.
There's an experience of peace and so on.
And the rules for discernment, those are pretty deep for the intellect.
But the application, the methods of meditation are going to be pretty exterior.
It's not like eating a word and just having it simply flow through you.
It's a more methodical, operational, rational, systematic.
Well, there's expectations that after a certain date, meditation is going to come out of the brain.
Because, you see, that's imposing a rhythm, isn't it?
It's a technique of sort of saying, well, the Holy Spirit is going to cooperate with this little process that we're going to put you into.
as if God did that, but God has rhythms for our life.
So one thing is to have an external set up like that, a process which is supposed to work.
This is pretty modern, it's almost got the scientific kind of thing, scientific prejudice that we can make things work if we set them up in a certain way.
Rather than obeying the rhythms of the human person and the rhythms of the action of the Holy Spirit in interaction with the human person, that's another rhythm.
The organic interiorism is different from the structure of any set of exercises that you can be put into.
That's right.
And see, that just takes a section of your life, a chunk of your life, and tries to do a rapid, intense job on you during that time, rather than having the whole of your life to deal with, as you had in the monastic tradition.
That's another sense, that's the time dimension, that totality we're talking about, you see.
rather than a portion of your life, trying to make a decision in view of the rest of your life, which is what the exercise is all about.
I would like to use some instances of events that have happened.
I would like to be a witness to that, and in the first place, this contemplation on the prolonged childhood or child-like environment.
Yes, please do.
I asked her, what would you do if Roshi told you that
After nine years of Zen practice, I think that you cannot get enlightenment in this life.
You don't have any chance.
You live from way, way below.
What will you do about it?
She looked at me astonished, and she said, I die.
And then a process of tremendous determination began in her.
And I said, don't you see how determined you are in this judgment?
And that's not an unusual thing, especially in the religious, because then you don't have the countervailing figure of Christ saying that he is the teacher.
The only way into that other dimension is through this.
teacher, according to what he says, will take his disciple.
And it's a ladder, a structure, you have to go up.
There's no other way to go up.
In Christianity you're already there at the beginning.
That's my instance.
And it's not true.
As I said, it's not a barrier, it won't come.
And there it is, there is this thing.
It is by faith, by spiritual profession,
But you know, in the early church, in early monasticism, in Christianity, you had a lot of the same thing.
In the Eastern church, the faith in the spiritual power of the light is there.
It's incredible.
Of course, if you have an enlightened spiritual body, you don't know how to use that and guide it into... you won't keep the person in that state.
You don't know it today, sir?
No, no, not at all.
No, that's the other side of the coin.
It can only be in a transitory world.
Yes, sir.
I wonder if that's a good example, because it seems to me she's not necessarily, I mean, it doesn't seem not necessarily a bad dependence, because he doesn't understand what it is.
But it's someone she trusts very much and knows her very well, and is also physically holding.
If he says something like that, I could see it would devastate anyone, it seems to me.
Just quite naturally.
You've got a real contradiction if he says that.
Well, if he does, right.
If he says that, that statement almost
Something has to crack at that point.
Yeah.
Well, and he said that statement by another person, so that's what we're having.
And she heard that.
I'm not a very young mature girl, but she'd never make me say something like that.
To her?
No, to us, to the secretary and myself.
And then I said, OK, if you heard that, I mean, referring to you, what would you do?
I don't know.
Die?
He said.
I told you the next time.
And with charismatic teachers, Eastern teachers, that's what happens.
Somehow or other, no matter what their level of attainment is, or level of holiness, they like children around them.
Children like to be around them all the same time.
There's some of them that talk a lot about realization in the sense of, I don't know, in the sense of a kind of autonomy.
I don't know if they really do it.
I think the people like Muktananda talk about realizing their own godness or something like that.
I don't know if they do that on a practical level, but they lead people really to liberty or to a kind of subjectivity.
For example, that same teacher said to me, you are not my student.
I'm not your teacher.
We are both students of the way.
I'm a little bit more experienced, but that's that.
Now, if one took him at his word, then, OK, here is a very enlightened master.
But in practical reality, that was not the case.
He was very jealous of the student going to other teachers.
