Friday, July 21, 2006

The Heart of Things I've been listening to the horror in the news, of the bloodshed in the Middle East.... I'm no expert in politics or in the region, but as a fellow human being I want to respond to what I see as madness. William Wordsworth once wrote "the world is too much with us; late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers." I think of all the energy, the passion, and the force that fuels this seemingly endless hatred between human beings. And at the end of the day, I say to myself, we are in the eyes of God and in the universe at large, brothers and sisters. We are brothers all, and sisters all. I don't want that to sound like a Hallmark card, but a pounding, riveting truth that should strike us like lightning. We are one, we are related one to another in a cosmic web of persons, human beings unlike all other creatures in the universe.... because we are FREE and that freedom is a call to love. Shouldn't this truth give birth to reverence? What lies at the heart of this conflict and of all the hatred and violence of our times? Henry David Thoreau told us to "Read not the Times, read the Eternities." There is a deeper wound at the heart of things, the heart of man. From our very origins as male and female, a seed of doubt was sown, and the hearts of Adam and Eve opened to its poison. There is a doubt and a lack of trust in the very air about us since our original fall, that original sin. So we all have broken hearts... there's a wound in the heart of the human family. I believe, ultimately, the source of the violence in the Middle East and the world is rooted in our original fear; the lack of trust that God would give us our hearts desire. We fear loss. The reaction is to grasp... so some grasp at Land, at a national identity, at a Creed that will defend and divide me from my enemies. But the Land and the Creed and the identity and all they symbolize (for all parties involved) once they are grasped and used as weapons immediately begin to wither and rust. "Those who live by the sword, die by the sword." (Matthew 26:52) There is one Land that we are called to, and it's Heaven. There is one Creed and it does not divide. It unites, because it tells the Truth about who we are and Who God is. The land is finite; it passes as do we, even for all the ancestry and the battles won and lost and the families that shared it over the ages. This land is to be posssessed for a time, not obsessed over at the cost of human lives. And every day our brothers and sisters are dying for this earth. They are passing over into eternity, leaving the land behind. I'm just praying for the light to come, for the clenched fists to release their grasp. Let it go, let the earth tumble back to earth and let's not cling to it as if that was all there was. We are made for greater things. We are made for eternity, and all this that is passing is merely a gift, a sign and sacrament of what's to come, to be received and never grasped. May the saints and martyrs shine down on us and remind us of our true home and our deepest calling... union and communion with God and each other.
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