Man - Image of God - Transfiguration

00:00
00:00
Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.

Serial: 
NC-00356

Suggested Keywords:

Photos: 
Notes: 

#set-search-for-wisdom

Transcript: 

Well, up to now, we've been talking about, we started out talking about our situation and some of the things that we might need to pick up in order to complete the picture, in order to get our Christian spirituality back into its wholeness. And then we talked about the knowledge of God, and the Word of God, and the heart. And this morning, I'd like to sort of finish up getting the picture, finally, you might say. And then we can talk about more particular aspects of it, and maybe wind up with trying to get things back together again at the end. This morning, I'd like to look at the whole of our spiritual life once again,

[01:03]

but from a different point of view that tends to pull it together. And that point of view is that of the transfiguration. Actually, speaking first about man as the image of God, and then moving on to the transfiguration. The transfiguration is a mountaintop, not only in the Gospel, but somehow in the whole of the history of salvation. It's a peak from which you can look back right to the beginning, where man was created in the image of God. And you can look ahead, and then over the whole Old Testament, and then you can look ahead through the New Testament, through the Gospel mystery, the resurrection of Jesus, and all the way down to the present, which we still share in that resurrection experience. So it's a mountaintop. It's one of the mysteries that the monastic fathers were fondest of, that they loved most to comment on. If you read Marmion, even in our own century, you'll find that he loves the transfiguration. He returns to it time and again. It's a mystery after which many of our monasteries were named.

[02:08]

The Hermitage of Penalvo is, I think, a very dedicated transfiguration, because it's one that is seen as having a particular connection with contemplation. I read somewhere that the two mysteries that the fathers loved most to comment on were the wedding feast of Cana and the transfiguration. We talked about one of them last night, and I want to talk about the other one this morning. And what is there that's similar about those two? They're both transformations, aren't they? They're both changes. They're both miraculous metamorphoses. They're something that represent in some way what's happening to us, what's happening to our nature in the spiritual life, as the Holy Spirit comes into us gradually and changes the water into wine, as the uncreated light of God comes into our bodies through our hearts and changes us, as the leaven works through the dough. Now, these two mysteries, as we call them, these two episodes in the Gospel,

[03:15]

somehow are saying very much the same thing, but they're saying it in a different way. In one case, it's a miracle which has a deep symbolic meaning, something which Jesus does, changes water into wine. In the other case, it's something that happens to Jesus himself. His own body becomes transformed in a way, but only for a moment. Many go back to its ordinary appearance. But for a moment, the water of his nature, as it were, is transformed into the wine of the risen Christ. The wine of the risen Christ was filled, as it were, with the power of the sun. It's like the sun coming into the earth of our nature, of our mortal flesh, and shining through it just for a moment. It's like an eclipse, which is the opposite of an eclipse. When the sun gets behind or into the earth of our nature, it illuminates, it makes it transparent by its own power. The power of the resurrection already shines through the flesh of the living Christ on earth.

[04:17]

And then he returns to his normal appearance, and you don't see that again. But what you're really seeing is the risen Christ at the moment of the Transfiguration, in the context. What you're really seeing is the risen Jesus. And I don't know why he doesn't appear in that way again. We could think about it. He appears to St. Paul in that way. He appears to St. Stephen in that way. But St. Stephen is about to be killed, of course. In fact, he's at the gate. And the gate is open before him, and he looks up, and he sees Christ in his glory, rising from the dead. St. Paul is experiencing his conversion. And at that moment, he has his vision of the glorious Christ, and he hears the voice. And the light knocks him down. Otherwise, we don't see it. And Christ gets the wrath of what it is after his death. But enough of that. Let's talk a bit about the image of God. We were asking at first, Pete, the question, what is man? And we came up with a rather unsatisfying answer, that man is a question.

[05:19]

So we're left with a question. Man is a question which somehow responds to the mystery which is God. God is mystery. Man is question or mystery. Okay. And it depends on, we may or may not like that. We may or may not. We may find it completely empty, or we may find it rather false. But if you look in Scripture, and in the Fathers, you find that man is the image of God. That's how he's described. And that leaves us with a big puzzle. What do you mean by the image of God? What is it in man that represents God? Surely it's not his body that represents God. Is it his mind? There's a lot of ink and years trying to figure that out. A lot of mental energy has been used. St. Augustine spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the image of God was in man. And he ended up with the Trinitarian image within the soul of man, which is the memory, the intellect, and the will representing the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, respectively.

[06:20]

And this has been carried on in our tradition through St. Thomas Aquinas, and down to the cross, and so on, right up to the present. And there's a lot of truth in that, but somehow it doesn't cut to the whole reality. It's as if the image of God in man were not just a part of man, but somehow it's the whole of man. But it's not quite man as he is right now. Man is supposed to be the image, the symbol, ultimately the sacrament of God. Man is the sacrament of God as an image which not only somehow represents like a photograph or like a portrait, but somehow contains the reality and transmits the reality. I think we touched on this another time earlier, but this is what you see in the saints, where man begins to become not only the image, not only the symbol, but he begins to become the sacrament of God because he's got that light which is God shining through him already. And then, you know, the sacrament doesn't only say something, it does something, right? So you see the sacramental quality of man, the image of God, when the power of God begins to work through the saints,

[07:24]

and when that light that shines through the body, as it's known to the body of Jesus in the Transfiguration, begins to do things. But what does it begin to do? It's not so much that it appeals people, it does that, sure, sometimes. But usually it's hidden. But what does it really do? It does the resurrection. It does the resurrection by touching people's hearts and opening them, by opening the tomb of the heart of stone and finding the light, or putting the light, and kindling the fire there. So the miracle that it does, the power that it does, that sacrament of man as the image of God, is to open the heart, is to reproduce itself, is to bring that fire to earth, like Jesus said he was going to do. So the saints, that's what they do, and that's why they're sacraments, is because they pass that on, because they open the tomb, because they raise the dead, because they bring to life the image of God in other people. They find it in other people, and with the light that's in them, they sort of mother the light that's in other people when they bring it out,

[08:27]

and so they become sacraments, and so they become spiritual fathers. Now that's what monks are supposed to become. There's Olivier Cormann, who's a marvelous monk. He says that the end of the spiritual life is to become a father, as you become a child also, because as you become a child, the only way to become a father is by becoming a child. The way of obedience, in other words, by which we learn to become children, is the way by which we learn to become fathers. You've heard it many times that he who hasn't learned how to obey shouldn't command. He who hasn't learned obedience should not be an abbot, and so on, should not be a father. He who has not been a son should not be a father. Remember the letter to the Hebrews. Jesus, by obeying, gets to that point where he's the salvation for all who obey him. But he obeys first, because before he comes into that relationship, it's amazing for him, because he's a good child. But we have to become children in order to become fathers. What does that mean? To become a child means to become closer and closer and closer and closer to God.

[09:31]

Remember where Jesus exalts in the Holy Spirit in St. Luke, and he says, Father, I praise you because you've hidden this from the big wheels, and you've revealed it to the little ones. And no one knows the Son except the Father. And no one knows the Father except the Son. To know the Father, you have to become a child. And by becoming a child, you become a son. If you get small enough, you become a son, like Jesus is. And then you know the Father. And since you're close to the Father, since you're getting your life, all of your life, everything you have from the Father, you become a father too. Even though you're a child, you become a father. Remember in the first letter of John where he writes, Now I call you father, now I call you son, now I call you young man, now I call you old man. It's something like that. When you get into God somehow, when you participate in God, you become all of those things. Because God transcends all of those things and brings them together. So by becoming a child, we become fathers in some way. And that's what the world needs, is fathers. People who don't necessarily change the world in an external way.

