Wisdom and History

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Wisdom and History

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Less than one and a half years.
Remember, we moved from an ascending to a descending direction.
And we live no longer from outside but from inside.
At least largely, at least there's a revolution like that you can see in the New Testament.
But people live from an interior principle.
And so, instead of having just to receive, it's to take and to give.
And so, the pattern...
This is a completely independent person, totally at the mercy of the universe,
and daddy and mommy, so everything has to come in.
But with this conversion, there's an interior source, which is the invisible source,
which is the spirit of God, or the Father, or the Light.
And so, the organism begins to function outwards.
It begins to bear fruit, as it were. You can even see it in a plant.
There's a theoretical analyst, Owen Barfield,
who says that we move from one kind of participation to another kind of participation.
And he talks about how participation means how you kind of interact or interrelate,
or receive or give life,
or how you somehow fuse with the universe, with what you're around.
And he says that we begin with what he calls original participation,
in which you are like the pupil of the universe,
where you are dependent upon the universe in every way.
So your consciousness will come from the mythology that you inherit.
And it tends to be a passive mythology, OK?
You're receiving, and you believe it, you accept it in faith,
you don't question it, probably.
And you go along with it and live inside that container of that consciousness, of that myth.
But then he says, with the Christ event, with Jesus, something new happens.
He brings into the world a creative spark, or you could say a spark of freedom,
in which you become an origin within the world.
You become a beginning in the world.
You discover a creativity within yourself which is able to create something new,
and also assumes a new relationship towards the universe,
especially towards the material creation principle.
Now, we've been talking about something like that in yourself and other people,
from dependence to a giving position, a relationship.
But it also happens in the universe.
Just picture Copernicus waking up one fine morning and deciding that,
no, the sun doesn't revolve around the earth, the earth revolves around the sun.
Imagine that.
As if that were the awakening of a human being to a truth which goes beyond appearance.
So, awakening to that solar reality, and the magnificence of it,
that the center of illumination is also the center of gravity.
To discover the true center, to discover the true source.
Now, when he discovers that, when Copernicus, let's say, on this fine morning,
wakes up and discovers that truth beyond appearance, which defies appearance,
it's counterintuitive, you could say, in today's geography,
he's also discovering a center of illumination within himself.
As he discovers the reality of the sun, let's say,
the royalty of our own god, of our own solar system,
he discovers the divinity within himself, and that he has a relationship to the universe,
which in some way is godlike.
In other words, there's an intelligence, there's a spirit in him,
that somehow is able to pierce through the appearances of the universe,
and to grasp what is true.
And that's the story of the West, this Copernican awakening,
this Copernican revolution, of which the human person wakes up in this world
with a power to transform this world,
or a power to penetrate it, to understand this world.
It's a tremendous thing.
So, I can't go along with B. Griffiths and say he's just a tragedy.
Because it's like there's an exchange, but it's a temporary exchange.
And the problem is, that instead of integrating, we emigrate.
Now, you've got to do it. If you're a born scientist, you've got to go and do it.
You've got to do your experiments and your calculations.
You have to forget eternalism for a while.
But, by and large, our consciousness has to integrate those two,
rather than emigrating from one to the other.
In the way that we've done in the West.
And I suppose the way of Peter is as a way of walking is also a way of emigrating.
Moving from one thing to another.
But the job of Christianity, and especially of a wisdom Christianity,
ultimately is to integrate.
You can see the whole picture.
Science along with wisdom.
But that new relationship that we have to the world, to the universe,
you can see it in science, but you can also see it in art.
You can see it in modern art.
Modern art, where the human subject begins to assume a liberty
with respect to external things.
Begins to rearrange them.
You may not like it very well, but it symbolizes
the human person waking up in the world.
The human person waking up to a transcendent freedom in the world,
by which, in a sense, it can recreate the universe.
On a canvas.
Something like that.
The scientist does it in another way.
Science and technology.
But it's a marvelous thing.
And it's not just the science, it's not just the technology,
it's not just the art, it's not just culture.
It's the human person waking up.
But not like in the East, where you wake up, as it were, to the source,
and your personality sort of recedes back into its birth,
back into the undifferentiated ground, the divine ground.
Brahman or Atman.
Or non-duality.
It's the human person waking up in this world,
with the power to live in this world and humanize this world.
To personalize in some way this world.
And you could say it's a divine faculty of creation,
which the person has discovered within himself or himself.
If we think of the image of God in a classical Christian way,
as being like a transcendent core within us,
a unitive place within us,
the center, the ground,
in which we are one with the...
and reflect the unity of God.
Say, the contemplative core in ourselves.
There's also another way of thinking of the image of God, isn't there?
God is creator.
And the human person is put in this world also as creator.
So at a certain moment we wake up to that faculty,
to that power in this world.
Which can go bad or can go good.
It can go mighty good, too.
It's not only the faculty of changing nature, let's say, with technology.
It's the faculty of changing human society.
The faculty of changing the structures of society,
instead of just accepting and carrying on and putting on a character.
So you can say that Karl Marx is an offshoot
of that awakening of the human person,
as are so many other things in our modern Western world
which don't recognize Christianity at all.
They rejected Christianity because Christianity stayed inside a certain area,
a container, and did not open
with the opening and the awakening of the human person in the West.
That's not entirely true, but it's largely true.
The church couldn't handle a new wine very often,
and so the wineskin breaks.
The wine pours out.
And that wine that pours out
begins to liberate humanity.
