2009, An-Nahar, Articles

The New Universe / 27.06.2009

The fears of the human being concerning one’s life, property, destiny, family, folk, or denomination cast the person into anxiety and panic, or depression, since one feels that these fears threaten, his/[her] being, grab, diminish or disperse him/[her] to the extent of being vanished. In reality, whenever one fears nothing, one becomes aware of one’s existent being. However, whence for the person to experience happiness, as it is an aspect of integrity, if one does not become a free existent, free from whatever is thrown in time, and from time itself in its becoming worn, free from war, politics, sex, enemies and friends, free from the spouse and the children, though living with them, free from all who have resorted to him/[her] or those to whom he/[she] has resorted, [and thus] laying the foundation upon that which does not pass away.

Surely you are in the world, however, are you of the world? Who has explained what Jesus had said in this context, when he prayed for His disciples in His farewell address: “I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.” (John 17: 15-17) The world, here, is the historical universe and the disciples are placed in it and cannot afford departing it, since there is neither a different world nor a different history. Jesus asks His Father not to save them from [worldly] existence, but from the evil, which surrounds [worldly] existence or forms it.

Hence, truth does not emerge from history, though it dwells in it, since truth should have a scope. Truth is something else. It descends, from above, upon some hearts and spreads from there to other hearts, who are thirsty to truth, who become contiguous with truth, or it resides in them as they descend from heaven, as John the evangelist puts it. Thus, we have this tangible existence, which is temporal, and sometimes stormy, which always proceeds blunderingly, and admits the resolution falling upon it. Existence calms down sometimes, through that which descends upon it, regardless whether it was in an individual or in a group. Time after time the human being become flawless and those great ones in divine praise become more often flawless, though they might fall sometimes. The great ones might fail whenever they bypass the vision of that which they need to approach in order that truth might descend upon them, and hence, the saying will be true for them:  “because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Rom. 1: 25), until they became “foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless” (Rom. 1: 31).

As we speak about sin we do not employ psychoanalysis, though it might be helpful to understand yourself and the people. If you were neurotic, and most of us are, this does not exempt you from the responsibility toward sin, which controls you, whether you have chosen it willingly or unintentionally. The biggest trick the devil uses is to convince you that there is no such a sin. This relaxes your stay in it and it seems to be good in your eyes, and hence sin puts on itself the garment of virtue. All those who fell in mass hysteria accompanied with hatred, at the last elections, thought of themselves as enlisted for the truth. And before long, you would advance from your political position, which was somehow moderate or even soft, to personal enmity. And in reality, hatred would be hidden within you and it would adopt a political issue, which might seem to be praiseworthy, to hit the other. Thus, you would become patronized (and half of the Lebanese people do not know why they have become patronized), and since you are unable to argue [or debate], you insult [the other] to the extent of beating. Hence, friendships might disappear in all this, while the righteous ones break up, and their hearts do not become ruined.

My father was a simple man. Before forty-seven years I accompanied him in order to vote, in the same polling station, and I felt, without me asking him or him asking me, that each of us had a different list than the other. Then, I accompanied him for lunch at the family’s house and we kept our friendliness. Why does friendliness fall in Lebanon? Isn’t it more important than the pandemonium of the elections?

In the world, but not of the world, rather of God; this is the rule of salvation. God is within you or with you; God frees you and brings you closer to the truth, in order that you would not become paralyzed spiritually, rather you become the emersion of God in this world.

God dwelling with you and within you is your salvation from this world in which you live.

An example of this would be a friend of mine who was great and one of the elite intellectuals. I did not know about his deficiency at the beginning of our friendship. He encountered two disappointments in his life, in the national-patriotic domain, I will not mention them. Two choices he made, and I know their importance, however they are almost completely collapsed at the present. He fell into great sadness. He fell to the extent of frustration and he did not rise. I said to him: The greatest cases perish; this is the oppressiveness of the epoch. History is the grave of great causes.

Thus, those who disappoint you are the ones closest to you, who were known by their love and truthfulness. Suddenly, after long years of companionship, you find out that they have betrayed the loyalty or have fallen in sins you would never expect, or faults, or hidden inclinations are revealed to you that you would never know. In case you were bound to those close ones to you to the extent that you would come from them, or in case this or that person was the one you have counted on or you have laid your confidence on, you will be befallen by great sorrow out of which you might not emerge.

The notion of ‘letting go’ is essential, in the Gospel, for salvation. In the Master’s calling to Matthew, the Master says: “Follow me. And he left everything, and rose and followed him.” (Luke 5: 27-28) The Lord has, more than once, spoken about leaving the close relatives (father, brother, sister and others). Clearly the Savior does not call to a physical or a social separation from the family and the relatives. Rather, he wants that you do not make any person a center of your life or a source for it. Christian love is about giving and there is no slavery in it. Love, which ancient Greeks called it Eros is a feeling of possession; hence you posses and you become possessed [by another]. However, in evangelical love you eliminate your ‘I’ within you and you extinguish it completely, in order that you might become for the Other. And whenever you eliminate it, God dwells within you and raises within you a pure ‘I’, thus, the Lord becomes your face since there remains nothing from the earth within you.

Then, you will serve but you will not possess and you will not ask for reword or thanks, you would not expect that someone might acknowledge you or remain faithful to you. You have loved him/[her] so that he/[she] might know that he/[she] is the beloved of God, and might feel within him/[her]self God’s kindness and compassion. Thus, you have become poor to all people; to those pure and malicious, who were showing affection to you. You grieve for their deliverance and not for they have offended you. You pray for them in purity of thought and life, and your inner being does not separate from them, though they keep you away from their company.

Whenever you become free of all people and all the benefits that you used to draw forth, and you prevent them from extolling you, whenever you dwell in God, you will not become proud of yourself, and if God is everything within you, you exist through God and God becomes present within you, and then you will not separate your ‘I’ from God’s presence since you do not perceive your face as in a mirror. The deviators do this. The one who loves the face of God does not deviate, since one thinks of oneself as nothing. And one’s Lord makes him/ [her] something, but without his/[her] knowledge. And if one can, one would cover one’s outer and inner form, in order that nothing appears from him/[her] other than the Word, and God alone remains manifested until the world transforms into “a new heaven and a new earth” [Rev.21: 1].

Translated by Sylvie Avakian-Maamarbashi

Original Text: “الكون الجديد” –An Nahar- 28.06.2009

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