[10:33]

But people who are able to bring the light of God into the hearts of others. And so continue that stream of light, continue that river of fire, which comes from Christ, which comes from the risen Jesus. The fire, once again, of the burning bush. The light of the transfigured Christ. The light of the glory of God shining from the face of Christ Jesus, which is the only thing that makes this world good. The only thing ultimately that makes the heart beat, that makes life worthwhile, is that light of the glory of God. Which somehow is reflected in the things that we know on earth that are beautiful. The things that awaken our love on earth are reflections, are symbolic reflections and mirrors of those things. The beauty of woman, the beauty of nature, the marvels of love and so on. Those are reflections of that light from the face of Christ Jesus, which is what we're talking about. The light of the glory of God. The light of the glory of God without which we are not fully men.

[11:35]

Without which we don't fully exist. We can't be ourselves without God, that's the marvelous truth. And it depends on how you come at that. Whether it's a murderous truth, whether it's a frustrating truth. Whether it's a truth that drives you up the wall, or whether it's a truth that makes you leap with joy. You can come at it from either side. The fact that we're not ourselves without God. You can consider God to be a stingy, vengeful, envious, judgemental person. Just punishing us until we completely squash ourselves and submit ourselves to his will. Or you can consider God to be the Father who wants above all that we share fully his own being. That we share fully the riches of what he has. Remember there's a father who thought about his son. He said to the eldest son, son everything you have is lost. But the eldest son doesn't know anything about it. Somehow you have to go by the path of being empty to go back and realize that fullness.

[12:36]

To realize that joy of the Father's love. To hear that music that comes out of the Father's house. To begin to move with that dance in the Father's house. To begin to taste the Father's care. Somehow you have to come out of the cold and out of the darkness and out of the hunger. And you have to come from the point where you were out feeding the swine. Hungry even to be fed with a husk such as wine is. Those husks don't fit you because they're hollow. We have a hole in the middle of us that has to be filled by something else. It can only be filled by one thing and one thing is God. And one thing is God in the Father's house. The Father would like to talk about the land of enlightenment. There's a passage of St. Augustine where he talks about he reached up and he saw God for a moment within himself. And then he was thrown back. He says, I fell away from you into a land of enlightenment. A place of enlightenment. It's as if we being the image of God moved towards God.

[13:40]

St. Thomas Aquinas says that the image of God is a dynamism, is a very movement towards God. That's a fascinating thing. The image is not just something static like a picture or like a mirror. But the image is itself movement towards God. And then you begin to catch the presence of the Trinity in us once again. There's no such thing as an image without dynamism. There's no such thing as word without spirit. One person always carries the others with him, even in the image. There's no such thing as an image without movement. You can't be the image of God without moving towards God. That's marvelous. The Father would like to talk about this land of unlikeness where we have become unlike God. Remember in 2nd Genesis God said, let's make man in our image and likeness. And the Father considered the image of God to be that which you don't lose. It's sort of the essence of yourself. But the likeness of God you lose. So Adam lost the likeness of God when he sinned. And he cast that poverty onto us.

[14:40]

So that we don't have the likeness of God either. And so Jesus comes along. God himself comes and restores us to the likeness of himself. And how does he do that? God comes and he takes on our image. He puts himself into our image. He becomes like us to make us like him. It's almost like he came in disguise. Think also that Christ emptied himself and took the form of a slave. He took the form of man. So he comes and disguises it. Well, but he's disguised as us. It's our place. He takes on our likeness so that he can give us his likeness. And what is his likeness? It's that that's inside of him. It's that spirit that's his. It's that light that's inside of him. His uncreated light which is God himself. Remember the wedding garment? You can't stay in the wedding banquet unless you put the garment on. And what is that garment? What is that garment? You've got all those cranky characters in the parables and the gospels who absolutely wouldn't put that garment on.

[15:41]

Like the elder son. Remember the elder son in the parable of the prodigal son? He wouldn't put the garment on. He wouldn't go inside. It's the same thing. What does it mean? You won't put on the likeness of God. You won't put on the glory of God. You won't put on the light of God. You won't put on the love which is God. You won't put on that tenderness. You won't put on that compassion. You won't put on that humility which somehow, the other side of which is the light and the glory of God. You won't put off your old garment. You won't put off the Old Testament in order to put on the New Testament. You won't put off the old robe in order to put on the new robe. You won't put the wine into the new skin and so on. It's that stubbornness, that hardness of heart that we have. For we don't want to accept what we want and what we need. We don't want what we want because we want to keep what we think we want. It's that thing there. It's the thing of the Pharisee, of the elder son. All of those characters in the New Testament, both the ones who confront Jesus and the ones that are in the caravan,

[16:44]

the ones who won't go in, the ones who won't say yes, the ones who won't accept joy, the ones who won't accept love, the ones who are stuck in themselves somehow, have their doors and their windows shut, and who won't put on the wedding garment, who won't put on the likeness of God. We have to want it. So they talk about this land of unlikeness, and it's a fascinating notion. King Bernard picks up that idea. He's got a homily on it. I've got a copy of it somewhere. He talks about religio dissimilitudinus, the land of unlikeness. So you've got two notions together. One notion is distance and the other notion is being unlike God. Now, if we're created in the image of God, if we get far away from Him, then somehow we get unlike Him. And we find ourselves, that's where we start, as far away from God in a land of unlikeness. Think once again of the prodigal son. He's out there, far from the Father.

[17:46]

He's spent all his money, and he's feeding the pig. He's in a land of unlikeness where he's not with people like himself. He's not with anything like himself. He's feeding pigs, and they're not like himself. They're another creature. They're not of his order. He doesn't have any food that's like himself. He wants even to be fed on the husks of the swine that nobody gives him to him. He doesn't have his own food. He's in a land of unlikeness. And then he remembers in his heart. In his heart, he remembers the Father. And he begins to go back toward the land of likeness. And as he begins to move back, he begins to become like God. He begins to become like the Father. And that's the way our world is. We see it much more today when technology begins to transform the face of the earth and to transform it into somehow the likeness of man, but not the likeness of man in his nobility, in his heart, but in the likeness of man in his ego shell, in his outside, in his crust, in his power, his power of domination,

[18:48]

sort of the hard, purely masculine exterior shell of man that gets reproduced in the world around us through technology, especially in America. Whereas you see in Europe where man has changed the face of the earth, what has he done with it? Very often he's humanized it. If you look at the old countries of Europe, basically in Italy and France, where the buildings and the houses and the churches seem to fit right into the landscape. And instead of defacing nature, man has somehow put the pick-up on nature. He's somehow consummated nature by harmonizing with it, not by imprinting his own likeness on it. Because the likeness that man puts on nature through technology is very often not even his own likeness. Why? Because it's his false self, because it's his exterior self, it's not his true self. But where man has lived in harmony with nature for a long time, you find that he puts on nature the imprint of his true self, the imprint of man's inner nobility and his beauty.