And for a long while it scares the daylights out of the church.
And then the Vatican, too, the Catholic Church,
begins to be able to recognize it and accept it.
And gets an inkling that the secret of that is within itself.
The secret of that is in the wisdom of the wine that breaks.
So a lot of what I want to say about a new wisdom is related to that.
Is related to what's really inside the West.
Because if you read spiritual writers,
sometimes they sound like they're sitting on top of a pile of garbage in the West.
That the whole of Western history is nothing but pride, arrogance, exploitation,
oppression, and robbery.
And the rape of the environment.
There's a lot more to it than that.
That's the immature West.
That's the West which hasn't learned where the second half is like.
But what's really in the West is the waking up of the human person in this world
with the ability to create a human world, which is also a divine world.
Because the human person is somehow in between God and the material creation.
The material creation waiting somehow to be redeemed in the human person.
Paul says that in Romans 8 in one way.
Where he says, the world is waiting, the creation is groaning until now,
waiting for the redemption, the liberation of our body.
Because our body is the world in some way.
But even short of that final resurrection,
there's a transformation, liberation of the creation through human work,
through human understanding, through the humanizing of the world
which happens when the human person wakes up.
We also wake up to the fact that we're one beings in some way.
Humanity wakes up to its unity after all this time.
Very significant fact that in our time humanity awakens as a single being.
You know, you've got a guy, a hypothesis, and so on.
Very different ideas about the earth as a single organism,
and humanity as a single human being.
From the Christian point of view, that's as it were the body of Christ
awakening to itself as a reality.
It would be so silly for us to be wandering around,
how many billions of people, six billion now,
walking around, each locked in its own little person.
Each locked in its own little body with no communication.
We're obviously all one thing in some way.
And at this point we wake up to it.
We begin to wake up to it once again.
Which is a great challenge and a great liberation for Christianity.
And a demand for a whole kind of new way of thinking.
That's getting a little ahead of us.
I wanted to bring out that point about the revolution
also being a revolution into creativity.
Into the discovery of a new freedom within yourself,
a new source, which is a divine source.
Otherwise somehow the world can be recreated.
That may sound like an exaggeration,
but we can recreate the world in our own little circle.
Make a tremendous difference just by doing small things.
There's a lot of texts in the New Testament about this reversal of flows
from inward to outward, that is from taking to giving.
There's a strange one here where it's both in Luke and it's Matthew,
where they challenge Jesus because his disciples are not washing their hands
before they eat.
And he says, well, there's nothing that comes from the outside that can defile a person.
What defiles a person comes from the inside, right?
Remember he says, all those evil thoughts and all those sins,
they come from the inside and go out.
But nothing that comes into you from the outside can defile.
See how that represents that same revolution?
Not only are you independent of the source from outside,
relatively speaking, because your major source, your principal source is in your heart.
It's the divine spirit in your heart which flows outwards.
But also, nothing can, what would you call it,
overcome the power of that which is within you in terms of defiling.
He'll say that to the Pharisees in Luke's Gospel, and then he'll say,
but give alms from what is within and everything is pure for you.
Do you feel a revolution there?
What is inside you has the power to make everything clean.
There's no such thing as clean food and unclean food anymore.
None of these religious distinctions that held up in the past hold anymore.
Why? Because the spirit has been given to the human person.
And the Holy Spirit within you, the spirit of God, is, what would you call it,
sovereign over all those things.
Paul will say, circumcision or uncircumcision don't matter anymore.
What matters is the new creation.
Wow, that's exciting.
Especially when we realize that new creation is in ourselves,
the power of that new creation is in us.
And somehow it's given to us.
We have to learn what we can give them.
So that's about Lesson 1.5.
There's a lot of the paradoxes in the Gospels that relate to this.
In the Sermon on the Mount, especially,
where, let me quote a couple of lines.
You've heard that it was said,
you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
Same revolution there, okay?
Before, you had to give tit for tat,
an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
That was the game then.
Now something new has come inside you,
an inexhaustible source in which you can give
without having to be protected or without having to take.
It sounds extreme for us. It is extreme.
Certain heroic Christians have been able to do it.
But the principle is inside us. That's the point.
He couldn't command this unless he was going to give you the power to do it.
And it's the same power.
It's this fontality we're talking about,
which is faith, hope and love all in one movement,
which is the flow of life through you that moves outwards and doesn't turn back.
So he says, give with your right hand.
Don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.
What does that mean?
Give without taking.
Give without taking back.
Give without demanding a thank you.
Give without demanding recognition.
It's that movement that moves forward just like it's light,
that doesn't turn back on itself.
That's what he's teaching because that's what he's giving.
But before the gift, they can't do it.
You can imagine what those crowds felt when they heard him talking like that.
Maybe there was already some kind of anticipation in the spirit
to try that out and put it away.
But it was only after a hundred classes that they could do it.
Another example, clearer.
I'll go straight into this.
Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
so that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven.
For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good
and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?
And so on.
You, therefore, must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.
That's Matthew.
And Luke will say you must be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful.
But the point is, with this revolution, something is given to you
that moves forward and doesn't turn back.
So you have the freedom to accept that, to appropriate that,
and to move with it and let your life move with it.
And there are a lot of other things like that in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew.
But you see that movement that moves in one direction doesn't move back.
Left hand, right hand, and all of that.
It's a new ballgame because God has come into the world and is inside of him, of course.
And that's changing everything.
Theresa?
