Thursday, March 29, 2012

Flight from God

"Truth will make us free," a quote from Scripture that begins the columnist's Notes on Life, will be the source of our bliss, he says, if we live close to this truth.  However, we have to be careful in discerning its meaning; without understanding correctly we can be hurt.

Practicing truth we are also living the truthful life. But from the beginner's understanding to the loftiest, there is a great  variety of behaviors. We have many examples of this, and for a Christian Jesus is our prime example: living the  truth that overcame the natural attachment to earthly life.

This way of life requires the  preparation of the vessel and its capacity to be filled with the truth that makes us free; otherwise, with vanity, we will be faced with  embarrassment. The columnist dreams of this search for truth but not for martyrdom. He tells us of his own preparation of the vessel: not wanting to be lazy but  diligent, not wanting to be deceptive but always speaking the truth, not wanting to judge things foolishly but with a correct understanding, wanting to rid himself of greed, not indulging in overeating or drinking, be accepting of an empty stomach,and more than that, to enjoy the condition. And wanting, perhaps above all else (he is a poet), to write a better line of poetry. He considers all this preparation as bringing him coming closer to the truth. The columnist has bared his soul; he is striving for the truth, trying to achieve a little more than what he now possesses. He admits that his feelings are packaged with his own wrapping paper.

Living with self-discipline will not be detrimental to  a long life, he wants to reassure us. We know that overeating is not as beneficial as eating little, that competing  excessively, with its attendant stress, is not as healthful as living calmly with some uncomfortableness. In brief, the columnist feels that this faith life of accepting  blessings fits rather well into his philosophy of life.

The flow of civilization in the 20th and 21st centuries is decidedly against this disciplined approach to truth--not being particularly interested in things of the mind but worshiping the material. He concludes with the words of Max Picard who defined this age as "fleeing from God."

There are, he feels, too many temptations leading us away from truth. In the Analects of Confucius is found the phrase, "A virtuous man will have a long life."  In silence, living prudently, will they not lead to a long and fruitful life?

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