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La Transformación según Santa Teresa de Lisieux, parte 2

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La Transformación según Santa Teresa de Lisieux, parte 2 Padre Thomas Keating, OCSO There's another parable that goes a little farther Jesus' teaching builds up in intensity as he goes along and this time I appealed to the parable of the leaven hidden in the dough. This parable is exactly the same in three Gospels. So it's very exact, it must be very authentic. A woman took some leaven and kneaded three measures of flour and the leaven worked in the dough until the whole mass was leavened. Now leaven is not such a bad term today because we're used to yeast which is made in a different way but in the Jesus time leaven was the symbol of corruption because it was made by allowing bread to rot in a dark damp place until it stank, then you put it in the dough and then gradually all the dough was transformed into the leaven it became leavened bread. Well, here again this juxtaposition between leavened and unleavened was another form in which the religious society of the time expressed the importance of separating the sacred from the secular of separating the feast day from everyday life or the ferial day as we might call it in the Roman liturgy. So here is here is this lady she takes three measures of flour which would be enough for about 50 people we're talking about not just breakfast but feeding an army or a small army. It's the exact same measure that we hear about in Genesis when Sarah provided some bread at Abraham's request for the three angelic visitors at the oaks of Mambre. So it suggests a revelation of God. There's another place where the same recipe occurs and that's when Samuel before he was conceived, his mother Anna prepared this as a sacrifice when she presented him in the temple I forget the exact circumstances. But again he was to become the great prophet of Israel. So again it was in the minds of the hearers who were well-read in Scripture it would mean this is an epiphany of God. Well, now instead of it being an epiphany of holiness this batch of bread filled with this unclean material symbolized by the leaven, now that becomes a revelation of the Kingdom. So people are saying: "Well, is this guy saying that evil is good?" How can you say that leaven, especially after it leavens the whole mass, produces a divine triumph? it's just the opposite, it produces a divine disaster, in our point of view, since it leads to monumental corruption." 50 loaves of bread that are now been changed into the symbol of corruption. So you have to be a little careful with the parables sometimes they proceed by similarity and sometimes by dissimilarity, well, here's a parable that that instructs or shocks by dissimilarity. but it certainly raises the question: How do you know what is good and evil? How do you know what is good and evil? Well apart from our catechism which has some definite ideas about what is good and evil, I'm not talking about that, I'm talking rather about what you feel is good and evil for you and that presupposes what your value system is. Well it's the value system that Jesus is confronting in this parable and saying: " maybe you better doubt the predictability of good and evil in your life if you want to be open to the Kingdom, because the Kingdom is not limited to a sacred place, it's totally unlimited and God feels free to come to us in any guise whatsoever. So if you think that what you feel is a corrupt situation God can't come to, then you're not sensitive to the Kingdom of God, and so in daily life when events that you feel are a disaster occur, you think God is absent." God isn’t absent. It's just your idea that you think He couldn't be present when things are going wrong. This parable says: On the contrary, God couldn't be MORE present in your difficulties or when things are going wrong. Here again you might say that the leaven, what we regard as evil for us, it could be physical disability in ourselves or others, mental disability in ourselves or others, or perhaps a moral disability in ourselves and others. Jesus is saying, if you can believe him, the Kingdom of God is present there. How is it present is what you have to figure out. This is the challenge of everyday life, God is there, but everything in you says "He can't be here because if He's sovereign, if He's all-powerful why does he do this to me? and if he's allowing this to happen to me well, I don't like him! To hell with God!" (not to be quoted out of context) but that's how you feel and I'm talking about experience here and when the leaven is presented to you as 50 measures of flour, which means an enormous batch in other words we're talking about what you see as monumental corruption when that is happening to you, where is Jesus? Where is God who's always saying how much He loves us and is protecting us? "Well, do something!" is the normal reaction. Well, sometimes God does deliver us from a few difficulties, there is always some backup and so what God is looking for is not to change the situation that seems monumentally destructive or corruption, but to change us and it's to change us that sometimes disasters are required because we're sometimes a little dense and we have these preconceived ideas that have never been challenged intellectually that we've brought with us from early childhood or picked up along the way, And these values are not those of the Gospel and insofar as they're not, God persuades us, invites us to change them and if we can't do it on our own then he provides us with monumental corruption. Now St. Therese had this trouble. First of all, she had this tuberculosis that deepened as her life in the convent continued. She was reduced to bedridden towards the last year of her life. She couldn't do all the things she loved to do, she