[19:50]

You see, when you're talking about man and sexist primordiality, I think that means man and woman, it means the human person. But in the... or over in Asia, you know, look at the Chinese suggestions, where the building of man somehow is the jewel of nature, where man is like the top fruit on the tree of nature, and the thing that embellishes nature, and the thing that he makes there. The technology, being out of harmony with the inner being of man himself, twists nature out of harmony with itself and turns the world obviously, invisibly, into the land of enlightenment. The land of enlightenment is also the place where we don't recognize anything, where nothing comes together. If you read a lot of modern poetry, or look at modern painting, abstract painting, where the image of man is shattered, the image of nature is shattered. Look at Picasso. You get painting of genius, which reflects the fragmentation of our world

[20:54]

and the fragmentation of man's own consciousness, broken into little bits, into cubes, into geometrical figures. But the image of man, man can no longer stand the image of man as it was reflected in earlier times, and so it's broken up in that way. Except in those who retain a definitive sensitivity. The artists reflect that. They reflect that with their sensitivity and with their genius, and often also with their neurosis. Often also with their neurosis. It's the sensitive people, after all, that are made sick by our culture, made sick by an alienated culture, a culture in a civilization which has lost its core, has lost its heart, has lost the center of man in the image of man. Okay. So that's the land of unlikeness. And that's such a fertile notion. I like to think about it. The land of unlikeness is where nothing matches up to anything else. And as we move towards the land of likeness,

[21:56]

as it were, move through an aesthetic zone, we move through a zone of poetry and music, where things begin to match up. Poetry is like that now. It finds the similitude. It finds the echoes in things. It finds the analogies and the parallels and the symmetries in natural things and in all kinds of things. And every time it does that, it reminds you of that likeness. It reminds you of that likeness which somehow is in God, that oneness which is in God. And so there's something divine, there's something spiritual and supernatural in poetry, and so much the more in music. And it sort of brings the oneness of nature like a bell and makes it resound with its own oneness, even though it doesn't know itself, because we don't know ourselves. We look in the mirror and we don't see ourselves. We see a mask which is not ours. The land of likeness. As you move towards the land of likeness, you find that things tie up with one another. You realize the oneness of both things. Remember that experience of Merton in Louisville?

[22:58]

He was in the land of likeness for a moment, and so he was not unlike anybody. In the jokes of our language, he liked everybody out of his life because he felt that he was one with it. And we find that we're one with ourselves. In some of the other writings of Merton, there's more Zen writing within the last years, you find this notion of being one with yourself, of somehow in the silence finding yourself without any dualism, without any conflict, in a kind of simplicity which is beyond words. There's nothing you can say about it. It's an experience which is no experience, in a sense, because the self, the ego, which creates dualism, which creates opposition, which creates the subject-object thing, has vanished. It's as if you've vanished into the mirror. There's nobody there anymore to have an experience. There's just essentially oneness. And this may be a kind of a philosophical, a kind of an abstract thing, or it may be a reflected experience of God himself,

[24:00]

or it may be the experience of what? The experience of the image of God in ourselves. A lot of mystical experiences, which are not distinctly Christian, are probably the experience of the image of God in ourselves. Not the experience of God himself, but the experience of the image of God, because that's what we are. So you can have a real deep, quasi-mystical experience, a transcendent experience, which is really an experience of yourself, an experience of your true self, with the light of God in you, but it's not a personal experience of God. A lot of young people who get into the Eastern religions and say, well, this is a genuine mystical experience. They're right, you know, but it's not necessarily a direct experience of God. There's a spiritual world, which is short of the divine worlds, and which is not necessarily good, because it's not necessarily God. It's not necessarily God's grace. But that's another subject. This loss of the sense of the image of God in our modern psychology, in our modern culture,

[25:01]

leads to man's identity problem, a problem of self-image. He no longer has a collective, a community self-image to support him. He no longer knows himself as a son of God, and so he's got to make it on his own. He's isolated. He's way out there, like the prodigal son, and he's got to find something inside himself that justifies his own existence. That's a bad way to be. You've got to do it on your own. You've got to be up your sycamore tree in that way. Somebody has to come along and coax you down. And that can happen in all kinds of ways. Ultimately, it should happen with Jesus. He's the one that says, come down, Jesus, because today I want to stay in your house. He's the one that looks you in the face and says, I know who you are, and invites you to come down into your own house and come down out of that poor sycamore tree, into your own house and find yourself, because of that beauty which you see in the face of Jesus, because of that recognition that you find in the eyes of Jesus. There's a paper which has been very helpful to me

[26:05]

by a guy named Sherrod, or Sherrod, I don't know, never met him, which was in Sibornos a number of years ago. Sibornos was that little Orthodox Anglican magazine. It's called The Christian Understanding of Man. And I'd like to go through this with you, but it's going to take too long and be too complicated, so I'll just try to find out his name. His name, Nelson. It's a precious article, because it's the kind that reverses your whole way of thinking. He starts out with this thesis, that to find out who we are, we have to look at Christ. That the knowledge of who man is and what man is only comes through Jesus Christ. Now, this is a reversal of the way we recognize God. And so he'll take a point like the transfiguration, and he'll use that as the pivot point, as the starting point for the knowledge of who man is. Now, the importance of that may not impress you at first, but we tend to think of ourselves as being remote from God, distant from God,

[27:06]

and we tend to think of Christ as being distant from us. We tend to put him up on a pedestal, okay? And it's right that we do so because he's Lord. But we forget that he is also man. He is also us. He's also us. So we separate ourselves from God, and we separate ourselves from Christ. And we forget that Christ has come and become one of us, so that what he is, we might be. So that we might become what he is. And that's the whole point. And so he swings around the whole of our human nature. And we find that inside of ourselves is God. Now, inside of ourselves is God, not just as something to contemplate, not just like the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle, which we worship from outside in a kind of recollection, but no, as what? As the source of our own life, as the center of our own self, the center of our own personality, the new self, the core of the new self, the new heart that we were talking about. Saint Paul says, I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me.

[28:08]

This requires a death and a resurrection, in which you find that the core of yourself is Jesus, and that he doesn't wipe yourself out, he doesn't come to replace you, he comes to dwell in you, to live with you, some way to be married to your nature, as if you were married to holy wisdom. This bride who is bridegroom at the same time, and man is somehow bride and bridegroom at the same time, wedded to the word and to the spirit, which speaks with her in her heart, and gives him a new life, a new center of consciousness, a new center of activity. Now this is that inversion, that turnaround, that happened with the resurrection, and which is already indicated in the Transfiguration, where God comes inside the creation, and this light of God begins to shine out from inside, shines out from inside the body of Jesus on top of the mountain, shines out from inside of our heart, and remember it shines out right through his body, it shines out right through the flesh, it shines out right through matter,

[29:09]

because matter itself is being transformed. Matter itself becomes transparent, and then becomes taken up in the power of this light, which is stronger than anything in this world. This light which the Easterners call the uncreated light. Uncreated, what does it mean? It means it's God himself. We get into a lot of problems in the West, because we talk about grace as if it were always a created thing. We talk about grace like we talk about gasoline, as if you could get down with a gallon can and fill it with grace, you can't do that. There is such a thing as created grace, there is actual grace, the grace that simply God gives us to do things, or to know things, or to say things, or whatever. But the fundamental grace is uncreated grace, that's God himself. Call it the divine energies, call it the Holy Spirit, or just call it uncreated grace. This is another Jesus told the Lebron, which is very important. But the fundamental grace is uncreated grace. The fundamental grace is God himself coming inside of us,

