Sunday, January 24, 2010

an unseen tether

Saint Catherine of Alexandria

It is easy and it is difficult to know how to surrender and how to give permission.

We live with the unseen witness and we ascribe to this witness many judgments. We believe that somehow if we suffer others will know our suffering and we will gain worthiness through this suffering. Somehow through debasement, by prostrating before others we prove our goodness. Those few exempted from these interior recriminations are those who through some fluke of rearing or through some internal dialogue have managed to persuade themselves, or are raised to believe, that they are worthy … some believe this in excess.

It is nothing more than a contemporary self-flagellation with the same degree of usefulness. While the diseases it spreads are perhaps less virulent than the plague they are none-the-less damning in their outcomes.

No doubt the content of this witness’s character was formed in the early days of Christian guilt. It is no doubt the descendant of those cultural beliefs that allowed the aristocracy to believe that God had ordained them to their places and had just as firmly placed their lessers rightly beneath them. Conversely, those lessers, equally convinced of their place, were satisfied to have a sense of ego/goodness fed through the virtues of their self-sacrifice. (I am made better than you in my suffering.)

Always it is a balance … how to silence this witness and reconstruct the being in some more helpful form… to know and accept that we are somehow worthy of our happinesses.

It is true that faith must be internal … it is the content of that faith we must reconstruct.

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