couldn't praise God at the Office anymore, she couldn't go to Mass, she couldn't -- she couldn't even think of Heaven, that was previously a great consolation to her, Heaven was as if it was closed, as if there was an iron curtain in front of it when she tried to think about it. In other words her disease and also her spiritual purification that was going on at the same time. So sometimes you have two or three moral corruptions going on at the same time, physical, mental, and spiritual, and then you really are a sad sack. So you say, and so you think, and poignantly such people need all the support you can give them, because they're really hurting. But is that moral, a physical, mental corruption, is that the only value? If the Kingdom of God is working there, then just as Christ's passion and death is being worked out in us, so his Resurrection is at the bottom of that pile of corruption, and in due time it will emerge. The Cross and the Resurrection are two sides of reality, sometimes you experience one more than the other. But in a mature Christian they have come together and it doesn't matter which is going on because the other is always present at least in this life. Let's turn that around and look at it from God's point of view. Here is God sending his only Son into the world who became sin as Paul says for us that is to say, took upon himself all the consequences of sinfulness one of which is a sense of absence with God or the alienation from God or the feeling of rejection from God. So this is then the deepest meaning of Christ's passion: That he not only took our sins upon the Cross, so that we're suffering on the Cross, maybe not physically, but by identification with Christ, not in our virtues but in our sins, because it's our sinfulness and weakness and feebleness that He's taken upon himself and all the consequences of personal sin in order to free us through the waters of Baptism and reconciliation symbolized by his descent into hell. Now, that Christ descended into Hell, is in the Apostles Creed, remember, and I think Therese had a tremendous insight into this. But in the Greek Orthodox liturgy there's another insight: It's never been defined what is meant by Hell here, as far as I know. Sometimes exegesis a it means Hades the place believed by the Jewish people of the time where the just were detained because of original sin until Christ came and so he visited them and freed them and everybody went to heaven along with him. Well this is a very traditional idea but it's a little concrete when you're thinking of spiritual things. But suppose he really descended into hell. Now hell is a state of mind, a state of soul, a state of total alienation from God. So total that one doesn't even want habit changed. Hell exists even in this life for some people who were utterly reject God or but it's a disposition or state of mind that really exists whether it's permanent or not that's there have been different ideas about that over the centuries. But the point is when one is in Hell it's that is psychologically suffering the alienation from God, you wouldn't think of anything else. So it's permanent in so far as one can only think of this terrible alienation and loneliness. Well this is precisely the extent of which Christ has identified with us. He's identified with the furthest consequences of sin and taken it into himself and descended into that state of consciousness which corresponds to hell if such as a place. And so to participate in that kind of absence of God and alienation it's really the most mature attitude that you can come to in the Christian life and that's why it's a mistake to think of our spiritual journey as an ascent to glory or as a magic carpet to bliss, it's rather the increasing capacity to enter into the passion and death and descent into a state like hell that is the greatest participation in Christ Paschal mystery and hence the greatest participation in his resurrection and the greatest participation in your capacity to cooperate in the redemption of the world which is the great project that Jesus initiated in his own body and teaching. So that the everyday life may mean not just routine and distress but physical disaster, mental disaster, in Therese’s case remember her father developed a mental illness after she entered the convent. Well after having sent four daughters to the convent and lost his favorite one is no wonder he went berserk, well her sister Celine was taking care of him and he couldn't come to the convent except rarely and there was this tragic veil over his reason and so on. So it was an excruciating trial for her to be in because she was so close to him. But she says in her letters to Celine that they made giant steps forward in the love of God in this situation by accepting it and living with it and praising God for the mysterious work he was doing and we can be sure that even mental illness is part of God's that God is quite possibly using that for a person's sanctification and perhaps more than we realize maybe some people who suffer mental difficulties are much closer to God than everybody else because of the intensity of their incredible pain. You've never known anybody who suffered from scruples or from schizophrenia, you know what I mean, it's so tragic that you're absolutely powerless in front of it and yet we're asked to believe that the Kingdom of God is somewhere in that situation. Physical illness God is somewhere in that situation, the Kingdom is most active there. It's also very active, Jesus suggests in the marginalized people of society, in the outcasts, the throwaways and God's identification with such people is exemplified when Jesus had supper with the public sinners. Here again is something worth reflecting on him. In the Palestinian culture, to eat with somebody was to identify with their state of life, with their way of life it was a