Word of God - Heart

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If you look at it in a monastic life, it turns out to be a kind of a dualism between the law and the gospel, between the law and grace, law and spirit. This is a thing that's so fundamental that it forms a kind of, I don't know, a kind of watershed, a kind of peak. On one side you've got the law, and on the other side you've got grace and the gospel. It's like the principal pivot, a turning point, a turn in the road in the spiritual life. The movement from constraint to spontaneity, the movement from doing things out of obligation to doing things out of the love of what one is doing, out of the love of the good. And I'll recall a couple of places in St. Benedict's rules, if you don't mind, I'm sure which ones I'll talk about later on, St. Benedict is very much in this line, as is all of monastic


tradition, probably in any monastic tradition, but especially the Christian one, because we have this already written into a biblical source, we find it already in the Word of God. So if you read St. Paul, you'll find him talking about the transition from law to gospel. You see the same thing already in the Old Testament, for instance, and certain characters in the Old Testament. Look at Saul and David. The transition from Saul and David to David is like the transition from law to grace, and grace or law to spirit, or from obligation, from constraint, from the roughness and rudeness and crudeness of force and power to sort of the sweetness and grace of that which is done from the heart. It's a movement, as it were, from the exterior man to the heart. And so as we move from law to grace, from law to spirit, we move from exterior to interior,


we move from, as it were, the outside, the merely physical, to the interior, which is still physical, and which is centered in the heart. In other words, we move from the merely physical to the marriage of physical and spiritual, which we find in the heart. We move from the merely masculine, which you find in Saul, the great big guy who towered over everybody else, remember, to David, who is a little fellow, but who somehow has in himself the synthesis of the male and the female, the synthesis of strength and, what also, strength and beauty. David's got a heart, and Saul doesn't have a heart. And so David is a kind of anticipation of the Lord, an anticipation of Christ. He's a beautiful thing, really, David. He's one of a kind in the Old Testament, and that's why I think he is this foreshadowing of Jesus.


And in David you see some things that Jesus can't show in his own person, because Jesus has to die before he can come into his glory. But David is already living his kingship while he's still on this earth, you see. So David, in his terrestrial life, can show some things that are in Jesus only in the resurrection, so we don't see them in the Gospel, because he goes away 40 days after he rises. So David is somebody to watch in the Old Testament. He's got that anointing, which is the anointing of the Messiah. The word grace is a very interesting word, the word grace, because it means what? It means gratuity. It means freedom. It means that which comes from God. It means the favor of God. And it also means something on a purely human level. It means beauty. It means movement which is not forced, not constrained, not jerky, but has the smoothness of, I don't know, we say nature or spontaneity, whatever you want to call it. It's music versus prose.


The difference between Saul and David is the difference between prose and poetry or music. The speech, the word which has been caught up into the spirit, which has been caught up into the spontaneity, the flight of poetry, or especially of music. The movement from law to grace. And this anointing that we're talking about, what is it? The anointing is that which makes king in the Old Testament. Remember Saul pours the oil upon, I mean Samuel pours the oil upon Saul and he starts this kingship. But Saul somehow doesn't have the interior anointing. He's got the oil, but he doesn't have the Holy Spirit, or at least he has it and then it departs from him. Somehow it's not native to him. Whereas David, it's as if he had an anointing from the start. He's got this kind of nobility of heart. Even before he's anointed by Samuel. And then that anointing has something to do with Christ, doesn't it?


We talk about the anointing of Christ. The theologians talk about it as gratia capitis, as I remember. It's the grace of the head. Think about the oil. Remember in the psalm it's poured upon the head and poured down upon the beard and down upon the numbers and down to the hem of the garment. The grace that Jesus receives, which is passed on to his body, it's poured onto the head and it flows down onto the body, onto the very garment. What is that grace? What is that anointing? It starts already with David. Well, it's the Holy Spirit in some way. And it's the glory of God in some way. The thing that you see in Jesus that makes it stand out from every other person is the glory of God shining from him. The absolutely unique thing in Jesus, it makes him different from every other spiritual teacher. It makes him different from every other prophet. It makes him different from everybody. He's the only one who's got that anointing in the way that he has it. And yet it hides itself.


It conceals itself. It's light manifested in darkness. And you see a glimmer of the same thing, which is just plain beauty, which is just plain divine beauty, something we don't think about enough. That God is beautiful. You see a glimmer of the same thing already in David. And you see it here and there elsewhere in the Old Testament. And here and there elsewhere in the New Testament in the Apostles. Where it really shines is in David and then in Jesus, the son of David. What does Messiah mean, after all? Messiah means the anointed one. Christ means the same, right? Christos in Greek. Messiah is the anointed one, the one who has this grace of the infusion of nobility, which is God's own anointing, which is the Holy Spirit, which is in some way the glory of God communicated, passed on. Now, the anointed one is Jesus, and his anointing he passes on to us. So if we're called Christians, I always had a kind of a little appreciation for that


name Christian, because, well, it sounds like a hundred other names of people who belong to one thing or another. But think about it for a minute. Christians are the people of Christ, the people of the anointed one, the people who are anointed with the same anointing which Jesus has, which is the Spirit of God, which is the Holy Spirit, which is the glory of God in some way. So it's a glorious name, because it means that we are the people who are anointed with Jesus himself, because that anointing, the Lord is the Spirit, and that anointing is Christ himself. That's what we're anointed with. So it is something to be proud of, that name Christianos, that name Christian, the anointed people, anointed by God with God. Okay, that's a bit of a digression. What I wanted to talk about is this movement from one stage to another, from law to gospel, this basic duality that we have, which is reproduced in the spiritual life, in the monastic life.


Remember in Jeremiah, there's that famous passage that we keep returning to. Jeremiah 31, where God says, Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I'll make a new covenant for the house of Israel and the house of Judah. And the new covenant is not law, but it's spirit in some way. The old covenant was law, right? The old covenant that was made at Sinai was accompanied with the law and the tablets of stone. But what's the new covenant going to be like? He goes on to say, Not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke. Remember, they broke the covenant, and Moses broke the tablets of stone. Though I was their husband, says the Lord. Strange expression, isn't it? But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts. A law which is not exterior anymore, but interior.


And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, Know the Lord. For they shall all know me from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. They'll all know me. They don't need a teacher anymore. Remember that vertical tradition we were talking about? The vertical tradition which is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and which is God's anointing, as it were, teaching us in our own hearts. So, in a sense, we don't need a teacher. And yet we do need a teacher. We do need the intermediate. We do need the horizontal tradition as well. What was that that we were talking about yesterday? Not having a teacher, the intermediate, or not having... I forgot now, I'm taking another... another place where I came in. Ezekiel is the other passage. Ezekiel 36. I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all countries, and bring you into your own land.