[30:10]

and acting in us, in a personal way, that is, as a person, but a person which does not crush us, but brings us to life. A person which does not devour us like one of the herds, but brings us to birth, like Mary. A person which becomes the core of our own person, and the womb of our own person at the same time, and out of which we are continually born. Children, sons, somehow in the body, and on the tongue. The Holy Spirit moving on. The Holy Spirit has almost the light itself, yet created by itself. The Spirit and the light are so much associated. And so this reversal happens, this revolution, and it's centered in the resurrection. The transfiguration is like a projection of the resurrection on a movie screen. It's like an image of the resurrection, before the time. And in that, you see, the transfiguration is given to us like a moment of the experience of God within our own life. Remember the apostles,

[31:11]

who still had to go through their own death. They had to go through the passing death of the Lord. They still had to go through their own death before they could experience that resurrection. And it's fulminant. So why was the moment of the transfiguration given to Peter, to James, and to John? So that they'd have the resurrection somehow inside their hearts while they went through the rest of death. As a foretaste of the resurrection of the glory, the Fathers like to talk about that. It was to prepare them for the stress of the passing of death. To prepare them for their suffering, for their fear. To give them the courage to go through it all. Courage, core, heart. Because it puts something in their heart. It puts that light of the risen Christ already in their hearts, that uncreated light. So the light that shines through and transforms his body begins to shine through and transform our own hearts. Turning them, this time, from hearts afresh into... Into what? Something that has the courage to face death and joy.

[32:14]

So there's this turnabout. Now Sherrod, being a vicious anti-Roman, not only, but... He accuses St. Augustine of a lot of our problems. He says that St. Augustine was the one that gave us our basic neurosis of feeling, sort of feeling like garbage. Feeling that human nature is not worth anything. Because he had to fight the Pelagians, the people who said that we can do it all. That we don't need God's grace. That we can do the whole thing by ourselves. And so, in order to counter that over-affirmation of man's power, St. Augustine had such great emphasis on the grace of God that he seemed to wipe us out in a way. That he seemed to leave nature as powerless and almost a negativity, almost evil. And we sort of never recovered from it. That's a thesis you could accept or not if you choose. But there are these two ways of thinking of God and man. One of which we're separated from God permanently, sort of.

[33:20]

The other of which we participate in God is a very important word, participation. It's a word that comes from Plato, maybe not originally. The idea that we share in God's nature. We don't just stand looking at it, but somehow we're on his side. That we participate in him. That what we do is part of what he does. That somehow we're inside of him instead of outside of him. And we're both, you know, we're outside and we're inside. And this is reflected in the history of the Middle Kingdom. But the notion that our life is a participation in the life of God, this too is said by the history of the Transfiguration. There's a whole lot here that I have to speak. Because it's complicated enough already. What Christ is by nature, man is by affiliation, by participation. Christ is not just up there so that we adore him, so that we worship him and pray to him.

[34:21]

He is that. But he's also inside us as our own deep self. That's very important. So that our life becomes a participation in his life. I live, no, not I, but Christ lives in me. If we lose that, we lose nearly everything. And we remain sick Christians because we haven't got the power that's coming to us from the Spirit of God. That Christ lives in us. We have to get him on our side. There's been a sort of thing, especially in Jansenism in the past few centuries, it tends to turn God against man. It tends to put God out there, and it's a return to the Old Testament here, it puts God out there and up there, and man down here and over here. So that God comes on as a very frightening, judgmental, threatening, and vengeful figure. And it's as if in order to please God you've got to squash yourself. There's a whole monastic theology that comes out of this too, which emphasizes obedience to such an extent that you almost give up that. You can't find yourself after it's all over. It's that the function of the abbot is roughly like the function of a jackhammer

[35:27]

or something like that. Just hammer it into the ground, and out of that is supposed to come the resurrection. But that ain't exactly the way it works, I think. Or it doesn't do very succeed. In other words, we've constructed a Christian spirituality sometimes which is so heavy that it rubs man out. It doesn't give him a chance. It puts God against man. And what's the reaction to that? The reaction to that is the secular, atheist humanism that we have in the past few centuries with guys like Nietzsche, you know, who say that Christianity is sick and that the Gospel teaches people to simply prostrate themselves and to, in a cowardly way, shrink their own humanity and their own human nature. We have to rediscover the power that is within Christianity. We've allowed it to become too negative, for one thing. And a lot of it is rediscovering this notion of participation in God. That God is really in us. Not just to be worshipped, but to be lived. To be discovered as the source of our own being.

[36:29]

Just like the sun coming within the earth. To discover the sun within your own heart. That's the way it's supposed to be. God, not just outside, but inside. I think that the discovery of the West in our time is much proof that we're liberated from where we are. God as the core of man's being. It is God alone who is the perfect man in Christ. Only God is completely and utterly human. Insofar as man fails to realize the divine in himself, to that extent he falls short of being completely human. He remains less than human. Once again, this thing about man only being man when he discovers God in himself. Let's state it even more strongly. It's only God that's fully human. In Christ. Perfect God, perfect man. It's how we discover that God is the core of our own being. And into the contemplation of the two kinds of consciousness.

[37:33]

You know, the false self, where man just relates and identifies himself from the world around him, until he constructs himself to meet the world around him in his demands. Whether hostile to man or favorable. A chance to expand himself. And the true self, which is the self that is in God, the self that knows God, the self which in some way is God, because it is Christ. And then finally, the place of all this in the cosmos. In the world. Man is the key to the transformation of the world. Not in the external way, through science and technology, but in the internal way, through the coming of God into his own heart. And then the emanation of that, the radiation of that light into the world. Every technology has a part in it, probably the first. But the basic thing is

[38:34]

man making a place for God to come into the world and transform it into his own spirit, into the uncreated light. So that the world itself becomes kind of the vesture of Christ, the vesture of the transfigured and the moving Christ. I'll read a little bit of the end of his own book. Man, because he's got a people nature, a spiritual intellect, the body and the soul, stands between God and the material world, between heaven and earth. He's a microcosm, as Blake must be mistaken, he's a little world. But he's also a macrocosm, and essentially contains the whole world inside of himself, his body. It is the divine Logos himself, the word Christ, who is the true ground, the true and ultimate sublease of human nature. And it's only through man's realization of this, through his so bringing himself to the fullness of his being, that God becomes the creative center of his own personal and subjective life,

[39:41]

that he effuses through humanity and does justice to the cosmic implications of Christ's work of reconciliation. It is in Christ that the wall of separation between heaven and earth, the supernatural and the natural, the sacred and the profane, is destroyed in the living sacrament of the divine love in heaven. The incarnation has not only taken manhood into God, and separation of part of him, it has also taken the whole creative world into God, and resurrected it and transfigured it in its very depth. It is only man's continuing alienation from the ground of his being that prevents him from realizing this. It flows a veil of opacity, of invisibility, between God and man, God and the world, and keeps him in a state of false division and disunity. It is through overcoming this alienation, through remaking himself in the image and likeness of the divine, that he lifts the heart of his own subjective life, and that he confers on him the unique quality as a person that he shares in the priesthood of Christ, shares in that sacrament of love and beauty