I was wondering whether Eucharist and charity had a common root in Charis, in that gift?
Yes.
And whether the Eucharist might be that miracle that you're talking about
of giving without worrying about having something left over for yourself
and then finding out that after everyone has their fill,
there's more left over than you started with.
Yeah, I think so.
The Eucharist is the symbol of that.
And it's the symbol of the incarnation of that in some way.
I think the Eucharist is two things.
It's our food. It's many things.
It's our food.
It's the reiterated sacrifice of Jesus.
And that kind of opening up once again of the vertical, from having the vertical.
Somebody was speaking about that earlier.
But it's also the lesson of the shape that our life should take.
Remember that sermon of Augustine about that.
If you eat at that table, be prepared to go for a meal.
So it is.
And the fact that if you give, that's the promise in a way.
There'll be more left overs.
I don't know how that fits into your economic philosophy.
So, so much about that revolution.
Barfield's book is called Saving the Appearance.
It's the one where this is clearest, I think.
Most completely expressed.
More about the creative faculty coming into dramatic at that point.
Now, creativity means also the generation of a new history.
You can speak of it as freedom.
You can speak of it as creativity.
You can speak of it as a certain kind of consciousness.
But something happens when you move from east to west.
Or something happens when Christ comes into the world.
And history takes off with a new momentum.
With a new acceleration, as well, as we feel in our time.
But suppose that Christ the Benedict is the center and the engine of history.
Suppose that's what turns a rotating movement into some kind of linear movement.
It moves forward and creates something that wasn't there before.
I would propose that that is true.
And we'll try to follow that more developmentally tomorrow.
What about this second lesson?
The first lesson is awakening to what we've been given.
The second lesson is the lesson of how to live it.
Or how to give it away, in a sense, how to let it disappear.
First of all, listen to the life of faith.
I mentioned I was trying to define the life of faith as living non-dual consciousness in the body.
But if you're going to live non-dual consciousness in the body, you also have to awaken to what it is, don't you?
You may not feel it all the time.
You may not feel that freedom and that expansiveness, that unlimited luminosity in your spirit, in your consciousness.
But you have to understand what it is that you have.
And that means tearing down a lot of the barriers that were there before.
The barriers that Paul talks about when he says,
Well, you know, you were slaves before to the elemental spirits of the universe.
So you kept days and months and you kept all these rituals and all these things that you conformed to,
which were principles outside yourself.
But now you've become children of God.
So the spirit has come into you.
So the principle of life and of intelligence is within you.
And you are master of all these things.
You can do them if you want to.
You can have your peace days.
You can have your rituals and so on.
But do them freely.
That is, recreate them as the spirit of God teaches you to.
Rather than just conforming to some law outside yourself.
That's the great principle of the movement from law to spirit.
That the spirit of God which is in you is greater than all of those laws and ordinances.
The prison has been sprung.
You are no longer a slave but a child of God.
To be a child of God means to have divinity within you.
Not only as a center, not only as a ground, as a place to go.
Not only as unity, but also as creative power.
So we are still on the positive side.
The darkness has descended a bit.
But it follows upon us.
This is all part of the process of the life of faith.
Faith implies a certain darkness, even when we are in the light.
But then I think the journey of faith.
That's what John of the Cross is writing about.
The journey of faith, basically.
And it's all of it.
His books are a great delicatessen of spiritual delights.
But continually he tells you to renounce them.
Okay, this isn't important.
Don't get stuck on this.
Don't get attached to that.
The only thing that counts is faith.
Because faith directly unites us with God.
That's a pretty strong statement.
Someone else would probably love it.
And he will, but I don't.
But the bottom line is faith.
The bottom line is somehow finding in us the root in that which we have been given.
So that we continually act from it.
And the gospel gives you the shape of the life that emerges from that.
Which is a very simple shape anyway, isn't it?
It's this shape of him.
And it's the shape of, I don't know, avoiding the things that will contaminate or suffocate
from one way or another poison that life.
So, but the gospel gives you the words, the shape, the structure somehow.
And then the spirits that you've been given gives you the faculty to live that way.
The power to live that way.
But the experience is going to disappear into the ground.
I don't think we ever get to a plateau of contempt at the beginning.
I don't.
I think that's a kind of...
Maybe it's a paradox for the first half of life, for the first half of history,
but it doesn't seem to work anymore.
Either personally, individually, or collectively.
People have spoken about a societal dark night of the soul in the West in our time.
That was in the 20th century with the two world wars and all of that.
Maybe we feel a little more optimistic now.
But I think just to say that a society, at least a Western society,
which has a particular vocation,
and which is basically, essentially, Christian,
does go through a darkness like people go through a darkness.
And it's a darkness which demands faith.
So Karl Rahner would say,
if somebody wants to be a Christian in the future, they have to be a mystic.
What would he mean?
Does that mean they have to be experiencing God all the time?
Or does it mean that they have to be living from inside
with an interior connection with God,
rather than a cultural connection with God?
What he calls folkloristic Christianity.
What you inherited, but never made your own.
If you want to be a Christian in the future, you would say,
you've got to be living your Christianity from the center of yourself,
through that spirit that has been given to you.
The new birth that's been given to you.
It has to be personalized.
That's what I think he means by mystic.
And the second lesson goes further than the life of faith itself,
because it's the way of Jesus which becomes the way of the cross.
Here we can have our reading maybe from Eliot.
Here we go.
From T.S. Eliot, T. Stanford.
Oh, dark, dark, dark.