I'll sprinkle clean water upon you, and shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh. The heart of stone corresponds in some way to the law of stone, a law which was an exterior law, which was a law of prohibition, a negative law, and which was written on those tablets of stone, not silent. The law which is to be written on the heart creates a heart of flesh. Not a heart of stone, but a heart of flesh. What does that mean? A human heart. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and be careful to observe my ordinances, and so on. I'll put my spirit within you, and I'll give you a heart of flesh. It's as if man doesn't become man until God puts his spirit in him. Then he becomes man. Until then, he's got a heart of stone.


And that's what we see, for instance, in the Old Testament history, where man behaves as if he had a heart of stone. Until God comes and anoints him with his own spirit. Man is not really man until God comes inside him, until God anoints him with that spirit. Until God gives him his kingly, his royal anointing. And then he becomes more than man. Man is not really man until God anoints him. And then he's more than man. So man is never just man. And why? Because he was made to live participating in God. Because he was made to live in God, from God. Because he was made to be the image and the symbol of God. The sacrament of God, in some way. Because man was made to be the presence of God. And so he can't be simply man. Either he's less than man, and he's got a heart of stone, and he's a murderous, lustful creature. Or he's more than man. And he has this royal anointing of his spirit. And then he becomes the son of God.


And St. John says, you know, We're called the sons of God, the children of God, and so we are. And we don't know what we shall be. That's an amazing thing to say. He's afraid to say what we shall be. We shall be God, it says in the psalms. Not by eating the forbidden fruit, but by eating the tree of life. Let's look at those couple of passages in the Rule of St. Benedict. The first one is the end of the prologue. St. Benedict is starting out in pretty forbidding language. He says, Listen, my son. And returned by the labor of obedience to him from whom you departed through the slopes of disobedience. So this is going to be a hard, a hard journey. A trudging back over the road that we strayed out on. Through obedience. Through the burden of obedience, the labor of obedience. But listen to what he says at the end of the prologue. He says, I'm starting a school for beginners.


Those ways are always straight and narrow at the beginning. But as we advance in the practices of religion and in faith, the heart, this is a kind of a paraphrased translation. It's not too close to the original. The heart insensibly opens and enlarges through the wonderful sweetness of his love. And we run in the way of God's commandment. And there you've got that paradox. How can you run under commandments? Commandment is law. And how can you delight in the law? Remember that Psalm 118, 119? That continual movement from the word, from the law, from the commandment, the priesthood, the statutes, the whole business. It sounds so legal. And then you've got this scribe delighting in the law of the Lord in his heart. It's in anticipation of this. The commandment somehow, when we obey it with that filial openness, that filial love, enlarges our hearts and we become able to run in that same way in which we trudge. Once again, it's Matthew 11. Come to me, all you who are heavy burdened


and weary, you who bear the burden of the law. Come to me, wisdom. And if you find me, I'll teach you how to run in the way of that same law. I'll teach you how that burden becomes light, how the yoke of the law becomes light and bearable, even becomes a joy. Because the word of God contains the spirit of God in some way. The commandment of God contains the presence of God. The law of God contains the gift of God in some way. And so, insensibly, gradually, subtly, the law becomes spirit. The law becomes wisdom. The law becomes delight. And yet, it's not just the law, there's more to it than that. It lends a union of God with man. As we open ourselves to him through obedience, he comes into it. And we find that it's he himself obeying, just as it was in Jesus. The other place is at the end of chapter 7,


the degrees of humility. And remember, at the end of the degrees of humility, we have this monk who is all bent over with his humility. He's looking at the ground, with downcast expression, and thinking of his sins all the time. It looks like a pathological state of depression. But then listen to what St. Benedict says right after this. After he has climbed all these degrees of humility, the monk will quickly arrive at the top, the charity that is perfect and casts out all fear. And then the virtues which first he practiced with anxiety, shall begin to be easy for him, almost natural, being grown habitual. I don't know about the translation. I don't have the original. He will no more be afraid of hell, but will advance by the love of Christ, by good habits, and by taking pleasure in goodness. Our Lord, by the Holy Spirit, ordained to show this in his servanthood and cleanse from sin. The way of humility, which is also the way of obedience, is a consistency between the prologue and chapter 7, is the way which leads one to this


gift of the Holy Spirit, to this spontaneity. So we begin to walk reluctantly perhaps, but obediently, and we end by running with delight in the ways of the Lord. By taking pleasure in goodness. What does that mean? By the very delight of God in himself, as it were, and the delight of God in himself, which is in the Holy Spirit, reflected in our own hearts. As we take delight in, simply in that which we are living. Not so much that which we are doing, but that which we are living. We take delight in the presence of God within us. As we run towards him with his spirit already in our hearts. The movement from the law to the gospel of good news, to the spirit, to grace, whatever you want to call it, to freedom. Law is the slavery,


and yet through it we go to liberty. And why do we need the law in the first place? Because we're already under a slavery before we start. Remember the Jews got the law when they moved out of Egypt. Egypt was a slavery under the pharaoh. They moved out of Egypt, out of that subjection to a foreign ruler, that kind of slavery, into what seems like the liberty of the desert. The emptiness of the desert. And yet it's a kind of a horrible liberty because there's nothing there. And then they go out to Sinai, and they're given this law. So there too they have a subjection. But they moved from that slavery of Egypt, slavery in an idolatrous land, to subjection to God, through his word, through his law, into what is to be the liberty of the promised land. And they're liberated in a way from themselves by subjecting themselves to this word which comes from outside of themselves. And after they've subjected themselves


to that word from outside themselves, the spirit which comes from God enters into them and makes them run with delight in that same way. Okay, that's what happens to us. We have to submit ourselves to something outside of ourselves that's kind of a threat so that we can get freed from ourselves and from our illusions and from our egoism and from the deception of the devil because that's their truth. It's the devil that wraps us around ourselves in some way and makes us expect to find happiness and fulfillment that way. We subject ourselves to God's word outside ourselves and we begin to discover his spirit within ourselves. The spirit and the word are related. And as we obey the word with as much openness as we can, trying to keep that root of bitterness from springing up in our heart and choking the spirit, we discover the spirit emerging like a fountain within our heart. Okay. There's a Jesuit psychologist


who talks about three stages in a religious life, three stages in vocation. He calls the first one constraint. When you do things because of obligation by the law and the law remains purely external. So the word remains external. The second he calls identification and the third he calls interiorization. And you might think that the second and the third sound like the same thing. But what is this identification with, say, with the values of the religious vocation or with the word of God or whatever? What does that mean? It means that we call it our own and yet we're not yet made one with it. Remember St. Paul in Romans chapter 7 where he says, There's a law in my mind which is the law of God. I love that law of God. I love that word of God in my mind. And yet there's another law in my members, in my body which fights against it. So he says, I'm in conflict. I'm at war within myself because there are two laws in me. There are two things working in me.


