A brother in Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which Abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to him, saying, “Come, for everyone is waiting for you”. So he got up and went. He took a leaking jug and filled it with water and carried it with him. The others came out to meet him and said, “what is this, father?” The old man said to them, “My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another.” When they heard that, they said no more to the brother but forgave him.
—-sayings of the desert
I do not believe that comments are necessary on this story. Let me offer this prayer.
Lord help me to understand the nature of the grace that you offer to me. May I not waste my time trying to figure out other people’s sin and faults but know that their forgiveness is already been secured. Let me offer my forgiveness in the same manner as You. Amen
I share this article from The Center for Contemplation and Action.
A ripening mind and heart might simply be described as a capacity for non-dual consciousness and contemplation. Many might just call it growth in compassion, but surely no growth in compassion is likely unless one learns how to forgive as a very way of life, and to let go of almost everything as we first imagined it had to
be. This is possible as we grow in the Jewish, Islamic, and Christian notion of faith, where not-knowing (the apophatic way) must be carefully paired with knowing (the kataphatic way). The Judeo-Christian tradition balances our so-called knowing with trust, patience, allowing, waiting, humility, love, and forgiveness, which is very nearly the entire message and surely the core message necessary for any possibility of actual ripening. Otherwise, we all close down, and history freezes up with all of its hurts, memories, and resentments intact. A non-dual way of knowing in the moment gives us a life process and not simply momentary dualistic answers, which always grow old because they are never totally true.
My guidance is a simple reminder and recall to what we will be forced to learn by necessity and under pressure anyway—the open-ended way of allowing and the deep meaning that some of us call faith. To live in trustful faith is to ripen, it is almost that simple. Let’s start practicing now, early in our life, so we do not have to take a crash course in our final years, weeks, days, and minutes of our lives. The best ripening happens over time, lots of time.
Tevye, the Jewish dairy farmer in the musical Fiddler on the Roof, lives with his wife and five daughters in czarist Russia. Change is taking place all around him, and the new patterns are nowhere more obvious to Tevye than in the relationship between the sexes. First, one of his daughters announces that she and a young tailor have pledged themselves to each other, even though Tevye had already promised her to the village butcher, a widower. Initially, Tevye will not hear of his daughter’s plans, but he finally has an argument with himself and decides to give in to the young lovers’ wishes. A second daughter also chooses the man she wants to marry. He is a revolutionary. Tevye is rather fond of him, and after another argument with himself he again concedes to the changing times.
Some time later Tevye’s third daughter wants to marry. She has fallen in love with a young Gentile. This violates Tevye’s deepest religious convictions, and it is unthinkable that one of his daughters would marry outside the faith. Once again, he has an argument with himself. He knows that his daughter is deeply in love, and he does not want her to be unhappy. Still, he cannot deny his convictions. “How can I turn my back on my faith, my people? If I try and bend that far, I’ll break!” Tevye pauses and says,”On the other hand…” He pauses again, and then he shouts very loudly. “No! There is no other hand!”
We all face times that if we bend anymore we will break. Breaking times need to be times of prayer and introspection. Answers to difficult questions should be considered and reconsidered many times before we decide there is no “other hand.” Far too many decisions are taken too lightly in this post-modern society. The monastics teach us to go into our “cells” and seek God with all our hearts.” When I have a truly difficult decision to make (or a problem), I often fast for a day, and occasionally even a few days.”(Thomas Merton) Remember, we must bend but God never asks us to break, only the world makes that demand.
- Tradition!! (ahull2013.wordpress.com)