They all go into the dark.
The vacant interstellar spaces,
the vacant into the vacant.
The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters.
The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers.
Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees.
Industrial lords and petty contractors.
All go into the dark.
And dark the sun and moon,
and the almanac de gota,
and the stock exchange gazette,
the directory of directors.
And cold the sense and loss, the motive of action.
And we all go with them into the silent funeral,
nobody's funeral,
for there is no one to bury.
I said to my soul, be still,
and let the dark come upon you,
which shall be the darkness of God.
As in a theater, the lights are extinguished
for the scene to be changed.
With a hollow rumble of wings,
and the movement of darkness on darkness.
And we know that the hills and the trees,
the distant panorama,
and the bold imposing facade
are all being rolled away.
Or as when an underground train in the tube
stops too long between stations,
and the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence.
And you see behind every face
the mental emptiness deepen,
leaving only the growing terror
of nothing to talk about.
Or when under ether,
the mind is conscious, but conscious of nothing.
I said to my soul, be still,
and wait without hope,
for hope would be hope for the wrong thing.
Wait without love,
for love would be the love of the wrong thing.
There is yet faith,
but the faith and the love and the hope
are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought,
for you are not ready for thought.
So the darkness shall be the light,
and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams,
and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen,
and the wild strawberry.
The laughter in the garden
echoed ecstasy not lost,
but requiring,
pointing to the agony of death and birth.
You say I am repeating
something I've said before.
I shall say it again.
Shall I say it again?
In order to arrive there,
in order to arrive where you are to get
from where you are not,
you must go by a way wherein
there is no ecstasy.
In order to arrive at what you do not know,
you must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess,
you must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not,
you must go through the way
in which you are not.
And what you do not know
is the only thing you know.
And what you own
is what you do not own.
And where you are
is where you are not.
Thank you.
I like that in the beginning,
it was dark, dark, dark,
and it opened the dark.
If you're watching the news from Washington
and they give you on television,
you can make that your mantra.
Matthias Elliot ended up with St. John of the Cross
as a place which leads into this darkness.
One change we might make nowadays
to what he wrote.
The darkness of God,
but is the darkness not also
the darkness of ourselves?
In other words, the darkness of the world.
Especially the darkness of those
who live in the dark really
because they're in poverty and affliction.
Moral question.
The darkness I think is horizontal
as well as vertical.
That is incarnate as well as spiritual.
So the walk of faith
as it goes into deepening darkness
I think also opens itself
horizontally, laterally
to other people.
It should.
There's nothing that unites us with God
that unites us with everybody else.
And that's when also it becomes
a communal thing for us
because we go through it together.
So the church I think goes through
a kind of darkness
and opening itself up
to every human being.
It's a darkness because
all of our containers
and our structures seem to shake
and seem to be compromised,
maybe to collapse.
But that's when Christianity
finds itself through.
When it's starting back at zero again
it's got no resources,
nothing in the bank again.
That's when it finds itself
once again.
Again and again and again
through history.
But it causes darkness
which is difficult for us.
I want to go back to Mark.
In Mark chapters
like 8.27 to 10.57
it's between, strange,
it's between the healing
of two blind men.
And that's very significant.
It's as if the disciples are blind.
And Jesus is hammering away
at their blindness with his light.
But the light that he's hammering away
is this truth of the second half.
As he's moving from Galilee
where he did all his wonders
and where he was so popular,
towards Jerusalem where he'll be
refused and then arrested
and then killed.
So he's trying to teach them
that turn in the road
and they're not getting there at all.
So the whole of that section,
the middle section in Mark
is about that teaching.
But other things kind of come again
but that's the main line.
Other than the beginning and the end.
Remember we were hearing about
Jesus' question to the disciples.
Good people say that I am.
And then Peter's response
was a wonderful answer.
You are the Christ.
In Matthew he says
you are the Christ,
the son of the living God.
Then let's go and read what follows.
And he began to teach them
immediately after that
the son of man must suffer many things
and be rejected by the elders
and the chief priests and scribes
and be killed and after three days
rise again.
And he said this plainly.
And Peter took him
and began to rebuke him.
But turning and seeing his disciples
he rebuked Peter and said
get behind me Satan
for you're not on the side of God
but of man.
See Peter has passed the first lesson
of applying colors.
The second lesson he's utterly failed.
He can't follow that turn in the road.
If Jesus is the Christ
if he's the anointed one
if he's the son of God
then we're going into Jerusalem
in triumph.
We're going into power.
Just like James and John
are the left and right hand
when he goes into Jerusalem.
That's not the story is it?
He corrects James and John
at the end of that section
just before entering Jerusalem
and he rebukes Peter here
as if Peter had become
the one who tempted him
in the desert
to abandon the way
which God has destined for him
and take this other way of power.
Now it's the way of the cross.
And then he makes clear
that this is not just for him
but for anybody who wants to follow.
This is Mark 8, 34-38.
And he called to him
the multitude of his disciples
and said to them
if anyone would come after me
let him deny himself
and take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever would save their life
will lose it
and whoever loses their life
for my sake
in the gospel will save it.
But what does it profit someone
to gain the whole world
and forfeit their life?
And what can one give
in return for their life?
And so on.
Whoever is ashamed of me
and of my words
and of this adulterous
and sinful generation
of him will the Son of Man
also be ashamed
when he comes
in the glory of his Father.
The lesson is very clear there.
The second lesson.
Clear and sharp
and discouraging.