[40:43]

in which all things, released from their bondage, live, move, and have their being. Outside this relationship, apart from this sacrament, man has no real place in the world, or the world in him. He has but a traumatic shadow of himself, and his world, a forsaken world, is a land of unlikeness. And on both he is compelled to seek ever further revenge for that crime against his own nature, which he refuses to acknowledge, for a mortal excuse. That crime which has come to appear outside of himself. Luke, at the end of his book, teaches that Christ talks about a kind of cosmic priesthood in which the monk, the man of prayer, stands in the middle of the world with God, the Holy Spirit, in the middle of him, in the middle of his heart. And he lifts up his arms, and in the lifting up of his arms, in the lifting up of his heart, and in his body, as he contains the world in his body, he lifts up the whole world to God. He raises up the world to God in thanksgiving and in praise,

[41:45]

and in some way, the whole world prays through him. And at the same time, he heads his feet to the world and somehow brings the power and the light of God down into the world through himself. But that only seems so. It's a beautiful passage, and in this little paperback edition, it's from page 164, 165. At this point, the Christian spirit grows into a celebration in which the whole creation shares. It becomes a festive observance of everything that can be approached or experienced. So we come back once more to what we instanced earlier on as a sort of priesthood of prayer. The universal priesthood of revival of Vatican City not only is a ministerial priesthood of everybody, pretty much. If prayer is the interior worship of liturgy of the heart with an invisible altar and a hidden sacrifice, then each praying individual conducts the liturgy of his own prayer

[42:49]

and is the priest of this current offering for them. For just as Jesus, before the face of his Father, is living forever to intercede for us, he does so, and as a priest forever there celebrates his sacrifice, so much does every Christian offer the like sacrifice in prayer through him, but as offers out an unending sacrifice of praise, a verbal sacrifice that is offered every time we acknowledge his name, Jesus Christian. This priesthood and the sacrifice are for the whole world. And then, of course, a handwriting reference. This is that conclusive book. So let's leave it there, and maybe we'll return to it later, one time or another. I think if we try to get it all together, this is a good place to stand. If we try to get it all together, this theology and this spirituality that everyone might call it, let's see it in one picture.

[43:49]

We need to stand, first of all, in the place of the classical mystery, the place of the death and resurrection of Jesus. We need to stand in the place also of the transfiguration, where we see a line flowing through Jesus, through ourselves, and then through the whole world, the whole of the material world. Actually, St. Gregory Palamas, a youth who got this thing together in a marvelous way, where he sees the uncreated light, which is God, shining through the body of Jesus, seen by the apostles on Mount Tabor. Now, he's a monk, remember, St. Gregory Palamas is a monk, and he's writing for monks to justify their way of life, to hesitate before it's created. And he says, The light which Peter and James and John saw through their eyes, not with their eyes, but through their eyes, they saw it with their hearts, shining through the body of Jesus on Mount Tabor,

[44:50]

is seen by the monk in his heart as he prays in his heart. Now, they saw it with their eyes. The monks don't see it with their eyes, they see it with their hearts. They see it internally, and somehow that transfiguration is happening in them. Because of their sacramental union with the body of Christ. Because they are the body of Christ, being transfigured by the same light. And so he says, They're the prophets of the New Testament. We were talking about that this morning, that the monks are in the line of John the Baptist. John pointed to the Christ who came the first time. The monks are those who wait in the desert and point to the Christ who comes the second time. Because why? Because they have that light in their heart, the face of Jesus Christ in their hearts, as it were, in the language of Saint Paul. The face of the risen Christ, who is the Omega, who is at the end, the one who is coming. And so they sort of enshrine that reality,

[45:51]

that Omega, that face of the risen Christ, with its light, with its glory, in their heart. And somehow it begins to work in their bodies, so they feel it quickly. So this transfiguration becomes something else. Something that's supposed to happen in us. And if you say, how? Well, from now on, it's always a hard question to answer. The first thing is to be looking at Christ. The one great thing, actually, is to be looking at the face of the risen Christ, whether it be in the Word of God, whether it be in our prayer. Not to take our eyes off them, not the very heart, the eyes of our heart. And somehow, if we do that, and everything else swings into line sooner or later, the big thing is to keep the eyes of your heart from the face of Jesus. And on the face of the risen Jesus, yes, we need to look at the crucifix. But if we look too long at the crucifix and forget the risen Christ, the resurrection, that power won't come into our hearts,

[46:53]

and we won't be able to go through the cross ourselves. We can intimidate ourselves too much with one side of the classical ministry, with the cross side. We need the power of the resurrection, especially nowadays, because the church is sent in the shadow of the cross. The way of the monk is to arrive at that point where, since he has nothing, he's got everything. And he gradually finds the joy of all creation, the joy of all being in his heart, which is the joy of the Spirit of God. By having nothing, he discovers he has everything. And really, not just in a kind of play or fancy way. All things are yours, and you are Christ, and Christ is God. And then it works the other way. God is Christ, and Christ is yours, and you belong to all things. And so, that's supposed to be true of us as well. That as Christ is the bread of the world, which is sent into the world to feed the world,

[47:53]

to bring it to life, so also, we who eat the blood of Christ are supposed to become somewhat blessed in the world. So we can expect also to be blessed in the church. I hope so. Any questions? Good. I'd say that, like Christian, one should feel one with everything that comes to him. Yes. I'm thinking specifically of death, suffering, you know, as St. Francis would say, he would think death is physical death, a searing kind of death, and that God, in a certain sense, himself, could be committed to medication, suffering, that is somehow intentional,

[48:55]

because everything is, you know, God is so thoughtful of what he's able to do for us. But it seems to me that only sin is the thing that he has a trans-body of medication. He could transform sin or not, but anyway, that's something that he has many things to do with. In fact, the body has nothing to do with the devil or somebody who's acting in the spirit of God. That's right. He has nothing in the spirit of God. He has nothing to do with it, he has nothing in it. But the fact that, well, I'm just thinking, when a person thinks about death, or suffering, and they see somehow that that is the face of God, they're driven by that darkness, which is a limitation of death, but that is the face of God, and there's a kind of heavenly glory within that darkness. That's what I was thinking when I was hearing you. You know, I'm the devil,

[49:56]

and I forgot that I was born that way. It just seems to me like every evil person, you know, putting themselves in somebody's face, well, I was too bad, or something. But, you know, that's really how the face of God, whether it's in sin or not, I mean, you're talking about a horrible thing. Yes. It's somehow, and if I deny that, if I go, you've got the first name of God, I won't think that much about it. But because it's really somehow him, because he shows a whole different type of will, and his personality is such a soul, that he says, well, this is me. And to take it a little bit, this is me, and this is God. You've done a good job. I've transformed everything. That's it? Maybe that's worth the pain.

[50:56]

So, you know, I'm not saying any of the moments are going to be a great tragedy, but a lot of them will be jokes, or, you know, I'm going to set up a block and chop it up, and say, well, look what I've done, you know, I've done this, I've done that, and, uh, you know, this and that. And I don't see how a Christian can really do that, you know, clearly, unless you can see that, you know, the whole guilt and everything that's been put up for a while, you know, is God's order. God will support it, or better yet, I don't see the permission to speak to you about that part of the will, I don't see how you can do that. It's not as if he says, well, okay, you know, okay, but don't tell me about it, you know, I don't think he does that, with his assistance, with his angels. Okay, don't tell me how you're going to do that. That kind of dark business over there, the torture chamber over there, okay, you operate that, you know, you're right about that thing.