So in that sense, one thing is the theory, and another is the practice.
And to the respect of the discernment of teachers, what one is supposed to do and what one's own initiative should be, there is sometimes, apart from the real Americans, I think many spiritual directors or teachers can be in a position where they cannot say anything, and they should know that,
For example, Zen teaching never explores one's own life.
It's just the state of your meditation.
That's it.
When one goes to a person in Italy, or a doctor, and then it's just about, supposedly just about the state of your dream, that's not true necessarily.
Many persons really have psychological problems that are engaging on their meditation, so it has to go on to that.
And sometimes the type of meditation that the person should have does not accord with the personality.
And it takes many, many years before he gets over it.
This is totally lovely.
And finally after many searching ways, unless the person says, you have to do this, you do it, you want to repeat it, something like that.
And it brings about something.
So, for example, this question of Koan versus other types of meditation, usually the scientists will ban Koans, but that's it.
Many Christians are very devotional, they don't care about Koans.
That's the intellectual aspect.
In that sense, there is a certain type of insensitivity.
One of the Herodotus' thoughts that I certainly have liked, which is the psychology,
It's a whole dependency structure.
There's one of the most famous ones, there's a guy named Sree Ching, who actually has a position that he did in the United Nations as a traditional meditation teacher.
And he has Raja Ram Chandra with him.
And he had a famous musician following him at one time, this guitarist.
And it was great publicity for him because it really made him more famous too.
And at one point, this guitarist decided
his reaction, his public statements, he is lost.
Of course.
The soul, the modern age puts us in a real
You realize how the modern age is characterized at its outset by the Renaissance and then by the Reformation, right?
The Renaissance is a bursting out of a kind of spontaneity and autonomy, really, and the throwing off of a kind of paternal Christianity.
And the Lutheran outburst, the Lutheran Reformation, is precisely that.
It's the rejection of the father, in a sense.
So the modern age starts with that.
And we're impregnated with that.
So we really have to sort of drastically twist ourselves or sort of give in to that innate natural desire we have for a kind of dependency, total dependency and total relation of values plus in order to go back to that state.
There's something in us that's always going to be rising up and criticizing that kind of subjection.
We have to come to terms with that.
It's not a problem to our Christianity, it's not a threat to our faith, precisely because Christianity is the gift of this autonomy.
As in the Gospel this morning, those words of Jesus were really something, you know?
He says, call no man your master, call no man your teacher, call nobody your teacher.
That's incredible.
He just overthrows everything.
And yet, at the same time, he upholds a certain order.
The communion is the first principle.
The communion really is the only thing.
And then the order and hierarchy is set up inside of the communion.
And the Church is just going to tell you that again and again until the leaders go to the collegiality.
And the fact that the Church first is the people of God, and then its hierarchy,
The first it's the people of God.
The hierarchy is inside the people of God.
It's not on top of it.
And the Church is not the hierarchy.
The Church is like ten men.
And then everything else is secondary and extraordinary.
That's a terrific liberation.
I want to read those words from Matthew 24.
He's talking about the scribes and the pharisees who'd love to be called rabbis and have their own fringes and stuff and bind heavy burdens.
But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.
Call no man your father on earth, for you have one father, and he is in heaven.
Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ.
He who is greatest among you shall be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled.
Whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
And even the Christ goes through that way of humbling, that way in some way of descending to nothing.
It's as if the teacher or the Christ or the master has to prove himself to be that by being able to reduce himself to nothing and then to re-emerge.
And that's true.
It's not like magic or something.
You can see what I mean.
He has to be able to become nothing so that his teaching, which comes from beyond himself, may bring him into being again.
In, actually, in his disciples, in those who learn.
So his teaching is not from himself.
And he can reduce to nothing until the seed falls into the ground and he can rise, as it were, complete in his disciples.
Just as he comes from another, so he can re-arise within another.
He comes from another who is a father, and he can re-emerge within those people, giving them the same thing which is himself.
So behind this whole thing, there must be a beginning.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
And the fact that we are in the Son, that our relationship to the Trinity is not just an equal relationship to the three persons.