How does it matter
how we want to approach
that wall
that the Lord brought us?
Well, we can only go through it
with the gift of tenure
which disappears into the ground
so that you don't experience it
but that it's there
when you need it.
Like what they'll say later on
when they take you
into the synagogue
and question you.
They don't think about
what you're going to say.
The spirit that is in you
will give you wisdom
in that time.
God will give you
the words that you need.
God will give you
what you need.
If you're in the situation
that God has put you in
then you'll have what you need
coming from inside.
But it may be
mighty dark
when you go out to do it.
I like to use the example
of Paul here.
There's a wonderful
wonderful section
in 2 Corinthians 3 and 4
where Paul talks about the light
and then he talks about the darkness.
And it's wonderful
because exactly the same thing
is being reproduced in him.
And he's so eloquent about it.
Remember he talked about
the veil of Moses
being removed from the face
of the scriptures
as it were
when someone who leads in Christ.
When a person turns to the Lord
the veil is removed.
Now the Lord is the spirit
and where the spirit of the Lord is
there is freedom.
And we all with one veil of face
beholding the glory of the Lord
and being changed into his likeness
from one degree of glory
to another.
Now this comes from the Lord
who is the spirit.
It's all light.
It's all the divine light.
And a little later he'll say
for it is the God who said
let light shine out of darkness
who was shown in our hearts
to give the light of the knowledge
of the glory of God
in the face of Christ.
The veil has been removed
so you don't see Moses anymore
you see Christ.
But when you see Christ
you also as it were see in
the light which has been given to you
from which is one with yourself.
You have become the light
just as Christ is the light.
And it's not Moses
and it's not an external Christ anymore.
It's yourself.
It's the Copernican revolution
where you wake up to the fact
that the sun is your own identity
the sun is your own core.
And that it's the sovereign
in this world.
But then he continues immediately.
This is 2 Corinthians 4, 7-17.
But we have this treasure
in earthen vessels.
First lesson, the light that you are.
The second lesson,
the light is in earthen vessels.
Now, read what that means to him.
When he talks about weaknesses
he's usually talking about being beaten up
or something like that.
He's not talking about something
that's inside of him or personal or maybe.
We are afflicted in every way
but not crushed.
Perplexed but not driven to despair.
Persecuted but not forsaken.
Struck down but not destroyed.
Always carrying in the body
the death of Jesus
so that the life of Jesus
may also be manifested in our bodies.
If there's a gift given to us
we know there's a struggle coming
in some way, don't we?
What's a gift unless we make it our own?
How do we make a gift our own?
In a struggle of some kind, don't we?
Somehow we have to exert ourselves
we have to put ourselves forward
in order to be one with the gift
which is given to us.
And the shape of the gift
is the shape of the life and the death
of Jesus in this case.
It's the shape of God's life
in this human world.
While we live
we are always being given up to death
for Jesus' sake
so that the life of Jesus
may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
So death is at work in us.
He jumps now.
Death is at work in us
but life in you.
I think what he means is
that this is the way
that life is communicated to others.
That somehow
your going into the dark
in faith
is a way in which
light appears inside the heart
of somebody else.
Your going into the dark
is as if you were buried
into the mass
into the ground of humanity
in some way.
And while everything
seems totally dark to you
but you're following somehow
the word
everything seems totally dark to you
but you are light
you are a seed of light.
A seed of light
planted in the darkness
of the earth
of humanity
which somehow
sprouts into light
and illuminates
that humanity
from inside.
I think he's saying
that's the way it works.
It is all for your sake
so that His grace
extends to more and more people
that may increase
thanksgiving
to the glory of God.
So he says
he's coming to life
on the inside
and dying on the outside.
And you get the picture
of a burning bush here
like Moses' story.
A burning bush
which is sustained
with flame
and that flame
is giving life
even while it seems
to be burning away
life on the outside.
I haven't put it very well.
But the image
of the burning bush
of that which is sustained
rather than destroyed
by that which transcended it.
The divine fire
which in transcending us
and seeming to
take us into darkness
and take us into death
is really burning intensely
at the center of that
with a light.
With a light
which is able to fertilize
and give life
to that which is around us.
Peter is always
in the middle
of our story.
We've moved over
to Paul for a moment.
Remember the transfiguration
and they're up on the mountain
and they have the vision
of Jesus and Moses and Elijah
hear the voice from heaven.
Once again
we're at this point.
And after the
Moses and Elijah
have disappeared
Peter says
Lord it's good for us
to be here.
Let's make three chances.
A typical Peter
he loves that light.
He loves that first blessing.
But no.
Jesus leads them
down the mountain
and they go to Jerusalem
to his death.
So that light
of the Trinity
somehow
has to disappear
into the ground
and come out.
As if those three
are not enough
because there's been
an incarnation.
They have to go down
and get the fourth.
And that completes
the cross.
They've got to go back
down to the ground
and he has to go
to his death
and he's buried there.
Remember also
the parable
of the treasure
hidden in the field.
It's a very short parable.
The kingdom of heaven
is like a treasure
hidden in a field
which someone found
and covered up
and then in their joys
they go and sell
all that they have
and buy that field.
I've very carefully
put an inclusive line
in there
so you don't worry
about it.
Like a treasure
hidden in a field
which someone finds
and covers up.
You'd expect
when you buy a treasure
in a field
you go get a bag
and put it in the bag
and run off with it
and take it home.
But apparently
the law of this game
is that you can't do that
when you have to buy
the field.