The word of God, the law of God in my mind, in my heart, and in the rest of me, in my body, that other law. Okay, so we identify ourselves with the word of God but yet we're not ready to do it yet. We don't really love it from the bottom of our hearts yet. All of us, we're not together in the word of God. That's disidentification. A typical example, I think, is well, it's the novice who believes that he's totally converted and begins to judge others. You know, that kind of judgmentalness that came into us earlier in the religious life, in the monastic life. We see the beauty of the monastic vocation and we don't realize that we're not there. We think that because we love it, we think we're there. And we begin to judge others because not because they don't match up to what we are but because they don't match up to what we think we are. Now that's identification. Interiorization is something else. And this is what happens as we mature


in the monastic life, we're supposed to. We really make the values our own. We really make silence and prayer and poverty and obedience our own so that they become one with us. So that we sort of come together. We get it together ourselves. We become one thing with that which we are doing. And then there isn't that conflict anymore. And then we have that spontaneity that Saint Benedict is talking about when we can run in the way of God's commandments because we become God's commandments sometimes. Now one of the Hasidim says you're not supposed to say Torah, you're supposed to be Torah, you're supposed to be the law. You make it so one with yourself that there's no distinction anymore. That sounds like a total alienation. It sounds like a total slavery. Until we realize that the word of God is somehow the thing that's deepest in us anyway. Even if it comes from outside. It's that in which we're created. It's our own identity in some way.


So that in submitting ourselves in what seems like an alienating obedience we discover ourselves emerging within. It may not always be as simple as that. Constraint, identification, and interiorization. That interiorization is what Saint Benedict is talking about at the end of the Providence, at the end of Chapter 7, when the monk does things just out of the delight in doing them. I mean they're good things. These are the things that he has to do. This is the law. But he's interiorized the law. He is the law. It's like when Saint Paul talks about the fruits of the Spirit. He says, well, against these things there isn't any law. These are the things that you do when your heart has been transformed somehow. And you are the law in some way. The Spirit is the law in your heart. So we tend to move in this business also the knowledge of God. A knowledge of God which is the doing of His will,


obedience to His commandments, to a knowledge of God which is more contemplative, which is in a way mysticism itself, that intimate knowledge of God, that nuptial knowledge of God that we were talking about. We move from a constricting word, remember what Saint Benedict says, that, well, the way is bound to be narrow and rough at the beginning, to an expanding word, a word that seems like a needle's eye at first. And Jesus says, well, the way is narrow and the path is rough, to an expanding thing. And Benedict says it's a hard expanding thing that we begin to run where before we had this free spirit. We move from one dimension to three dimensions. Remember we were talking about the word which had been flattened out. Well, the word of obedience is also a word which has been flattened out in a way. A word which has been hardened, it can't seem like a stone. Because at first it comes to us


and we come to it and we're unwilling. But then a shell cracks and out of the one dimension here comes three dimensions. And once again, it's a punitary experience. The dimension of the Father, the dimension of the Son, and the dimension of the Holy Spirit. We discover the Father behind our obedience, and sort of all over, umbrella of life, all over, arching over our life. We discover the Spirit in our hearts, enabling us to run in the way of God's commandment. And where do we discover Christ? We discover that we're one with Christ, that it's His life that we're living. That seems to happen in a couple different ways, as you find in the New Testament. One way is in the community itself, this expansion of the word into its three dimensions. It's a trinitarian experience of the word.


Remember the first letter of John. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, touched with our hands. Concerning the word of life, a life was made manifest, and we saw it and testified to it and proclaimed to you the eternal life, which is with the Father and was made manifest to us. That which we have seen and heard, we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. So this fellowship that we have in the community, in the Church, is an experience of the Trinity, is the very fellowship that exists between the Father and the Son, is somehow the Holy Spirit. The other experience is not so much among us, but within us. Remember, Jesus says, the Kingdom of God is within you. And the word in Greek can be translated in two ways. It's among you or it's within you. And somehow it's valid in both senses.


It's a social thing, it's a psychological thing, if you want to use that kind of language. The other passage is for psychological experiences in John 14, verses 15 to 24. That was the word of life that St. John was talking about, experience in the community as fellowship. Now this is the word too. If you love me, Jesus says, you will keep my commandments, my word to keep. But now it's a commandment. And I will pray to the Father and He will give you another counselor to be with you forever. Even the Spirit of truth in the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, He dwells with you, He will be in you. So keep my word and you'll receive the Spirit. From the word comes the Spirit. From the commandment comes the Spirit of freedom. I will not leave you desolate, I'll come to you. And so on. If a man loves me, he will keep my word and my Father will love him,


and we will come to him and make our home with him. Now this is the fellowship experience somehow within you, within your heart, not so much among you. The fellowship of the Father and the Son experienced as the peace of your own heart, experienced as God dwelling within you. As you dwell in God's word, His Spirit comes to dwell in you. Jesus says, remain in my word, dwell in my word. If you love me, you'll dwell in my word, and you'll let my word dwell in you. And then, my Spirit will come to dwell in you, and you'll know that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me, and that both of us are in you. He who does not love me does not keep my word, and so he never experiences this. And so, life is a very different thing for him, and he remains on the outside. And the word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's is mine. This is about the only place where he talks clearly


about the Holy Spirit is in this chapter. The one who is to come and the one who is to give this experience. Okay, I'd like to talk about the heart now. Remember our parable, the seed and the ground. Now we move from the seed to the ground. And, if you look at the Rule of St. Benedict, the prologue, you find out that our journey is supposed to be a return. Well, it's a return to the heart for one thing, and it's a return to God for another thing. And somehow the two are connected. The journey to which the Word and the Rule call us is a journey of conversion. Conversion means some kind of return. There's a word, a Hebrew word, shuk, in the Old Testament that means return. The prophets are continually saying this to the people. Return, return, return. What does it mean? It means return to the covenant,


return to God. It also somehow means return to your own heart. The people, if they're in exile, they're in exile also from their own heart. That's the first exile. It's got something to do with the exile from paradise. The angel is there with a flaming sword and he can't go back in. We're shut out from God, we're shut out from our own heart. We're shut out from paradise. And our job is to get back. There's a place in the dialogue with King Gregory where he tells him about the life of St. Benedict, St. Benedict's freedom. And he speaks of St. Benedict as being outside himself and above himself. He said, well you can be outside yourself and below yourself too. And he begins to talk about the prodigal son. And he says that the prodigal son was outside himself and below himself and he was out feeding the swine after he'd squandered all his possessions. And then he returns to himself and he thinks of his father. And he says, well how many hired servants


