Saintly Thoughts

Reflections Concerning the Wretched Self

If they knew...if they only knew what rot and pestilence bred between my ears my fellows would cast me out upon the street, for the truth of my own wretchedness would awaken the lie of their own self-righteousness.  Unless, of course, they themselves are righteous.  But I find that difficult to believe.  I believe that those who have true self-knowledge are frightened of none so much as they are frightened of themselves, for they know what potential wickedness lies within.  We are so ready to divide the world into gnostic divisions, into light and dark, into good and bad.  It is a good myth and an appealing one.  But as much as I yearn for an existence of fairy tales, this one at least I must reject, for the Christian view, while far less beautiful (to my eyes) seems much closer to the truth: that the world is full of goodness and sin, not so much opposing forces as the latter the parasite of the former.   That in this world, all actions are inextricably mixtures of the two, whether we wish for good or ill, we do both in some measure, not according to our will or our goodness, but according to the extent that we understand the symbols of righteousness.  What symbols, you may ask?  The symbol that loves the world so much that one would sacrifice it and everything that you love in it for the love of that which is greater.  This is a virtue (if virtue it be) that straddles the expanse separating heaven and hell.  Stray too far from the love of the One (a One we know but imperfectly) and the lover becomes eternally lost.  How will you know this love?  This love will cleanse you of your imperfections, will cast it from you in the last day.  But do not begrudge your fellows.  Do not neglect mankind for the sake of the One.  For to love God is to love man, just as to love man is to love God.  Do not conflate this love.  Man is not God just as God is not Mankind (though the latter statement makes more sense than the former, if God became man).  Love both Man and God; the dialectical tension, the vortex of infinite love which feeds from the one to the other.  Back and forth we are tossed in this maelstrom; the only bridge large enough to span the abyss of Being.