You can't get
the treasure
without the field.
It's like a parable
of what we're talking about,
isn't it?
The parable
of that second lesson.
He's got to go
and sell all
that he's got
and buy the field
and perhaps
he's married
to the field
at that point.
Perhaps he has to work
that field
until the end of his life.
But in any case
you can't get the treasure
without the field.
The treasure is buried
in the field
and that field
is automatically.
But to have the treasure
buried in the field
of your humanity
is to have it buried
in the field
of everybody's humanity.
But in the process
you're getting buried
in the treasure.
Let's be imprudent
about it.
It's a marvelous parable.
Just one line.
But there's so much
in it
about the
sort of
the principle
of the way
the whole thing works
and about the incarnation
itself.
Is it good?
Jesus had had
the treasure
and then buried it
in the field
of all of us
as well.
The field of all of us.
Here's a text
from Augustine
in the homily
about the meal.
Remember?
He said,
quoting a book of Proverbs,
If you sit down
to eat at the table
of a ruler,
observe carefully
what is set before you,
then stretch out
your hand,
knowing that you must
provide the same kind
of meal yourself.
What does it mean
to stretch out
one's hand,
knowing that one
must provide the same
kind of meal oneself
if not what I have
just said?
As Christ laid down
his life for us,
so we in our turn
ought to lay down
our lives for our
brothers and sisters.
This is what the martyrs
did with such burning love.
If we are to give
true meaning
to our celebration
of their memorials,
that is to
the memorials
of the martyrs
of the Eucharist,
to our approaching
the Lord's table
and the very banquet
at which they were fed,
we must, like them,
provide the same kind
of meal.
So that's profound,
but it's so simple
that we can miss it
and ride right over.
It sounds like
you have to go out
and be martyred
every day,
but I think service,
there are all ways
of laying down
your life,
and the slightest
giving of oneself
to another,
the slightest
forsaking one's own
self-indulgence
and self-reliance
and self-love
for somebody else's sake
is doing that,
is on that path
of laying down
one's life.
So service
is already
providing
that same kind
of meal.
Remember Jesus
says somewhere,
the Son of Man
has come,
not to be served,
but to serve,
and to give his life
as a ransom
for many.
Notice how the two
are in one line.
To give his life
as a ransom for many
is martyrdom,
not sacrificial death.
But to serve,
instead of
being served,
is directly
doing the same thing,
it's just not
doing it
in the final
definitive way,
it's doing it
along the road.
So there's a Eucharistic
life as well as
a Eucharistic
human life,
and the Eucharistic
life basically
is giving,
serving,
whatever we have.
I'd like to move
to another angle
on this,
and that is
the paradoxical
nature of
Christian wisdom.
This is a
in 1 Corinthians 1,
chapter 1
and then chapter 2.
There's some
marvelous things
that Paul says here.
And here,
the light seems
to turn into darkness,
and the darkness
turns into light.
First of all,
he disowns
baptizing people
because he doesn't
want them to think,
I believe,
that he's responsible
for what they experience
in baptism.
He doesn't want
them to think
that he's
some charismatic
person
who can somehow
imagine
what's that,
to be seen
as coming from God.
So he says,
God did not send me
to baptize,
but to preach
the gospel.
And not with eloquent
wisdom,
lest the cross of Christ
be emptied of its power.
Notice,
that's the key,
the cross of Christ.
For the word of the cross
is folly to those
who are perishing,
but to us
who are being saved,
it is the power of God.
It is written,
I will destroy
the wisdom
of the wise.
And the cleverness
of the clever,
I will thwart.
How can we talk
about Christian wisdom?
It turns right
over on us.
It turns around
on an axle
at this point.
Where is the wise person?
Where is the scribe?
Where is the debater
of this age?
Has God not made
foolish the wisdom
of the world?
For since in the wisdom
of God the world
did not know God
through wisdom,
its wisdom
didn't lead it to God
in some way,
even the best of it.
Not in this way.
It pleased God
through the folly
of what we preach
to save those in need.
For Jews demand signs
and the Greeks
seek wisdom,
but we preach
Christ crucified
as stumbling block
to Jews
and folly to Gentiles.
But to those
who are called,
both Jews and Greeks,
Christ is the power
of God
and the wisdom
of God.
Wow.
Jews seek signs
and the Greeks
seek wisdom.
Remember our two columns?
Now the Greeks here
could stand,
in a sense,
for Asia,
if you like.
And the Greeks
could stand
for all of the
philosophies,
all of the wisdom
of the world
in some sense.
Not that they're bad,
but that they don't
get there all the way.
They don't arrive
somehow at this point.
Why do the Jews
seek signs?
Because signs,
remember,
wisdom and history,
the two columns,
signs are assurances
of God's power
working for you
in history.
The signs are
the signals
that God gives
his people
and the signs
that he's on their side,
basically.
Opening the Red Sea
so that they could
walk through
and the seven plagues
and all,
the ten plagues.
Those are the great signs
that God gives
that he's on our side.
And that's in history.
That's the power
of God in history.
That's what the Jews want.
And it's really
something too
in the Old Testament.
But then,
at a certain point,
it seems to pale out
and disappear
as it were
a man,
it seems.
Whereas the Greeks
or all the other
wise people
of the world
seek wisdom.
That is,
to penetrate
through the surface
of things
and the surface
of their own being
to the core,
to the center,
to the ground,
to the beginning,
to the uncaused block,
to the absolute,
to non-duality,
to the undifferentiated source.