there are back in my father's house when I was a youth? Where are my servants in these days? He returns to himself and then he returns to his father. We return to ourselves and then we return to God. And when we return to ourselves, somehow we're already in the presence of the Father. We're already in the presence of God. If we return to our heart, we find that the presence of God is already there. Because our heart is where we hear that voice of God. Our heart is where we experience that recollection of God. So the movement back to self in the right way, not back to selfishness, not back to egoism. The movement back to self, to the heart, to the center, and the movement back to God is really one thing. There may be different phases, but they're one thing. In fact, as we move towards that, we seem to move further and further into our own center, not away from it. This return nowadays seems to be kind of a collective thing for us. It's as if the whole of our


modern Western world has a return, in a way. As if we've lost our center. The whole problem of identity today is that we're looking for the center of man once again. And the kind of disorientation that we just feel. Especially in our American culture, which is probably more unrooted than the others, even, because we start by cutting ourselves off from tradition. Ours is a culture, an American culture, which starts with a revolution. And that revolution is a kind of divorce from the European tradition. It tends to cut us off from a lot of our roots, even our religious ones. People talk a lot today about the return to self. A lot of the Eastern religions, the Eastern spiritualities, which are popular also in the United States today, speak of the spiritual journey as a return to the self, as finding the self.


This is true paradoxically, even in Buddhism, something like Zen, where you return to yourself by discovering that you have no self. In other words, you return to finding yourself in an apophatic way. You find your center in the belief that you don't have any self, that there is no such thing. But you get there just the same. You get there by moving away from other things, pulling back the investments that you've made in other things, by the force of purity of heart and purity of mind. People like Krishnamurti and so many others of the gurus talk about a return to self. Some of them say, if you find yourself, you find God. Muktananda, for instance, he said, we're your God. If you find yourself, you've got it. There can be a real oversimplification. There can be a short circuit of the truth. Thomas Merton talks about


the spiritual life as a movement from the false self to the true self. So for him also, it's a question of finding the self. It's a question of moving away from an illusory one in the direction of a real one, of moving away from an external self, which has been created in order to cope with reality, in order to adapt oneself to the demands that life makes upon us, to a self which somehow is identical with Christ, to a self which is one with God, from an exterior self to an interior self. I think we'll talk about that later. And that's one of the, of course, that's a version of this self-return map which is most applicable for us, Christians and Monks. Other people talk about the return to the center. D. Griffith, for instance, has written a book entitled Return to the Center. Has any of you read it?


It's a kind of synthesis of Christianity with a couple of the Oriental religions, Buddhism and Hinduism. And there's a lot of, he has a lot of exciting things to say in there. It's a book that one has to wrestle with, though, because there must be a lot of creative books in there. But he speaks of the whole of our Western world as needing a return to the center. And the center that he's talking about is not simply the heart, it's not simply the individual center, but it's as if the center of reality, the center of human culture, the center of human religious tradition, as if there is such a perennial philosophy that we can find by going back. I can read you a couple of pages of what he has to say. The whole question is,


this is chapter two of his book, the whole question is, what is the true self? What is the true center of man's being? Now here he's talking about it in the individual sense, but then it goes on to the cultural. Is it the ego making itself independent, seeking to be master of the world, or is there an I beyond this as the pronoun I? A deeper center of personal being which is grounded in the truth, which is one with the universal self, the law of the universe. This is the great discovery of Indian thought, the discovery of the self, the Atman, the ground of personal being, which is one with the Brahman, the ground of universal being. It is not reached by thought. On the contrary, it is only reached by transcending thought. Reason, like the self of which it is the faculty, has to transcend itself. Remember that distinction between reason and intellect, ratio-intellectus. As long as it remains turned towards the senses, to the material world, it will always remain defective, unable to discover the truth. But the moment it turns inwards


to its source and knows itself and its ground by a pure intuition, then it knows the truth of its own being and the being of the world, and then it becomes really free. You will know the truth and the truth will make you free. This is redemption, to be set free from the senses and the material world and to discover their ground and source in the self, which is the word of God within. The fall of man is the fall from this ground, this center of freedom and immortality, into subjection to the senses in this material world. And reason is the serpent. There's a striking statement cropping up in the middle of this. Reason is the serpent. Reason can either be subject to the eternal law, the universal reason, and then it becomes wisdom, it knows the self, or it can seek to be master of the world and then it becomes demonic. It is the demon of the modern world and every generation the fall of man is repeated but never perhaps on a wider scale than today. How then to recover


from the fall? How to return to the center? This is the problem of the modern world but it has been the problem of the world from the beginning. So you see what he's saying there. To return to a center which is not only individual but which extends out to the universal and which is also a journey which has to be made on the cultural level towards a spiritual center which has been lost in our culture, in our civilization, in our knowledge. What is the reason that modern society has lost this principle of integration which we've been talking about this center? The reason seems to be this. In the Middle Ages that is in the years 8500 to 1500 not only in Europe but also in China, in India, in the Islamic world, a creative synthesis was achieved in which the physical and


psychic and spiritual worlds were marvelously integrated. The economic, social, political, and cultural orders were all conceived as a harmonious unity in which each man was related to nature, to his fellow man, and to the divine source of peace and justice, the Dharma, the eternal law. Of course this order was being continually threatened with destruction by the forces of disintegration. But the principle of integration was preserved in the perennial philosophy, the traditional wisdom, whether Confucian or Buddhist or Hindu or Islamic or Christian. And then he begins to talk about the Renaissance and the Reformation in the West. The Reformation and the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, the Russian and Chinese Revolutions are all stages in this process of disintegration. I should have gone back. After this period, this creative synthesis began to disintegrate. Now, after nearly 500 years, the process of disintegration seems to be almost complete and there are those who question whether our present civilization can survive for


more than 50 years. Protestantism broke up the organic unity of the mystical body of Christ, the divine human order which the Church has established in the West, and made each man an isolated individual. Rationalism set the human mind free from the divine and enclosed each man into the limits of his own reason. Finally, Communism came to deprive man of his basic liberty and enslave him to the material world, separated from the divine and dominated by human reason. But this is only one side of the picture. On the other side, the religious traditions that each lost their creative power. This is how we end this section. We cannot return to the past forms of Catholicism or Buddhism or Confucianism or Hindu or Islamic orthodoxy. Each religion has to return to its source in the eternal religion, freeing itself from the limitations which historical circumstances have imposed upon it, and redistributing the principles on which modern society


must be based. We cannot return to the center. The problem I find with that is that the center somehow for him is before Christianity. The center is some kind of perennial philosophy, it seems, which abstracts too much from the explanation. I think it is true that we have to return to the center, but the return also has to be a movement with the spirit of God. These disintegrations that happen are somehow an inevitable historical process. And you don't go just backwards, you have to go ahead. You have to go ahead towards a new center, towards a center which is not only behind us but also before us. I think that Teilhard de Chardin has an insight which is necessary to complement what Christ had said. You don't just move backwards, you move ahead. And the real center is where? The real center is the omega point. The real center is the risen Christ. That's the