This appropriation thing that they talked about so much, and it chills our relationship to the Trinity.
Honor is one of the ones that brings back in a living relationship to each of the persons of the Trinity.
And the fact that it's only the Word, the Son, who became flesh.
The Father did not become incarnate.
The Holy Spirit did not become incarnate.
But the Son did.
And we were in the Word.
And this liberty is ours, is within us.
And nobody can get in between us and God.
That expression of, what's his name, charismatic again, God has no grandchildren.
There's something that's temporary that comes in between them.
There's a pedagogy and a training which is temporary and then gets out of the way, like the law in the Old Testament, which Paul talks about in Galatians.
He says you were held on to these pedagogies, you were led by the hand, you know, you had this law, this ladder, this tradition.
given by angels, he says.
But now you're beyond that because you have the Holy Spirit, you say Abba Father.
And then the other side of that is that there are these phrases in the letters of Saint Paul where he enjoins obedience upon the Christians.
He tells them, well obey your pastors, but even tells them, slaves obey your masters, and wives obey your husbands.
And in other places it says, there's neither slave nor free man, there's neither man nor woman, there's neither Greek nor Jew, remember?
But you're all one in Christ.
So you've got those two levels.
And the one level is, and the other level sort of is for a while.
The one level really is, and is permanent.
That's the level of communion and equality, where all the children of God.
And the other level is temporary and within it.
It surprises us that St.
Paul, for instance, doesn't try to correct the practice of slavery, does he?
that he doesn't extend this Christian revolution of equality immediately into the social sphere and say, slaves, you're free, you know, masters, give up your slaves.
He didn't say that.
He said, slaves, obey your masters.
And he says at the same time, obey your masters as if you were obeying Christ.
He says it doesn't make any difference whether you're a slave or a free man, really, because you're free in Christ.
Slaves, you're already free in Christ.
Free men, you're slaves of Christ.
But that's something we have to think about, why that revolution doesn't spread immediately to the social world.
It's an important principle.
in the ultimate all time.
And it is.
But the way you can get to that, the only person who's qualified to be a master, to give life, is always God, who's washed feet.
That's the only person.
You have to go through that, like Jesus himself.
He had to be crucified before he could be experienced.
And it seems like it's always that way.
It's always going to be that way.
It's part of the process.
It's almost like in a zen koan, where as long as you're on a certain level, you see everything.
It's always going to be paradoxical.
But once you get to a certain level, there's no more atonement.
There's no more paradox.
It seems like that's the glorified state of Christianity, where there's no opposition between Paul telling someone to remain as a slave, and on the other hand, telling them to be free.
He seems like, oh, he just takes it out on the external.
There is no external.
He says there's something that is external.
He says slaves, you know, the way of man is to be slave.
You aren't a slave.
Nobody can make you a slave.
The trouble is, when the Marxists come along and they find, for instance, that the rich people can make sort of good business out of this, in a sense, or the slaveholders can say, well, you're not slaves, in case you're free, so now go and make some money from it, or something like that.
Then the Marxists come along at a certain point, and they say, well, is this Christianity?
It hasn't, you know.
Sooner or later it has to work out on a practical level too.
You know, we're free in our hearts, we're free no matter what, but unless that, what would you call it, social revolution happens sooner or later, unless the liberation really happens in the world as a consequence, then somehow something doesn't happen.
That's what happens now, that challenge.
But would that be the same for you?
Not completely, because everybody's going to die anyway.
But there's something that's going on in the world, isn't there?
Since the coming of Christ, there's something that goes on in the world with regard to liberation.
And it's very slow and halting, and it goes backwards sometimes.
And yet, there is something happening.
And it's due to Christianity.
It's due to the coming of Christ.
It's very unequal.
And see, like Marxism, Communism, it's a kind of, it's a Christian heresy.
It's an atheistic Christianity.
It's like the mystical body, and the doctrine of the mystical body and the equality of all men, without the head, which is Christ.
And it's because Christianity didn't do it.
The Marxists come along and promised to do it.
They can't do it either.
Well, it's because they dress themselves as slaves, they dress themselves as masters.
That's right.
They don't think that you're bad, you've got to teach them.