form of participating in their life. And so to the horror sometimes of his disciples and certainly of the Pharisees Jesus ate with sinners and publicans, a lot more than with the respectable people as far as we can tell. What was he saying? Not that he was approving of their behavior but he was identifying with the wounds that they were suffering and the consequences of their sin and the depths of the drives hidden within them that required trampling on their own good and those of others to get what they want or to get away from what they don't want. So again it asks the question who are you to judge anyone? Who are you anyway? Certainly not a judge because the judge to be qualified needs to have all the facts and he needs to be appointed by some authority. Nobody has appointed us to judge anyone. And so Therese worked very hard with that saying from the Sermon on the Mount in fact with all those sayings she exemplifies it in her life. One of the things: the two ways of proceeding in daily life at least until monumental corruption overtakes you, that'll keep you busy thinking you don't have to think up anything else but in the meantime to prepare yourself for that there are two ways of proceeding that she exemplifies. One is to reach out to others in little things. If you've ever seen the Bernie tape that was his path, he was always thinking of other people and doing little favors for them, very little favors, almost trivialities and yet with a certain gentleness that didn't become oppressive or annoying. But Therese did that too in and so when she was a novice she saw this old lady sister who had to have help coming to choir from the infirmary, she was very crotchety and nothing you could do would please her and she would say: "Well now watch out you don't drop me, you're just a child. Be careful." And no matter what Therese did nothing could satisfy this lady because she was crotchety and nervous and fearful. She wanted to go to choir, one wonders why, but Therese with no thought of judging her put up with this day after day and she even volunteered to take her there over a year. And after about a year of this process of taking her to Vespers and being berated at almost every step and belittled for being young and not very mature in religious life, well, they finally got to the church every time, but one day this old nun said to her Therese you're so sweet to me what is it about me that is so attractive? Well, for once Therese was somewhat taken aback and she almost said "nothing, but the fact that I see Jesus Christ suffering in you", but she didn't say that but it was a light for her, it was a marvelous light for her to realize that she was being encouraged in that work. Another time you put it negatively, negatively is when we don't reach out to people but try to not reach out to them because if we do we'd punch them in the nose. So it's when you're annoyed with someone and so you want to a say strong word or a harsh word or you want to put them in their place or you want to get revenge or share with them a bit of gossip that would hurt them and so that's when you don't reach out, when you beat a hasty retreat. So this one time she had a nasty word on her lips, she wanted to get even or she wanted to defend herself or something and she had this huge emotional compulsion to say something. Well she knew she stayed there another minute it would come out so what did she do she said oh I have something very important in the sacristy, she was the sacristan at the time. So she literally ran away and sat down on the stairs in the sacristy and her heart was beating like mad, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, because she had let go of her compulsion to say something and so this was what she calls a rather modest triumph. So sometimes a best way of dealing with our emotional compulsions that are out of hand is to beat a hasty retreat, this is not to give up the war, it's just a tactical, a strategic move to really gather your forces and to come back at the job when you're in a little better position. So notice the carefulness and the resoluteness with which she pursued all the aspects of the false self within her, the dynamics of the unconscious that would come up despite her and by doing what she could to resist them or by doing what she could to reach out against her natural inclination to help someone, this is what she means by "the little way", this is what she means by capturing Jesus by caresses, not by big love affairs, not by ecstasies, not by experiencing great consolations but just the stable, repeated exercise of faith, trust and charity. Well it was this realization that showed her the depths of her own weakness and feebleness and so that's why she could say and you might take this saying especially to heart even if I had on my conscience she says every conceivable crime I would lose nothing of my confidence, why because Jesus has taken every consequence of sin upon himself and descended into hell and then reascended, taking with him all of us who have been purified in the waters or rather the blood of Christ. Even if I had on my conscience every conceivable sin I would lose nothing, nothing of my confidence but overflowing with love I would throw myself into the arms of the Father and I am certain that I would be warmly received. I think this is one of the great insights of all time into the nature of God and our relationship with him.

Video Details

Duration: 25 minutes and 5 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Producer: Contemplative Outreach Ltd./Extensión Contemplativa Internacional
Director: Contemplative Outreach Ltd.
Views: 28
Posted by: castella on Jul 21, 2017

El Padre Thomas Keating continúa explicando el proceso de transformación en la vida diaria siguiendo el modelo de Santa Teresa de Lisieux

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