real center and the only center. And everything moves towards, converges on that point. All the religions, you don't trace them back to an original philosophy, an original wisdom, which was there and then became broken up. You move them towards, you follow them forward as it were, towards their convergence in the omega point which is the risen Christ. But it is a question of moving to the center. Once again, I've gotten a little bit off the subject but I wanted to talk about the heart. There's one other writer here that I can't resist quoting, that's Berger. He's a Russian and a very outspoken prophetic type of writer. I don't know if any of you are familiar with him. He's an exciting writer, Berger. He's got a kind of prophetic and messianic vision. There's a number of these Russians doing in the last hundred years. He's talking about the same thing that Griffith has been talking about, this evolution


in modern history by which we got away from the center. He puts it in a very cogent term. He's talking about the Renaissance and he criticizes the Middle Ages in that the medieval consciousness did not allow for the free play of man's creative energy. In the medieval world man had not the power to create or to build up a culture freely and thus man's spiritual forces which had been forged by Christianity in the medieval period had not been given a free trial in this sphere. Medieval asceticism had strengthened man's spiritual forces but had prevented their free participation in the work of creative culture. You can see behind this another one of these law spirits, structure, law, and freedom of dualism. Modern history constitutes an attempt to discover man's potentiality.


At the dawn of modern times a decentralization took place and man's creative forces were suddenly liberated. One could dispute this and say there's plenty of creativity in the Middle Ages. The rebellious produced that spiritual revolution which we call the Renaissance, the consequences of which were still making themselves so in the 19th century. It brought with it the liberation of man's creative forces, spiritual decentralization, and the differentiation of all the spheres of social and cultural life. Now here's the point. The bonds holding together the various spheres of social and cultural life now become relaxed and these spheres become independent. It's a kind of fragmentation, a kind of explosion of our culture. An explosion is a centrifugal thing. It moves away from the center. This is the essential character of modern history. The transition from medieval to modern history is synonymous with one from the divine to


culture in a sense. To an exterior cultural manifestation. This divorce from the spiritual depths in which man's forces have been stored and to which they have been inwardly bound is accompanied not only by their liberation but by their passage from the depths to the periphery and the surface of human life from the medieval religious to secular culture. That movement from the depths to the periphery is something that you see in its extreme form almost in the TV culture of today. When the surface of that screen, the surface of that tube becomes the constitute of man's consciousness and his culture. A purely superficial experience, skin deep type of life type of culture. I'm being a little bit unfair there. Implies the transference of the center of gravity from the divine depths to purely human creation.


The spiritual bond with the center of life grows gradually weaker. Modern history therefore conducts European man along a path which removes him ever further from the spiritual center. It is the path of man's free experience and the trial of his creative forces. And somehow it has to happen. Somehow that liberation of man's creativity has to happen. He has to pass through this as it were adolescent phase. But it's not the last phase. He has once again to get himself back together again having found his own creativity, having found that dimension, that level of himself. And so there must truly be a return to the center, but a return to the center which brings all of man back to the center, which brings a kind of liberated man back to the center. And that seems to be what we're dealing with today very much. And which is also the problem of monasticism. So for monasticism renewal does not mean just going back but it also means going forward. It means somehow meeting the problem of the development of modern man.


Once again that's a little beside the point because what I wanted to talk about is this business of return to the heart. We've talked about those who say that we need a return to the self. Okay? for it. ...Andre Looker in his book Teach Us to Pray which is all about the word and the heart. I'll quote a couple of papers and then we'll be quick for this morning. This is on page 20. He's talking about the discovery of prayer, and what prayer is about. Each and every method of prayer has but one objective, to find the heart and alert it. And that's where the method stops, because that's where all of God's Spirit takes over. All the time watchful and alert therefore, we must first recover the way to our heart


in order to free it and divest it of everything in which we have encapsulated it. We've encapsulated our heart, we've put a crest, a shell, a skin on it, so that they can't see and hear and feel anything. With this in view we must mend our ways, come to our senses, get back to the true center of our being as persons. Redire ad cor, return to the heart, Isaiah 46 says, the people in the Middle Ages like to say. In the heart, mind and body meet, it is the central point of our being. Once back at that central point, we live at a deeper level, where we are at peace and harmony with everything and everybody, and first and foremost with our own selves. It sounds very idealistic in that matter, but it's true. The thing is that you can't live there as if it were all the time, or we cannot sort of withdraw into the heart in such a way that we're back in paradise. We don't feel the harsh winds of life, or the problems or frictions of existence. But it's the center that we have to find, and if you can't live in there all the time,


you can live from there all the time, or nearly all the time. The question of getting back to that center, which for a Christian, is the heart. It's important to stress that. It's not just some kind of place in ourselves which is on a purely spiritual level, like you might put to a field or something like that, or it doesn't. No, it's the heart, which is physical and emotional and intellectual and spiritual at the same time. This reversion, this return, is also introversion, a turning inward to the self. It engenders a state of recollection and interiority. It pierces through to our deepest eye, the prana, to the image of God in us, to that ontological center where we are constantly springing from God's creative hand and flowing back into his wisdom. Praying teaches us to live from within, from the life within us. As it was said of one of the medieval saints,


every man of prayer has a cor profunda, cor profunda, the bottomless heart. We can talk about the heart in all sorts of ways, from the heart that you see on the Valentine's card, to the kind of contemplative depth that the center, the loop, is talking about. So we have to be kind of discriminating there when we talk about the heart. But if we understand the depth of what it means, we'll say more about the biblical scene, it will help maybe you see. That's enough for now. This business of the heart is surprisingly important. There is a level of emotional experience in us that simply has to be opened up if we want to have a deep prayer level, if we want to discover what Christianity means. And sometimes it will open, you know, on a hill,


and then it will close, and then we forget about it again. We forget about it as if we had never been there, as if it didn't exist. The charismatic movement has helped to bring us back into the real world. Despite all the exaggerations, emotional excesses, and the way we think, think, and everything else, it is the baptism in the Holy Spirit that we talk about. It is the awakening of the heart. The awakening of the Holy Spirit. Yes, sir? The thing that I wanted to understand was the modern, many people were pushing, and I got the impression, trying to, you know, there's a lot of tradition of trying to get everything all together, and, you know, he could keep coming out of the thing that he talks about, and one's mind can't grasp everything. During Vatican II, you know, or? Well, if it's the season afterwards, you know,


they're trying to get theology for the church. Oh, I see, yeah. And he can keep coming out of the work that he does, and there's just too many things, you know, too many things that are out of his scope, and so forth. So, it seems to me that what you're saying of unity, and really, even if it's not in Christianity, but it's going to be from that one spirit, who speaks in everybody's own language, or in their particular philosophy, or their particular culture, or the way they think, and that's only reached through relating to their own heart, because the spirit, it's the same spirit everywhere, it's the one spirit. And that's the only thing that's going to draw people, you know, close, because there's so many, there's so many theologies and ways of looking at life.