That's right.
That kind of way, he wasn't making a categorical statement about what they should do.
But I think it's kind of suggesting that you might have turned them in a certain direction.
How often do you convene the laws over somebody in a school?
That's a good argument.
That's right.
brings the death knell for slavery without saying it in the obvious way.
In other words, the implication is right in the Christian fact that slavery can't continue, but he doesn't press it to that conclusion.
That's the thing that surprises me.
I have a couple of passages here.
In Ephesians and Colossians especially, but also in Christianity.
There is also the incompetence of the fact that
that it's not only a feature of the world, but the world in some ways can be a feature of the church.
For example, in a very telescoping history, the Reformation taught the church something.
It's only about five centuries later that we have the barrier to that, we have the Pontificate itself.
The United States, with its ridiculous level of tolerance and many, many acts of the right, that's taught the church something.
But that's Christianity that the Church couldn't learn.
It's like Gandhi, he comes and teaches the Church something, you know?
But it's like the bread that the Church didn't eat, the bread of the Gospel that the Church didn't know how to retain.
And it's like the thing about the Jews in the Old Testament, and then the pagans would come and confront the Jews, and are really prophets to the Jews.
Cyrus is my son, my servant.
Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.
This is in Ephesians 5.
Wives, be subject to your husbands as to the work of the husband, and so on.
But then, he gets to the slaves.
Children, obey your parents and the Lord, for this is right.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger.
He always does on the other side.
He always does both sides.
But bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling, and singleness of heart, as to Christ.
Not in the way of eye service, as men pleases, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from their heart.
Rendering service with a good will is to the Lord and not to men.
Knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same again from the Lord, whether he is a slave or a priest.
Masters do the same to them, and forbear fervently, knowing that he was both their master and yours is in heaven, that there is no partiality between you.
This is the second half of the Holy Colossians.
It's a historical reality.
There's no way it could have survived if he had preached a radical revolt of the social order.
He speaks very often about, you know, we don't want to give them cause for rebellion.
And maybe there's a change
See, this principle is very important because it affects how we understand the Old Testament.
All of those things in the Old Testament that you can't accept, the bloodshed and the holy wars and everything, you can use the same principle to be able to accept them in a way.
But sort of the grace of God cannot, in the case of God, cannot be fully absorbed at one moment, and so it sort of has to warm itself and work itself through, you know, like a needle in its bed.
And it takes centuries and centuries and centuries before, on a historical level, it can really emerge.
Meanwhile, the truth is always this.
You don't really see it, I mean, because sometimes those things like the extermination of the war-wounded children seems to be God's work, God's will, and all that.
It's a real problem.
But it must be the same thing.
It's working through the stubbornness and the harshness of people and of men, and gradually bringing
That's there, but the same thing, the trouble is that at the same time these people are living and dying under slavery.
And it seems like a heavy price to pay for somebody else's interior education in a sense.
And yet it's true that man has to learn it from inside.
And well he's not going to impose it, but he's also not going to flash all that truth
and just cause a lot of violence.
He's not going to do it by means of violent revolution.
It has to be, what you're saying is true on this level, it has to be an interior revolution rather than an exterior revolution, okay?
So I'm wondering, if the attitude of the church is supposed to change early enough, the gospel is something that's addressed to the heart.
And when it starts to become social or anything, how on earth is it going to move?
It's true, but the difficulty is that people then can, they make a wall between the inside and the outside and they don't really conform to the gospel.
That thing happens, like the scribes and the pharisees.
They claim to be listening to their hearts maybe for a while, but then they set it up their own way so that it's very comfortable.
After a while they don't listen to their hearts anymore.
I don't think so.
In some way she has to be, this is the thing nowadays, that the church sees that she has to be in some way effective on the social level as well as the level of the heart.
The level of the heart comes first.
And the social thing is only true if it comes from the heart.
This is the situation which is in Iraq right now, especially, much more than in Cuba, which is already settled, where the education, perhaps, of the educated people, at least five, three, some of them, but other than that, his brother and father, supposedly, they have to resign, they become, you know, post ministers.
And they said, we won't.
And they said, well, if you don't end, consequently, you'll be left to die.