[51:57]

I've been thinking about that a lot, you know, it goes back one way and another. And it seems to me that in the end, our life is a problem of getting two things together, which is if one of them is our inner dynamism, call it arrows, call it love, call it this transcendent dynamism, call it the life power, whatever you want it. And the other one is death, is that black thing, is that limitation, that suffering, that anguish, all of the things that sort of fall together into that basket of death, okay. And it's strange how many ways this goes back. And it's a problem of getting the two together so that we can say like St. Francis, sister death. Remember when St. Francis says, my lady poverty, and then he says sister death. And he's got a particularly affectionate relationship with lady poverty, which is his thing, which he espouses. He marries lady poverty. But for me, lady poverty is just another name for lady death, the sister death, okay. And they're both just another name for lady wisdom. Lady wisdom, which is something like the spirit of God coming to us

[52:58]

and embracing all things, both sides, the bitter like the sweet, the dark and the light together. Now, we have to find a way to be able to say, my lady death, to espouse ourselves to that word of God which comes to us in our limitation, in our suffering, in our death. The negativity, whatever it is, to find that also belongs to God. That too is somehow in God. Not that it reflects an evil or a darkness in God or a nastiness in God. Now, even the notion of the wrath of God is very hard to remember. The anger of God, I don't know what to do with it. Not that it reflects something like that in God, but that somehow it is transfigured ultimately because it lies inside the light of God. All of this darkness is sort of overarching and contained inside the light of God. We're in the belly of the whale with John. Jung, you know, has got this thing about encountering the two archetypes that seem to be particular problems

[54:00]

between anima and the shadow. Now, the anima seems to me to represent this force of love, this eros, this marriage in a sense. That's our lady. I don't mean just marriage. I mean our lady, Lady Whisper, whatever. On the other side, we've got the shadow, which in some way sums up death. And in dreams it comes to you like the horrible specter that's chasing you. Whatever it is, the beast, the big fish that comes out of the water, whatever, that's chasing you. And then you turn around and you look at it. You're scared to death. And then you go over and you shake hands with it and it shrinks down and becomes, I don't know if we're very friendly with it. That's the shadow and that's death, in a sense. And it's a matter of turning around towards it with a kind of friendly acceptance. Now, you two are a creature of God, both of you, my brother and my sister, shaking hands with it to transform it, to transfigure it in some way. And this comes back time after time after time

[55:02]

in one way or another as you go through these things. That matter of being able to confront your death in whatever form it comes to you. And we'll be talking more about that, the various forms that your death takes. I think, ultimately, a monk is meant to get to a kind of philosophy like that where every negativity that comes to him, he puts it into the same basket. And he says, okay, that's my death. Now, I put all this together and it's easier to handle if you put it all in one basket. And then you make friends with it and you say, well, that's my companion. God has given me that sister or that lady to walk with in my life. And then gradually you can get transformed if you accept it in that way. And you say, this too is part of God. This too is God's gift to me. Just like it was his gift to Jesus. But he had to go through that chalice that he had to go through. It's the same thing. It's a matter of facing it and saying, well, that's it. And then, really often, waiting for something to happen. Waiting for the change to happen in our hearts so that we can accept it. That's the grace of,

[56:03]

the spirit of wisdom, as it were, that has to come into us and enable us really to say yes, even after we recognize the reality of it. There's a whole business of a coup de grace about the stages of dying, you know? Where you start out with denial and then you get really the anger and the depression and the bargaining and this and that. When you short-circuit it in some way, when you turn around and you look it in the face and you say, okay, that's it. That short-circuits the denial. When you short-circuit the anger, sometimes I will accept it. There's a sister that I know that complains that the thing that short-circuits the whole business is grieving. It's a function. We'll get to that later. The monk's spirit of compunction, that tenderness of heart, which is able to say yes to anything he will, be it wealth or non-wealth. Yes, question? Yes, yes.

[57:11]

To be able to do that with a kind of sweetness, that's the secret of the whole thing. And that's the thing that integrates us in some way. It gets our strength together with our tenderness. That sort of marriage of the heart that we were talking about. It's a masculine and feminine inside of ourselves, which we achieve in confronting death, the adversary, the enemy, the shadow, with somehow the sweetness of our nature, finding it somehow. And only the Holy Spirit can do this, of course. That's the gift of the spirit. That's the gift of the spirit. And in which enables us to prefer God's will to anything else. Simply because we've bought the whole thing, we've swallowed the whole thing. We've accepted the good over the sweet. Unlike Adam, who plucked the fruit from the tree and then has to swallow the goodness of death later on to get the other side of the fruit. That's what it should be that he's doing now. So the monk is the one who sort of accepts the other end of it. At least potentially, virtually,

[58:12]

he accepts the death knowing that the fruit will come afterwards when it's time that the tree will die. Yes, sir. Please. Yeah, yeah, yeah. There's so much that's said today. There's such a multiplicity of words and such a multiplicity of opinions. Unless you go right back to the truth of life, which is the word of God, which is God's revelation of himself

[59:13]

in Christ and in the Bible and in the Church, you're bound to get deceived. And yet at the same time, the Church has to open up to the world in a sense in which it doesn't negate it enough. The Church doesn't just say, well, here's our fortress of truth and everything else is hopeless, everything else is damned. That's not what the Holy Spirit wants today, obviously. So what we need is a kind of spirit of fidelity and of openness at the same time, which can only come from the Holy Spirit, who knows how to discern between error and truth. We can't just close our eyes to all of it. That's the trouble. We can't just turn away from all of it. We have to seek what is true and we have to search. But boy, we can't read all the books. We forget the one essential truth

[60:21]

and then we get deceived. Yeah, yeah, yeah. The truth is very simple, after all. You can find out how to do it. But the trouble is that somehow it closes up on us. We forget it and at the same time we lose it and we can't find a way back into it again. It doesn't have the freshness and the reality that it had for us at another time. That's the problem. No, no. It's as if that panoramic view thing is like the Greek thing where you want to see it all with your eyes. You want to sit in the executive chair and overlook the whole thing out in front of you, that kind of royal view. But the Jewish thing and the Christian thing is something else where you go inside and you're more like Jonah in the belly of the whale and you go through this experience. And like Jesus, you're inside the thing and you don't see it at all. You're experiencing in time and in the darkness and in your heart the thing but you don't have that panoramic view. The panoramic view of the philosopher

[61:23]

that's a kind of power, that thing. Remember when the devil took Jesus up like where did he take him? On top of the mountain. He said, here are all the kingdoms of the world and I'll give you a lot of them like to fill up on top of the sand. This magnificent empire of crushed rock. But the Christian thing is something else. Jesus doesn't have that panoramic view himself. There's a moment of the transfiguration but then he goes down into the darkness again and he shares all of that. And look at John the Baptist, the faithful man, down in his prison, in the darkness. John the Baptist, the greatest of the prophets was down in this hole in this basement in the darkness and then gets his head chopped off. That's the Jewish way. I hate you.

[62:36]

I hate you. Very resentful, huh? You can have that that, what do you call it? That glowing thing. That glowing coal of resentment down in your heart. What's the word? Anyway. If we don't accept if we don't sort of face the thing and get in touch with how we feel you see we can be resentful without even knowing it. We can say yes and feel no. We can say yes on the surface and say no in our hearts and that's fair. Because then we get mad at God and now we're getting the all kinds of darkness. Like Jonah. Jonah is funny. That's deliberately a funny story. The story of Jonah who runs away from God. He's the opposite of Elijah. Elijah goes up in a fiery chariot and Jonah goes down in the belly of the whale. He's the anti-prophet.