That's right. Philosophy. Even different kinds of experience, I mean, you'll have two different personalities that will experience life in entirely different ways. And they can be experiencing the same reality in some ways, but they won't be able to agree on the way that they talk about it. There are people whose imagination is entirely visual, you know. There are people who are very sensitive, so if everything strikes them with great force, they have a whole bunch of stimuli coming in. And there are people who filter everything out and only get a little bit. There are people who are intellectual, there are people who feel deeply, and so on. It's very difficult to get it all together. And I think that we have to remember the historical event of Babel. Remember when the tongues were multiplied and so on. We're never going to be able to get it back together again. We're never going to be able linguistically or conceptually or theologically to make one structure that will get everything in there. Thank God, in a way, because that liberates us from building a pyramid all over again.


What's the counterpart to Babel, though? The New Testament event that corresponds to the multiplication of the tongues and the power of Babel. Pentecost. Aha. It's the spirit, right? It's the spirit that, without uniting them into a single language, and without making a system, brings men back to understanding by somehow bringing them into one heart. That's the way it happens. We can understand one another in the spirit and on the level of the heart, but we cannot understand one another or translate one another and can't systematize things on the level of the brain. Because the brain multiplies and analyzes and fragments and atomizes where the heart and the spirit pull things together. There's a man named Donald Meckle who's a professor at the University of California, San Francisco. He wrote a paper very interesting called The Ancient Court of the Science of the Heart


in which he contends that all people basically have the same kind of wisdom on the level of the heart. Whether they be Christians or Buddhists or Hindus, the realized persons in all of those traditions are saying the same thing. His paper is stimulating, but you have to wrestle with it once again because I don't think it's true, because I think the Christian heart is something new. It's a new creation. When the Holy Spirit comes into the world, the Pentecost, and when, as the Prophet tells us, the Spirit comes into the human heart and creates a new heart within the human body, that's something new. Just like the Incarnation is something new. When God takes on human flesh, that's a new event in history, and therefore it puts the Christian reality somewhere else that the other religious traditions are not. Now, that's a very delicate truth because it's too easy to sort of wall ourselves off from others with a kind of feeling of superiority,


but nevertheless it is the truth that the Christian fact is something new. The Pentecost is something new. Even though the Spirit works everywhere, and even though, as they used to say, the Logos works everywhere, the Logos, which is the synonym, the universal wisdom, the universal meaning, is somehow at the bottom of every man's mind, the bottom of every man's heart. But it's in the Spirit that we can get it together. We can understand one another without understanding one another. And so it is that the monks have a special role to play in this whole movement, the ecumenical movement on the wide scale, that is beyond even Christianity. Because the monks are supposed to be the people who, first of all, live the life of the Spirit, and secondly, who live on the level of the heart. So they ought to be able to relate to one another without getting into trouble with words


and ideology and doctrine and so on. They have to preserve those doctrinal differences. They can't go making an eclectic religion. They can't make a synthetic church where they're just on the basis of the feeling of the heart. But they can relate to one another and understand one another on the level of Spirit and heart, and play with one another. Merton, I think, is very aware of that. And his dialogue with the Buddhists and so on is a kind of expression, even though you don't have to agree with it, is an affirmation for what he's saying. Yes, Father. Well, after the destruction of Jerusalem,


that's the time, isn't it? It's about 70 A.D., when the Romans came and wiped them out. And after that, there's no temple and there's no sacrifice. Well, I don't know what they did in exile, for instance. In the diaspora, I don't know whether they maintained that kind of rigor or not. They probably did in some places. But the Jerusalem thing was finished then, in 70 A.D. The Romans destroyed the city of Nablus. They besieged it. The Jews resisted fiercely. And then the Romans took it over and they wiped them out. They crucified thousands of them. And that put an end to the worship of the temple. To most of that legal observance. But I think they still carried it on in other places. I don't know if it was that strict.


What takes over then is the synagogue, of course. No temple, no sacrifice. But they still had the synagogue. And still in Orthodox Judaism, there's plenty of liturgy. The Passover celebration and all those things. But without the temple, without the sacrifice. No. I don't think they do that anymore. I don't know what they do in Jerusalem now. Do the Jews have all of Jerusalem now? Do they not? I don't know whether the Jews have got all of Jerusalem now or whether it's divided between the Muslims. Is that where it is? It probably is.


Yeah. Yeah. They'll probably blow it up. I don't know where it is. Yes. They'd take care of it. At the end of the... I was wondering if there's any... I couldn't fix that.


Yeah. I don't know what they do. Now there's an idea. Let's make sure we don't work on this. From the creation? They didn't have calendars, was it? Is that the Second Vatican Council? Oh. Oh, I see, yeah. Ah.


No. I don't think that succession is holy at all. I don't think that calendar business matters very much at all. It's strictly a practical matter. The Orthodox get fierce about this, like the Day of Easter and other things like that. You know, the churches over there are divided because they don't agree on the Day of Easter. And one monastery... They've got the old calendar people and the new calendar people. I just don't know why... There was no religious objection to it then. Not really. You'd have to have a day of that. And then they're... Instead of the next day being Sunday, you have the Orthodox day. It's a control of the Orthodox convention. That's an objection to the Catholic Church. No. It is their duty. Theologically, they're saying that. No, they actually have every day... The birth week would be the same all year round. But if they have to print all those big books over...


Well, they don't have to print these calendars every year. Christmas would always come on whatever day, Thursday or Sunday. Every year it would be on the same day. And your birthday would always come on the same day. If it was Monday or Tuesday, it was always Monday going on. But to do that, you have to have 364 in order to find out... I see. ...to the higher church. And so at the end of June, you put in a date, which is not a date of the week at all. It's just a world date. And then after that, then you can... Down for it. They acknowledge that if there is a week of Easter, that's just how it is. What authority can do it? I've been fishing for 10 years for this thing. The time I was in Canada, that man died. And I wrote this animation that said we brought it up if it were more than 15 people.


I never cut all of the... They're going to work a little harder. That'd be nice, because, you know, in our separate countries, you'd have a few percent to a fifth, March 19th. Next day, you'd get three, a little less. You know, every year, Easter and Lent, all the way to Christmas. That's right, and the saints would always... You could put them in so they'd never get suppressed by Sunday. So St. Joseph wouldn't get buried by... But it's all arranged. Each day would be set. The saints would be for it, too, because... The objections may not know, but I say, vocally, vocally, it's going to be called breaks and variations. This is the history of humanity, and this is sort of the universal boundary I can't get it. Yes. A little too much for me.