So what the others did was, OK, we'll divide the Catholic Church into two groups, the Revolutionary Church and the Bush-run Church.
And so, finally, what I gave him was the, okay, keep your posts, but not the same accolades that he's been given, which is an incredibly bad thing.
That's beside the very point.
We've got a person talking about, well, he's Christian, he's Slavery, he's proven he's Slavery.
No, he didn't preach against slavery.
That was something they didn't try to purge, and we have to speculate why.
I think because it was too general, and it was premature.
It was like preaching against war at that time.
It would be like saying, well, don't have any more wars if you do.
You couldn't do it.
It was a mystical level, too, perhaps, that was important for the Catholic Church.
I mean, if you're teaching that as an ultimate
value of not, of being totally autonomous.
Well, how do you know when to watch TV at the same time?
And it's more than just too delicate to make a blanket.
a black and white statement on the one hand, and another black and white statement on the other.
It's essentially contradictory.
I've lost the connection.
Well, it's like, you're telling people that it's absurdity.
This is the way a lot of people look at the male-female issue.
It's like, where Andre Louvre says it was necessary for Christ to come as a male, because of the nature of God, and the passivity of the human soul being represented by the female.
Slavery is looked at, again, as another example of passivity.
The dominance of passivity, well, it's obvious that he was a master and a slave.
So he was preaching the value of passivity on the one hand, of not trying to assert one's own will, but rather to do only the will of the father.
I mean, this is too tangled up.
I can't make it.
The blanket's thick, either.
But maybe if he had just
It seems like if people are only, their major focus is that individual autonomy, which is, I think, what started happening around the Renaissance.
And then the holistic view of religion, which existed in the Middle Ages, at least in a certain way, everything's spiritual.
Then that will cease to exist.
It can't exist under those conditions.
or at least we haven't worked out how to... Yeah, I think it's a question of an integration of the two, because the Middle Ages too much suppressed that individual autonomy, and so it burst forth, and it's like the wine in the wine vessel, if you remember in the Gospel.
The vessel was burst and the wine spilt.
That's what happened with the Reformation, wasn't it?
But that wine is the wine of the Holy Spirit, too, that's what the Church is doing.
It seems that slavery
On that external level, the implications of Christianity couldn't immediately be implemented.
On a general, external, political level, it had to gradually work its way through the middle.
That's true for a lot of people.
Well, we live in the same home.
I mean, what are people going to say?
In a short while, right?
Well, if that's true, sure, just be a slave.
Don't worry about it now, because the time is short.
And that's what he says in another place, isn't it?
He says, it's as if slaves, be as if you were free men.
Free men, be as if you were slaves, because the time is short.
The only thing that matters is to serve the Lord.
He doesn't set up that slavery isn't... Well, that's an ambiguous passage, actually.
Sometimes they say, if you can have your freedom, make use of your slavery, as it were.
I'm not sure what that means.
I think we also have a... I think the rest has to do with the humanity of Christ, you know, that one mustn't be limited by what they say.
Here in Israel... That's right.
...when he was harassed and bullied out there, because of the commandments of the Father, he was a servant of the Father.
That's right.
And that's true of all of us.
And always will be in this life, huh?
And sent forward, you know.
Many things that we have...
It's bad, because he wasn't a Muslim, he was a gay man, but at the same time he was a patient.
He couldn't have done it anyway.
So, Patrick, what you say is true about that.
That we're all in that situation of servitude, because ultimately our slavery is to death in a sense.
Until we die, we're always dying or something.
Whatever we were on that level.
But we can be on another level.
There's like a version of that, yeah.
And maybe that's, you know, like Paul.
Sometimes maybe he's on that level, but he recognizes his own complete faith in Christ.
And he's no longer not acting on Christ's faith.
Now that probably doesn't mean my faith will be gone.
Anyway, there's an important thing there for understanding, understanding the scripture and understanding history, and also understanding the existence of the religion and the way the religion works.
We can't think of much more.
Next time we'll finish this up.
I thought we would this time, and we'll go on to the next one about that religion.
Just to give us back a little glimpse of the context before we close.