You see the difference
between those two?
Now notice what he says.
We preach Christ crucified,
a stumbling block
to Jews
and probably to Gentiles,
but to those
who are called
both Jews and Greeks,
Christ,
the power of God
and the wisdom of God.
That's the cross
where wisdom
and science
as it were
or wisdom
and history
or the wisdom
and the power
crossed.
And he's both of those.
But he's both of those
in this complete paradox
of turning everything
on its head,
turning everything
upside down.
That's that great lesson
of grace,
that somehow
we're saved by grace
and not by our own efforts.
Anything we build
somehow has to be
as it were
reduced
and dissolved
into the power of God.
It sounds very Protestant
at that moment.
Rightly so,
and that's the Protestant
intuition
of faith
and the grace of God.
The intuition
of Augustine
in the first place.
So,
there's a terrific paradox
when we talk
about wisdom Christianity
because anything
that we know
is going to disappear.
Any insight we have
is probably going
to go into the darkness.
And it's going
to become embodied.
It's going to become incarnate
in some way
because that's the law.
So I would contend
that even the wisdom
of Christianity
and the light
of Christianity
disappears into the ground
to turn into
something greater.
It becomes embodied.
It becomes incarnate.
And if we have
a secular world
in the modern West,
I think that's
an embodiment
of the light
of Christianity
which has forgotten
where it comes from.
You can say
that the gift of Jesus
actually is the gift
of freedom
and falsehood
as a collection
of relations,
doesn't it?
Think about that for a moment.
If what Jesus brings
in his death
and the beginning
of his spirit
is freedom,
maybe it's
complete freedom.
Maybe it's
a complete setting
of freedom
in a person
so that the young person
is even free
to forget God,
even free
to forget Christ,
even free
to forget
where it came from.
Is that possible?
I think that's
what's happened
in the West.
I think the secular world
is a world in which
human freedom
has been realized,
human autonomy
has been realized
more perfectly,
more completely
than ever before,
but has forgotten
or not yet remembered
where it comes from.
And it's so powerful
for that reason
that the gift
which has flowed
through the West
is the gift
of autonomy.
A human person
is set free
as Paul would say,
which is set free
360 degrees around.
So once you get
it's a matter
of learning how
to integrate
instead of emigrate.
The West has done
the emigration,
now it needs
to do the integration.
And I would contend
that a wisdom Christian
is able to have
that perspective
which would bring
the two together,
which would understand
the continuity
between the two.
That's for tomorrow.
Maybe we should
wind up.
Let me go to
John 21 again.
In John chapter 1
of chapter 21
that's the end of John
and it was probably
tacked on to the
original text
a little bit late
by somebody in the
Johannine commission.
You have several
phases there
which I think
follow a beautiful
continuity.
Now Jesus has
breakfast prepared
for the disciples
in November
and they have
their meal
and then Jesus
questions Peter
three times.
He says,
Peter do you love me?
There were three
denials by Peter
remember.
And he said,
Peter do you love me?
And he said,
yes I do.
And in three different
ways,
the subtle juggling
of the words,
words for love
and so on.
And he said,
each time he said,
feed my sheep
or feed my lambs.
Now what is that
feeding going to be?
Well,
we think right away
that's the
epistolic ministry
that's preaching
and teaching
and that's giving
the sacraments
and so on.
But ultimately
I think it means
to give his life
for the faithful.
In other words,
he's going to be
the food
for the faithful
because it's
tied immediately
to the death of Peter,
the end of Peter's life.
So here we have
another Eucharistic image.
Not only in that
breakfast
of bread and fish,
but then what follows
he's teaching
Peter
the second lesson,
the second half
of life.
After that,
he says,
when you were young
you girded yourself
in one way
you wanted to remember.
When you're old
you'll stretch out
your hand
and somebody else
will lead you
where you don't
want to go.
And John immediately says
that he said
to indicate
the death
that Peter would die
which is death
by crucifixion.
The same way
that Jesus did.
So the feeding
of the sheep
and the second half
of Peter's life
it's this
part of the curve
it's this descending
part of the curve
which Peter
cannot accept.
He's denied it.
Denied it
at first
at that challenge
of Jesus
in John 8
and then
in John
when he refuses
to let his sheep
be washed
and then when he
denies Jesus
in the garden.
He can't accept it
until this point
after the resurrection
until Pentecost actually.
The second half
of life
which is this
descent.
Somebody else
will gird you
bind you
and lead you
where you don't
want to go.
And then finally
you have that
middle ground
between Jesus
and Peter
and the beloved
disciple.
Let me read
this to you.
Peter turned
and saw
following him
a disciple
whom Jesus
loved
who lay
close to
his breast
at the supper
and said
Lord
who is it
that's going
to betray you?
That's the beloved
disciple
whom we
identified
with John.
The gospel
wants you
to identify
with the disciple
of John.
When Peter
saw him
he said to Jesus
Lord what about
this man?
And Jesus said to him
if it is my will
that he remain
until I come
what is up to you
following?
This is the
disciple
who is bearing
witness to these
things and who
has written these
things and we know
that his testimony
is true.
And that's
the gospel
of John
just about the
end of it.
Now I said
that those two
ways of Peter
and of John
somehow represent
the way of the
east and the
way of the west.
The way of the east
which is as it were
without history
which remains
at the beginning
point remains
at the place
of baptism
the water
of the lake
and remains
at the place
of the fire
of the breakfast
on the beach.