Did you read the book? Yeah. That's largely the problem that I have with it. Yeah. I think himself, that he's a very authentic Christian. It's hard to put these things into words without going off on one end or the other. And I think that his problem is, in the book, that he philosophizes the way Christianity is too much. It makes it too impersonal. But as a person of Jesus, it's large. He becomes a concept. He becomes a universal word. But that's not enough. And so the incarnation gets lost, and so Christianity, the historical dimension gets lost, and Christianity gets put larger on the level of the religion. Even though, in certain chapters, he corrects that, okay? He speaks about the appearance of the word and the incarnation


as being something that is transforming. But in certain places, it's not clear. Yes. [...]


Yes. [...] Okay. Yes.


They're slightly different in a different culture. No matter what it is, what we call the universal concept, even if true, take it in our Western Christian culture and take it in the Hindu culture or the Buddhist culture, and it'll be understood differently. The universe of itself seems to be understood differently in different cultures. Just like, remember, we were comparing the Greek and the Hebrew culture, and the way that they use the word word, all right, or the notion of truth in Jewish thinking and in Greek thinking, they're sharply different. And that's surprising because you say, well, truth is universal. Everybody has to see if the same thing that they've done. It's part of that thing of Babel. But in a way, it's an enriching thing because it enables us to see the different sides of the world and not just to get stuck on one thing. You're talking about the whole country. Industrial revolution.


That's right. All the machines in the world that's getting away from the people and getting away from the people is being replaced and using the power of the machine to get the people to stop using the machines that make the power of the machine to get the people to stop using they want to go. Yeah. If you're get people to stop the machines that make There's no culture.


There's no culture. And power. Power. Is a question. Faith. [...] They say that we westerners have used techniques to control outside, okay? These extroverted techniques, and so we have power over nature. But we don't have control over ourselves. Whereas the easterners, the orientals, have techniques which are introverted, okay? So they're techniques of mastery of yourself. Take Tibetan Buddhism. Take some of the Hindu spiritual disciplines, like yoga, okay? That's a technique which is introverted, which is inferior, and which is aimed towards self-mastery.


And that's the sort of thing that the west is very ignorant about. And so when easterners come over to the west, they're very captivated, because we have a big vacuum that is extroverted, our notion of technique. And our techniques are for dealing with matter. But all of this technique and power business is, let's say, one side of the reality. And what's the other side? We're talking about the two ways of being here today, okay? Now, one way of being is a way of possession, a way of power, a way of control, a way of force, a way of ego. And what's the other way of being? It's the way of love. It's the way of gratuity. It's the way of grace. It's the way of gifts. It's the way of God, okay? So, all of those things are over there, whether it be the exterior control of the environment, technology and its power, wealth, all of that stuff. Or whether it be the interior techniques of yoga and all of those things.


And over here is something else. Over here, this is God's language. This is God's territory in the kingdom of heaven over here. Which is grace and love and faith and trust. And something quite different. That's what Jesus is talking about. That's what he's bringing in the gospel. Into a world of power and control. And a world of the strong and the weak. Jesus brings in something different. What? He didn't try to meet it on its own terms. He didn't pick up its own weapons. He didn't pick up the weapons of the sword.


And he didn't pick up the weapons of legal defense by arguing his own case. He just sort of put himself in the hands of the system. Or rather, he was given into the hands of the system by his own people. By the Jews. Yes, sir? I just wanted to speak to it. Yes, yes. Let's go back to that first one for a second. Because that's a hard question and it's an important one. Is the history of the Jews a sort of revenge of God on them for crucifying Christ?


Now that thought has given rise to a lot of anti-Semitism. A lot of hatred of the Jews among Christians in the past. In the Middle Ages and so on in the world. The Christians would be persecuting the Jews because they'd say, You're the ones that crucified Christ. Now the church doesn't buy that. The church nowadays has come out against that point of view. That the Jews somehow have a collective guilt for the crucifixion of Christ. What they say is that all men have a collective guilt for the crucifixion of Christ. That we're all guilty. But the Jews in a special way, in some way, they're identified with Christ. Now the church doesn't say this necessarily, but I believe it is true. But the Jews are on both sides of this thing. They're God's people and they rejected the Christ. They both, I don't know, they both bear the woes of the rejection of Christ. Jesus says, when he comes to Jerusalem, If you only knew the things that are for your peace, but now not a stone will be left upon a stone because you didn't know the time of your visitation.


And so Jerusalem is wiped out. And the Jewish people suffer horribly. And yet at the same time, the Jews are identified with Christ. So that somehow the sufferings of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis in the Second World War reflect the sufferings of the suffering servant in Isaiah. And reflect in some way the sufferings of Christ in our times. It's a very mysterious thing. And I think the Jews are greatly loved by God. They have this very special destiny in that sense. And somehow their history is a golden thread in the history of the world. Yeah. I don't know. It's hard to tell what names we'll have in those days, you know. Because suppose the churches, suppose the Christian churches all come together. And suppose Orthodoxy joins with Catholicism and so on. Will we call it a Catholic church or not?


And when the Jews are converted to Christ, what shall we call that? Maybe we'll have a new name for it, I don't know. But I don't know whether they'd be called Catholics really. I don't know. Something like that. No, I can't figure that one out. Yes. No. I get the idea of the fullness of the time of the Gentiles. When the time of the Gentiles has been fulfilled, then the Jews will return. Okay? The Gentiles...


I think a lot of them are supposed to be saved. I mean, it's not that some of them will not be converted. Some of the Gentiles, you know. It's as if the truth were handed over, taken away from the Jews and given to the Gentiles for a time. A long time. And then the Jews will return. And the Jews and the Gentiles will both be Christians then. That seems to be the implication. That the Jews will be converted and the Gentiles, a lot of them, will have believed in Christ. During their... Yes. Yes, yes. It's like there are three times. The first time of the Jews, okay, when they're the chosen people. That's before Christ. Then Christ comes. He's rejected by the Jews. And then the time of the Gentiles begins, okay? The Jews hand over Christ to the Gentiles. They hand him over to the Romans, you know. What we were talking about there. And it's like... It's like a symbolic acting out of the handing over of the truth of the Christ to the Gentiles.


Then is the time of the Gentiles and the Jews are excluded. St. Paul talks about this in Romans. And the Jews will come back. And the Gentiles are already in. And so they meet, as it were, in Christ. That seems to be the implication. And we don't know about the other ones that don't believe. Yeah. Yeah. It's a strange thing. This mixture of free will and then what God does, you know. Because God says, well, I hardened Pharaoh's heart. We don't know how to figure that one out. Somehow God doesn't act that way.