[63:39]

They can emerge again when a person isn't looking. The hatred. Unforgiveness. Not only in a war but even in a religious community. A person can carry a grudge for years and years and he doesn't even know it. It's funny. We cling to the things that we like. We cling to joy. We cling to pleasure. We cling to hatred too. Right? We cling to evil. We cling to sin. If we've been sinned against we hang on to that. It's like we hoard sin. Either the sweet time or the sour time. We've got a real taste for it. We hoard other people's sins and things they do against us. Hang on to that if you can. Unforgiveness. Yes. Yes.

[64:54]

Lack of self-acceptance. Is he the first one that you find out in the Bible? Pretty rarely. Unless you can say the same thing as Adam and Eve when they were naked and they didn't say anything. But with Cain you get this idea of unforgiveness and lack of acceptance. Where he says, every man will kill me. Yes. I think St. Augustine when he writes his book about the two cities the city of God he makes Cain the father of that city of hatred and evilness the city of sin. Those are the sons of Cain. And so it runs right down into our first account of Cain's death. So Cain is sort of banished into the land of unlikeness because he's killed his wife he's killed his brother and somehow he can't even accept himself. He's torn at everything. In conflict. After the exterior conflict

[66:00]

killing his brother he has this interior conflict he sort of assembles it for the conflict that goes into that. The fact that the first two sons that are born from Adam and Eve should be at war with one another in that way. It symbolizes the conflict that comes through sin and it runs through us all the way down. Yes. Yes. He was probably thinking of his vigorous materialism. I don't know how to get that together. For instance take this other expression that we should accept death lovingly. And you'll hear lots of people say that death is the enemy and we should hate death. Hate death because it's demonic because it's the... Consider death now

[67:02]

as the death of a loved one or the death of... You can't see that person disappear. You can't stand to see that beauty or that goodness or that love disappear. So in one sense we're supposed to hate death and in another sense we're supposed to lovingly face it and accept it. How do we get those two things together? As coming from the hand of God we have to accept it lovingly we have to arrive at that position openly and that resistance and that banishment has been... has been overcome. And that resistance has disappeared into the sweetness of acceptance. But it's as if before we do that there's a moment when we should not give up too early. Okay? I don't know how to... I don't know how to put this I don't understand it but it's as if you can't let go too early or if you do you're being unfaithful to reality to the truth of that person or that thing or whatever. The person who doesn't grieve you know somebody dies his wife dies or something well that's it. They have got this

[68:02]

and they just go down as if nothing happened. There's something wrong in here. There's a grieving process that should take place because love and value and truth are here. And then truth of our nature I don't know how to say that. But I think the answer is often in grieving rather than suffering. If we see that the thing is inevitable to go through that process of mourning sometimes you know rather than to fight it. To fight it would be sort of an option of course but I think it's better to do this than to go through it. I think it's just a whole little resource of statements you made about suffering because you didn't know what heaven would be like if there was no suffering. Yes. That's when you found God all of your life. That's amazing to hear somebody say something like that. It's amazing they made me say that. She'd really had it.

[69:02]

It is hard to understand how from another point of view how heaven could be just unbroken bliss or something like that because for us in our darkened world even to our imagination it seems insipid. But for her to say that is something else. Just to enjoy ourselves all the time doesn't seem like a very godly thing. Heaven will have to be something other than that. Where the rub is I don't know yet. There's some kind of work I'd like to do up there. They've probably got three or four hours a day of work. Well, heaven doesn't have to be something other than that. It has to be true heaven for all of us. Don't you think that heaven and heaven and all the angels and saints can't be something other than heaven for us? That's right. I mean, it has to be something other than heaven for all of us.

[70:08]

Okay, now you really got something there. Every person being the image of God should be another heaven for you in a way. Now that's what people begin to discover in this life when they fall in love with one another, okay? That inside the other person inside the human person there is a depth and a mystery which reflects the beauty and the fullness of God. So it doesn't you can't enjoy it fully in this world, okay? But in heaven we should be free to do that. So that each of us should be somebody a special place like a mirror that reflects the inside of God like nothing else in the universe for one another. But not just a reflection of God but that has something of its own like a color as if the light of God were a white light and then each of us could reflect that light in a different beautiful color, you know. Something like that. Each person would be another heaven until we have heaven inside of ourselves in some way. But we can't crack the nut ourselves. We can't get in there and start to enjoy it. ...

[71:18]

Okay, maybe it's more like artistic creation up there, huh? ... Yeah, that's good. That's good. ... Yeah, that's good. But there's something in us that needs effort, huh? I don't know whether it's just going to the Lord or not but there's something in us that needs effort. The wheel needs something to push it. ... It might be more

[72:49]

like flying. ... It might be more like flying and more like music because we live pros down here. ... There's this notion of progress in life and that's what you say is adding something to that, not only the notion of progress, of growth and everything like St. Gregory of Nyssa has done, but you never finish. You're always growing in heaven. You don't stop and it's not like where the tree falls there, it remains. As soon as you die you remain at that level and there's nothing more. But heaven as being is kind of a movement or a journey into God from glory to glory or whatever, but a growth anyway, a continual progress. Now what you say adds something to it because it adds a notion of effort and it seems like there's that thing in us which requires to, which is worth keeping after this life, that thing of effort of applying the will of, I don't know, operating. I don't know how.

[73:51]

But somehow there are some activities even in this life where the effort begins to be completely colored by the joy at the end of it or the joy of the activity like singing or like playing a musical instrument or like some kind of artistic creation, you know, when the difficulties themselves, they just gradually fit into the pattern. Yeah. Some people seem to be gifted with more of that than others. Part of it. Yeah. And that was the last word. And after that nobody asked him any more questions like in the gospel.

[75:08]

I was the last woman that ever confronted Winston Churchill. Yes. And he said one thing and I was, I was going to say, you know, it's like he told me that, I'm sorry, Churchill climbed the wall about five miles high and I was trying to climb it and I think I gave him more of the experience than anything else. But you know what he said? This is what he said. If you can't say anything nice about him before he, you know, if you can't say anything good about him you don't say nothing.

[76:11]

Yeah. Yeah, I've heard that. Do you believe it? You hear it all the time. I think the important thing is what's underneath what you say. In other words, we can talk, we can praise a person at the same time we're really criticizing him underneath and people know it. Or we can criticize a person with love in our hearts so that it really lends towards his upbuilding and somehow brings other people to love him. It's what's in the heart that really determines, you know, the value of what you say. And Jesus is very hard about words also in the gospel. I mean, out of every word that a man speaks he's going to be judged. He says be careful about what you say. It's the question of, he says out of the good treasure of the heart then comes good food. Out of the bad food

[77:15]

comes bad food, okay? So it's a matter of what's in your heart when you talk that really counts. You can criticize with love in your heart and that's fine like you'd correct a child. You can praise with envy in your heart and with detraction in your heart and that's bad. Or we can criticize with a real envious destructive hateful spirit in our hearts and that's murder. So, I think, you know, that's a good sort of rule of thumb what he said but sometimes we can't because there's got to be criticism otherwise nothing will ever get corrected. Like John the Baptist, he criticized. The prophets, they criticized. They didn't always say something right. Jesus himself, look the way he talked to the Pharisees. So, those things are good rules of thumb but you can't always use them. Well, why is it so hard for us to see something that's not right? Well, that's a good thing to think about. It's because of original sin and simply our own our own egoism.