Remains at the
place of the
baptism
of Eucharist
but especially
that of baptism
and elimination.
The Mystical
Theology
of the Eastern
Church.
That's the title
of the book
by Lasky
which sort of
expresses it
in a way.
The way of the
west is that
walk
and the walk
is not only
the life journey
of Peter
or of a western
individual
but also of the
western general
the west which
almost invented
history in a way.
It invents
a new kind
of history
because that's
its destiny
to walk
to go
to move ahead
to travel
across the earth
to follow the
track of the sun
from dawn
to noon day
to decline
and sunset.
We can picture
a kind of sunset
in the west
in our own time.
Maybe the age
of the west,
the western domination
is over and we
arrive at the
threshold of a
global age
which is the
sunset of the west.
You know they were
writing about the
decline of the west
80, 90 years ago
maybe before that
but something like
that seems to be
going on
which is at the
same time a great
liberation from
Christianity
because it's
emancipated from
being in one form
stuck in one form
stuck in one container
and when it gets
poorer in that way
it really is rich
because it's able
to be reborn in
a hundred ways.
So, but these
two ways
now we all share
both of these
ways personally
okay.
We're to live
as it were
a contemplative life
and an active life
at the same time.
There's something
in us which
doesn't move
doesn't roll
which is a
divine life
at the centre
and there's
something in us
which does have
to move
and grow old
and finish
its course
okay and die.
When Augustine
writes about Martha
and Mary
he writes about
that in the same way
but it's not that
there's a more
perfect location
which is the
feet of Jesus
all the time
and never
to weigh on
table
never to work
in the kitchen
nor is the
active way
more perfect
nor is it inferior
but we both
we all have
to have both
of those lives
in ourselves
and so it goes
with the life
of the way
of Peter
and the way
of the beloved
disciple of John.
It's interesting
the masculine
is there
and the feminine
is there
and they seem
immediately
quite perfectly
parallel.
The beloved
disciple
of the contemplative
who leans
on Jesus'
breast
whereas Mary
sits with Jesus
same thing
an intimacy
with Jesus
and then
the one
who must
walk and work
and travel
or the one
who must
labor
and serve
on table
I think it's
the same
the same
expression
a few different
expressions
of the same
duality in our lives
the duality
of Peter
and John
or the duality
of east and west
everyone of us
has an east
in our life
as a kind
of monastery
within us
and everyone
of us
has a west
too
as an exterior
that requires
a spot
that means
living in
a changing
situation
that means
doing something
for others
and so on
so the kind
of picture
of life
that's left
to us
I don't want
to carry on
any longer
this afternoon
but the way
this plays out
in the world
there was a
there was a fellow
named Gioachino Fiori
some of you
have heard about him
around 1200
who devised
a scheme
for history
which is
one of the most
magnificent
failures
you might
imagine
and yet there's
a truth in it
people are always
inventing these
humanitarian schemes
of history
this is the first
one I know
I'm sure
there was some
earlier
he said that
the age of the
father extends
until the coming
of Christ
the age of the
son extends
from then
until 1260
which would
be a little
after his
own death
so he was
saved from
Christmas
and then
the age of
the spirit
commences
which would
then
extend
forever
after
now the
age of the
father was
to ordinary
folks
everybody got
married in the
Old Testament
so that was
fine
the age of
the son
was the age
by God
of clerics
and of the
institutional
church
but that would
come to the
end
at the end
of 1260
and have
this wonderful
new age
of contemplative
because he
was a monk
of course
so that was
the best
of all
so that's
the end
13 century
is when the
monastic life
begins to fade
out
to go into
Eclipse
you have
the scholastic
philosophy
and theology
and pretty
soon you have
the scientific
revolution
and the
consciousness
of the west
doesn't go
up it
comes down
you go
from theology
to metaphysics
with the scholastics, to science, to Newton and Galileo.
And you end up with like Marx and Freud and so on.
So the epistemology, the consciousness,
is moving downwards.
And it looks like a complete decline
from this wonderful press of Christians
by the Christian society in the 12th or 13th century.
What is it?
It's the same law operating, the same two lessons, I think.
It's the law of incarnation operating.
Whatever illumination comes, then
has somehow to go into the crowd.
And instead of remaining in possession
of a few speck of people, OK, it descends into the dough,
like leaven, and fertilizes the whole mass.
So those peaks of civilization and those
peaks of contemporary consciousness
have to disappear because they have to sink into the dough.
They have to sink into humanity and transform it from inside.
And they have to sink into each of us,
transform us from inside.
Because otherwise, in some way, we'll
be living on the outside still, even as contemplative.
If you're bathed always in the divine light,
there's a certain sense in which you're exterior.
Because it's not processing through.
It doesn't demand that fontal movement.
It doesn't demand that struggle of bringing forth
from within you, through faith and love,
the divine gift that's been given to you.
So it can't be a gift unless we appropriate it.
And it seems we only appropriate it by how?
By giving it.
And we seem to give the light best
in the darkness in some way.
So that same principle of incarnation
which I'll carry out a little more tomorrow.
But it plays out not only in the individual life,
the life of Jesus and our own life,
but it also plays out in history.
Not only the history of the church,
but I think the history of the Western world,
which is inseparable from Christianity.
The history of the West cannot be separated
from the Christian history.
They're one.
They're like twins, or like parents and children
that I don't know of.
So, any questions?
Thank you for your patience.
Thank you.