Wednesday 3rd Week Lent

PHOTO: LAURENCE FREEMAN

 Matthew 5:17-19: I have come not to abolish but to fulfil

These recent gospels have illustrated how Jesus dealt with criticism and rejection – the things we like least in life. His example of complete integrity inspires us to remember what wholeness means. It encourages us to think that it is humanly possible.
 
When we see hypocrisy – the enemy of integrity – we are cautious. If we condemn it - as Jesus and the great teachers did - we expose ourselves to attack. No one likes to be called a hypocrite yet at some level we all know that we are. The word comes from the Greek hypokrisis which means ‘actor’. Yet, it is almost inevitable that we pretend to be or feel what we are not, even if we would also like to be what we pretend. 'I'm so sorry' (meaning 'get over it'). 'Let's change' (meaning 'you first'). I love you (add 'provided that').
 
We don't have to despair about our inauthenticity, simply admit it. That defuses it and prevents our false self from blocking the way to the deeper level of consciousness on which we can only be who we are and where the truth is not some thing we think or say but a completely (inter-) personal experience. The sign that we are heading there is that we don't take ourselves too solemnly and that we laugh at our false self and welcome other people to do the same.
 
Gradually the actor's mask becomes - as in great theatre rather than in soap opera - a transparent means of revealing the deeper truth. Form can then communicate the emptiness which is fullness. (God is the union of emptiness and fullness). The wonderful thing is that this happens - if we allow it and make the space necessary - in subtle ways and in the most ordinary things of life. (Seeing God in everyone). That is why Lent is about small things. And why meditation is more about practice than good intention.

 
With love
Laurence
 
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