Sunday, June 27, 2010

Korean Ode to Water

In a meditative study on water in a recent Catholic Magazine, the author helps us appreciate the role of water in our life. When we get away during the summer and go to the mountains and sit beside a stream or go to the seashore, the sound of the water never interferes with what we do--it's a welcome relief from the sound of machines. Water was our first natural habitat; we were all surrounded by water in our mother's womb.

Even in life, most of our body is made up of water; it was there from the beginning. Water was the womb from which God created. When our telescopes explore outer space, the presence of water is considered a sign that some form of life will also be present. Water gives life. However, it is also the reason for punishment in the Scriptures. It cleans and removes dirt and debris. The Jews used water as a sign of cleanliness. We as Christians continue this with the waters of baptism that give us new life.

Both in the West and in the East the nature and attributes of water have been acknowledged and eulogized. In Korea water was seen as containing four virtues. It gives growth to all life, cleans from dirt, flows through all things--it is gentle. Water does not care for the turbid, seeks the bright and cleans the dirty--it is just. Water is soft, and, although seemingly weak, has to be respected for it can easily overcome the strong--it is brave. Flowing with reason, water accommodates, embraces and relates harmoniously with all--it is humble and wise. .

Lao-tzu compares water to the Way. The highest good is like water. "Because water excels in benefiting the myriad creatures without contending with them and settles where none would like to be, it comes close to the way."

During this vacation season, the author recommends that we do the following:

1) At a little stream in a ravine, put your feet in the water and go back to the time you were in your mother's womb.

2) Throw a leave into a stream and let your spirit go with the leaf out to the ocean.

3) Recollect the attributes of water and ask God for the grace to imitate them.

4) Let us remember that when we dirty water, it is water that we need to drink; let us keep all waters clean.

5) Water is our common possesssion. Let us conserve it.

1 comment:

  1. This is better than the sermon by a Korean nun I heard that said "water is alive" and literally meant it.