There's the ultimate reality of Christianity, which is also the first gift of Christianity, which is this mystery of eternity.
What is freedom?
Freedom is to find out who you are, and to have room to be who you are, simply to be able to be who you are.
And that's what Jesus tells us when he says we are the Son of God.
Which is not just a word, but a reality because of the Spirit that's given to us, by which we know this impulsiveness that lives in the world.
There simply aren't any other words that express that.
We can go around it with other words, but it's the fact itself, the experience itself that tells.
But somehow, we still have to make a journey to it during this life.
That's at the beginning, and yet we have a journey to make before the end of our life.
And the journey we're talking about in terms of a death and a resurrection, in terms of a liberation, and in terms of moving from a shallow self, an ego, to a deeper self.
Martin is one of the true selves.
It requires a kind of a death and a resurrection, and that's what this business of obedience is about.
And also the fact is that starting out as we are, in a shallow self or a limited ego, if we want to get to that deeper one, we can't get it to ourselves, we can't direct ourselves there.
We have to have a reference point outside of ourselves.
Now preferably the reference point would be where we're going.
Now, it's that way through the Word of God, because the Word of God is spoken from where we are headed.
But it's also that way in the human person, which is what we're really looking for.
The first disciples of Jesus, when they found Him, they discovered their destination in Him.
They discovered where they were going.
And somebody, evidently, could tell them how to get there.
And we look for the same thing.
The Word isn't enough.
We look for the human person who can tell us.
But if we can't find a human person that is there, at least we can find a human person who is outside of our own ego, and therefore who is not in the same trap of self-will, self-love, of blindness that we're in.
He may have his own, but he's not in ours.
But at least we have two points to our inner self, one instead of one.
And then if he has discernment, even though he may not be there, he may be able to help us to look to him.
Remember, in the tradition, in the cenobitical life, the cenobitical life is called the life of obedience.
And therefore, it's necessarily a life of heteronomy.
And they talk about the aero-medical life, gasoline in most people, as being a life of autonomy in which a person has arrived at the ability somehow to guide himself, more or less.
He's still got a reference point, he's still got a spiritual father he goes to see.
But basically, he's directing himself, basically he's arrived at the freedom of the human body.
So he's arrived back at the beginning, in a sense, in the simplicity of his life, witnesses to life.
That parallel, of course, is far from being perfectly true, especially where we don't have that external tradition of centripetal life, which is very rare nowadays.
And so, it's a theoretical scheme, which has a certain validity that most often isn't verified in practice.
But Desai, when he talks about discernment, when he talks about this consultation of the fathers, he doesn't go in those terms.
This is why only those men who are fully mastered
their passions, to whom the spirit is granted the gift of the profound and intimate grace of peacefulness.
Remember his criterion for the Holy Spirit rather than our own will, our own passions, is the calm of humility, the peace of humility.
So the charism somehow is marked by peacefulness, an intimate grace of peacefulness, and who from this point are thereby suited for the solitary life, may without presumption exercise a proper discernment in this matter of personal affairs, at least in that very case.
There's a big bias of theory in that.
They say that the person... because that simply doesn't exist in our world.
These fathers were graduating from solitary life.
That's almost non-existent in the Western world.
So to put it like that, it can be kind of a very wrong thing.
Nevertheless, the principle is only valid.
He who has not yet attained to such purity of heart has only one thing left for him to do.
It's not to die, it's to come out the next time, the next life.
The manifestation of his thoughts through a spiritual director and a complete submission to the assignment of the learner.
And then he goes on and he quotes Cashman.
We'll go on with this and finish it next time.
That book that Ephraim has there is of great value for our next subject, which is... Ephraim, show your book, Ephraim.
Despite his charismatic image, there's Joe Brogan, some of you may know because he's been here.
And it's about fraternal correction and judging people.
And the Fathers are always heartening about that.
See this thing is about not judging your own life, right?
Submitting your judgment, or sort of subjecting your judgment.
to somebody else.
And the other one is not judging anybody else.
There's a real logic in that too.
But not judging somebody else is libelous.
But the principles are structurally somewhat different.
Okay, so we'll go into that next time.