We can talk about punishment sometimes, but not revenge. We take revenge on ourselves. Yeah. He's a formidable scripture. Then we've got to figure out what he means by revenge. It would take four Philadelphia theologians. Yeah. How would you explain this? Where do our thoughts come from? Jesus says that our evil thoughts come from our hearts. Okay. He says that it's out of the heart that evil thoughts come.


Let's follow that for a minute. There's something in our thoughts that comes from outside, obviously, right? Because we see, we look out the window and we see something. And that starts nothing. And there's something else that comes from inside. And it's as if the thought is a kind of merging of what comes from outside and what comes from inside. Now, our thoughts can come from our own heart, come from outside, come from the evil spirit, come from God. Maybe it comes from an angel. The fathers, the monastic fathers thought a lot about that question. But they were kind of discerned. The big question to them was, where does this thought come from? Does it come from God? Does it come from the devil? Does it come from me? Those are the three possibilities to that. We also accept the one that comes from outside the window. Yeah, St. Thomas insists that... What did he say? Nothing in your mind, unless it's first in your senses.


He insists that everything comes that way. Well, probably everything, nearly everything, has to take something from the senses, okay? But it certainly doesn't all come from the senses. And sometimes, of course, the mystic will receive something straight from God, right? He thinks it's some kind of experience, some kind of a vision straight from God, where nothing seems to come from the senses. And maybe there's nothing even sensible in the vision. Maybe a purely intellectual apprehension might come down as that sort of thing. Some kind of an experience of God himself, okay? But that's exceptional. Normally, our ideas do at least pick up something from the outside. The reason you should try to receive is because you can't see. St. Paul says that, and I'm trying to remember his exact words. He says we can't... I don't know if it says a good thought. You can't say Jesus is the Lord, Jesus is the Lord without the Holy Spirit. I don't know if he says a good thought.


He says there's nothing good in us, or something else. There's nothing good in me, he says. It's hard to know how. It's hard to interpret. I don't know. Gershon's got this image of a mill. Do you remember in his first conference? He says the mind is like a mill. It's turning around all the time. It's as if the water is always coming. It's turning around that mill wheel. And so it's always going around. And you've got the choice of what to put into it. You can either put grain into it, you can put rocks into it, whatever, you know? But once you get out of it, the thoughts that develop are going to depend on what you put into it. Now, there is a continual movement of some kind, okay? And I think there's stuff that's coming up continually from the unconscious.


And there's a kind of a drive, a kind of a seeking, a movement which is continuous. And until we make an active will, it tends to go on sort of automatically and instinctively. But then, when we deliberately start a train of thought, then something else happens. Then we've got two things going side by side. The deliberate train of thought and the instinctive or unconscious thing. And then it interacts. It's a complicated thing, though, to understand the human consciousness. I don't think the mind can understand the mind really, you know? Did you hear something? Yes. Yes.


There. There's something like that. That identification is the tricky one. The one where you think you're holy and you're not. That is, we're a little bit holy. The tip of the iceberg is holy and all the rest is not. That's the tricky one. It's also where the people, the evangelists who really confront you with complete confidence in the word of God, you know? It's the preacher who comes across and just knocks you down with the gospel, you know? As if he were just all gospel himself. But really, he's probably very nasty to his wife. His life is all messed up, but he's got this complete confidence because the word feels so good to him when he preaches it, you know? It's that kind of thing. To identify yourself with Christ, with Christianity, is typical of a new conversion. In the enthusiasm of discovering Christ, we don't see the difference between Christ and ourselves. We do at a certain point.


If we feel contrition, if we feel compunction. But in the other phase of the conversion, the honeymoon phase, Honeymoon is a good metaphor, though, because it's the same phenomenon, I think, psychologically, emotionally. We don't see the distinction. We don't see the difference, the distance between Christ, the word, and ourselves. We think we're one with it. Only gradually do we discover the differences. Just like man and wife, during the honeymoon phase, they don't see any problems. They don't see any conflicts. It's only later on, as they live together through the years, that they discover that they're really not one the way they thought they were. They have to become one through a long, painful process of getting to know one another. It's very similar. I hope to use one word. For a rabbi, for a preacher, or a priest. You see that comedy, that cartoon, where an old fella says, Oh, it's hard to talk to a young priest. It's hard to call you a father.


Well, I think they should all be called teachers. Jesus says, call nobody father, call nobody teacher. Call nobody master, because you're only that one. And yet, in tradition, we've always called them father. Young people have that a lot of times. But shouldn't they all be called teachers? All the priests? That's what they're doing. There's something nice about that expression, father. Why? Because somehow, first of all, it's a symbol. Our father relationship is a tenured thing. But there's a sacramental value to that. If you've got a teacher in Christ, then in a way he's a father. And if you've got a novice master, or an abbot, he's in a way a father because he's trying to give you life. The trouble with our own fathers is they give us life without giving us wisdom. I was always mad at my father because he brought me into existence, but he didn't give me wisdom. To exist and not to have wisdom is a wretched thing.


To be alive, not to know where you came from, not to know God, not to know how to live, not to know how to live well and to be happy, that's a wretched thing, it's a miserable thing. There's another kind of fatherhood, which is giving wisdom, which is, as it were, conferring the spirit, conferring the life of God. I think it's important that we keep that expression, so that we keep the expression of spiritual fatherhood. It's a beautiful thing. It's much better than just the teacher thing, because the teaching comes through the head, but the fatherhood thing can only come through the heart. And if it's real spiritual fatherhood, then it's in some way just passing on the life of God, which is a precious thing. A teacher can just teach out of his head, but a father has to do it from his heart. So I think it's important to conserve that notion. That's what comes from the Gospel, because Jesus talks about the shepherd. Now, pastor means shepherd, right?


So that's okay. We call him pastor too. But despite the words of Jesus, in the Gospel call nobody's father, there's this irrepressible tendency to bring that word father back in, at least in our Christian tradition, the Catholic tradition. I think it's a beautiful thing too. Because Jesus says a lot of things in that way, and he doesn't mean to be taken absolutely. He'll say something else at another time. He'll say, He forces on your father in Christ. So right there, he seems to go against the words of Jesus in that way. Just through the Gospel, I think that's true. Yeah, like you said, it comes from a father to tell his son, or his daughter, what to tell her father. That would be a real fatherhood, is to give wisdom. Which means, you know, to give God in some way,


to give the way of living with God. In other words, to be a spiritual father, is to help somebody to find God as his father, right? Because wisdom is the knowledge of God as your father. That's real fatherhood. In other words, that's sacramental fatherhood. Because in some way, it confers that sonship with God. It teaches a man to be a son of God. Okay? That's the same Benedict is doing. And that's why, you know, that's why we call him father. Okay.