[78:16]

The fact that so often we want to be number one and it's our own ego that makes us judge and criticize others. That's probably something we'll get to later on but if you read the sayings of the Wizard Fathers this whole thing about not judging your brother and we say not criticize they say not judge. They say don't judge your brother. Don't look at the speck in your brother's eye. Look at the beam in your own and that great big log in our own eye is manifested in the way that we judge our brother instinctively and are always trying to pin something on him or always trying to find something bad in him instead of wanting to find what is good in him. So, that's our sin. That's the clearest evidence of our sin is the way that we judge other people. So, maybe that should be a particular vocation for you. You're a right fellow. Our

[79:20]

particular vocation is to seek out the good in this people. Do we really have to work at that if our nature is against it? Our fallen nature. Notice how we take pleasure the moment it comes to it. Just insert a little bit of criticism, a little bit of negativity in our heart against the light of it. It's awful. That's why St. Benedict damns murmuring. Because it's almost diabolic, this finding pleasure in negativity and then sharing it with somebody else, kind of like stolen whiskey. Look, look, you move out there like the eagle, that might be the devil working on that. The angle. No, it's the eagle. Oh, the eagle, yeah. The devil's ego. He's got an inside track to our ego. He's got a

[80:20]

key to the door that he just doesn't know he wants. But not that our ego is demonic. It's so open to him. It's so blind. Yes. And then they try to trap him, remember? Then they try to trap Jesus. He's got under the coin. Should we give it to Jesus? He says, well, why do you try to trap me? Why don't you speak to us? Sometimes

[81:30]

they try to challenge Jesus to let them see, but they also want to be on the scene. At the same time, Jesus would say to his disciples, avoid 11 of the scribes and apostles. He would speak to his disciples aside sometimes and he would say, I have a of a of a of words that they can't understand. I try to have to

[82:33]

go in in the apartments and And that's not a part of the self, it's the ego. That's the thing, that's the problem. And that's what Merton calls the false self, okay? And the whole of our problem is there. That's a kind of a death. You see, we've got to die to that thing which is our very self, that's all. It's not a matter of doing this or that, or working at this or that, improving this or that, or sprouting this or that virtue, that's part of it. But the real thing is the self itself, right down in the core. And fortunately, our monastic spirituality is focusing on that today. You see, it sees that today. Just like psychology begins to see that the real problem is the self, and it's not over here or over there. So that's a fortunate insight. Because we used to talk so much about cultivating particular virtues, or eradicating particular vices and so on.

[83:34]

Well, it's true that we've got to work on those things, but the real work is on the self. And so, when St. Benedict talks about humility as the core of a monastic life, that's what he's saying, right? Because humility is that death to yourself. Not death to this or that. But to yourself, you don't need it. Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. You hear that popular song about it on the radio? It's hard to be a pundit. It's kind of popular in the country. It's hard to be a pundit. It's hard to be a pundit. It's kind of a worthless thing, you know. Well, I always feel like, well, you know why he won't get you? Just because he's mean. Well, that's what it's all about. Yeah. Did you ever reach the encounter of the 12 degrees of humility and pride in Pilate? No. When he talks about the more gross degrees of pride, it really is the most humorous monastic relationship in the world

[84:36]

until you find yourself reflected in it. Thank you. What do you think of this guy? He didn't give you the answer, though. That's a monastic question, though. Who am I? You look in the mirror and you say, who is that? See if it changes as you mature. As you get holier, see if the answer changes. Otherwise, it's hopeless. Yeah, humor is very important.

[85:38]

Somehow, Christianity often loses its grip on humor. There have been humorous saints like St. Philip Mary and St. Francis. You have trouble finding humor in Jesus himself. It's hard to find humor in the Gospels. Except that episode of the fish. That one. In fact, in the whole scripture, you don't find a whole lot of humor. That's a good koan for you. How come there isn't more humor in the Bible? You've got Sarah who laughs, but that's about the last laugh in the whole Bible. And that's 2000 B.C., and there's not another laugh. Well, humor must be a gift. Yeah, sure, but why isn't it in the Bible? Answer me that. Well, I wouldn't warn you. Okay, that's a predestined question. How come there isn't any laughter in the Bible? If you read the Psalms, there's laughter.

[86:43]

Well, there's joy. Joy, but not humor in our sense. You don't find any jokes. You don't see it. Well, you say it's a joke. Well, it is, yeah. That's right. But it's not, on the surface, it's not. It's written in serious form, but it's really the kind of comic satire on the Jewish people. That's what they say. And the way they run away from God, you know. And it is funny, so you're right about that. But it's hard to find explicit humor in the Bible. So, the psalmist will speak. Is that any...? That's true.

[87:49]

But that's an important question. I don't think that's just a trivial question. How come there isn't any humor in the Bible? It's also got to do with the masculine character of the word of God, okay? Now, humor is part of the other side. It's the feminine side, in a sense, in which you decide it doesn't come through in the word, but has to be discovered by yourself, okay? It's not just that it's human, and therefore it's, I don't know, of lesser value, or something like that. There's something kind of divine about humor. There's a thing about... where he says, Joy too comes from Eden, comes from paradise. Let's see that. Here we go. All joys hail from the garden of Eden, and jests too, jokes too, provided they are uttered in true joy. That's a Jew speaking, that's a rabbi, one of the hostages. There's something divine about humor, too, even though there are all kinds of jokes, from the worst to the best.

[88:54]

And in fact, at its worst, humor converges to sexuality, right? So bad humor is double-meaning humor, which is dirty jokes, all right? Or it's malicious, it's violent, one or the other. But at its best, there's something divine about it, because it springs from true joy, and it's harmless, it's creative, in a sense, and it's liberating. It releases people from their fears, their hang-ups, okay? Yes. But it's as if it has to be taught somehow by the Spirit. You're not going to find it anywhere else. That's curious. Yes. That's right. And then it's not a nice kind of laughter. Meanwhile, he's showering. He has stones or something like that. Something else. Often, yes.

[90:06]

David is the one you'd expect to be humorous, because otherwise he's perfectly human. Otherwise he shows this kind of fullness of the heart, and you'd expect that he would show humor, too, but I don't know if you see it. If you don't see him joking around, you ought to. Oh, there certainly is. There certainly is. Yes. Yes. He's got a little bit of people about him. So, but why do we stop saying this? Yes. 137. So the children of Babylon.

[91:09]

Yes. Yes. You don't say the psalm? Well, there's something else in that psalm. Remember where it says in the will of St. Benedict, take your evil thoughts and smash them down against the rock, which is Christ. Now, there's a spiritual interpretation of that psalm in which the babies that are dashed down against the rock are what? Evil thoughts or idols. The only thing that's worth smashing down is an idol. It's something which is false, something which doesn't have any existence. I think maybe, even on its basic level, maybe it's supposed to be interpreted in that sense. Smash down the idols which are the children of Babylon. I think that Babylon is the city of idolatry. I prefer to interpret it that way, being somewhat of a pro-life person. Anyway, those psalms are a problem.

[92:15]

Not much humor there. Shall we quit for this morning? Before we lose our sense of humor. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.

[92:31]