Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Signmaker

                                      The Signmaker
Emptiness…is where the real is,
Don’t run from it,
Don’t solid-fill it;
Steer by it, as by the North Star

Make it your center,
Your skeleton,Your bone, your rock;
Punch through the empty center,
And make it your axis.

Very early in the morning
Long before daylight,
He left the house to a lonely place
An empty place…where He prayed.

“Make us a sign” the skeptics said,
Make us a sign that in forms us
One that reveals who you are
If you claim to be God.

Make us a sign of your power.
Do us a demonstration;
Walk on water … again,
Save us from pain and death.

And for Christ’s sake
Don’t let us be alone, and lonely;
Our strength comes from without
So don’t abandon us to ourselves.

“The Kingdom is WITHIN”, he said;
You are called to SIGNify this,
For God is Love,
Love without, is Love within.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Road to Emmaus

                                            November 22, 1963                                 


“Benedicite!” Father Bernard said loudly for all the monks to hear. He had turned off the conveyor belt before speaking. All the brown cases of jams and jellies sat on the still roller bearings above us. Our hands still held the two jars in each destined to fill the empty slots in the open gift boxes on the  white felt conveyor belt which had been moving swiftly from right to left under our working hands.

“Dominus” we spoke as one giving our permission for a verbal communication to take place in this otherwise silent place, Saint Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts. This was home to me and 150 brothers and choir monks.

“The monastery has just received a call from a friend with tragic news. The President, John F. Kennedy has been shot to death in Dallas twenty minutes ago. Reverend Father has been asked for our prayers for the Kennedy Family and for our country. Reverend Father will make available newspaper accounts as they become available.”

After a moment of shock, Brother Bernard turned on the conveyor belts and work continued.  Sitting there, we, as was our custom, said nothing. What was unusual was that no one was making any hand signs, a usual and normal occurrence by which we kidded around with each other as we worked. Instead, faces reddened, eyes moistened and tears began flowing freely.

Remember, this was a bunch of hard working monks used to offering up pain and suffering “all for Jesus and Mary with a smile.” Most of these, my brothers, had been veterans from the Second World War or the Korean War, many were Irish Catholics from the Boston area, and considered the President to be one of our own family, and a hero in his PT-109 exploits in the South Pacific.

As work ended that afternoon, we walked to the shower room with our heads shaking in disbelief. In the Chapter Room after supper, the Abbot told us the details as he had received them throughout the afternoon. Silently, we processed into the Church for Compline. At the singing of the Salve Regina hymn to our lady, I wept uncontrollably in the dark Nave, with the Salve window backlit. Many monks that night experienced pillows soaked with tears.

Throughout all of the days that followed, we had no radio, no television and as a very well insulated Novice, I knew little about what was going on all throughout the world.  Reverend Father gave the community updates, especially when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot and after the funeral. I remember going out on Manning Hill and sitting down with my copy of the New Testament.
I thought back to the night when, as a lay missionary teacher in Jamaica, all the lay “apostles” had an all night Rum-party on the election night for JFK.  The corridor in the teachers’ cottage was made of plywood, and we painted the names of all 50 states and the territories the entire length of it, and stayed up all night chalking in the results as they came to us over armed services radio. We were all wrecks in class the next day, but our students were as delighted with the results as we were. 

I remembered listening on the American Armed forces Radio to Inauguration Day ceremonies when  Cardinal Cushing’s never-ending prayer started the rostrum burning. 

Back when Jack was nominated in San Francisco, I was on Cape Cod. On the next day I went to the Hyannis Airport to greet his flight with a young Republican friend of mine who had no use for Kennedy. As we stood by the fence next to the exit road from the airport, we could hear the roar of the crowd getting louder. As the open top limo came to us, Jack was standing and shaking hands with the crowd as much as possible, while I couldn’t take my eyes off Jacqueline. After they had passed, I turned to my friend and said,” Did you see her? Wasn’t she beautiful?”

My friend looked at me and said, “Who?”

“Jackie!” I exclaimed, “Wasn’t she the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen?”

“I didn’t see her” he replied, “but I shook his hand! I shook his hand!! He’s the greatest person I’ve ever seen!”
Back at the monastery, I took a long walk up Manning Hill and  turned to the Gospel of Luke
“Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called  Emmaus about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them,       but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them,           ‘What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?’
‘They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these     days?’

He asked them, ‘What things?’
They replied, ‘The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the ONE to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him’.
Then he said to them, ‘Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?”
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

As they came near the village to which they were walking, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’

 So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then          their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’
That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they       found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!’       
Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been           made known to them in the breaking of the bread.” (Lk.24:13-35)

That’s how I spent the rest of that day, on Manning Hill in Prayer.
                                                                      Charlie Mc   


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Ut Unum Sint 1 16 15

Ut  Unum  Sint  [That All May Be One]                                                

 So often down through the past 3000 years religious beliefs have been used as measurements of orthodoxy vs. heresy, causing revolutions and warfare instead of facilitating the seeking and the finding of the Kingdom of God. The current hostilities between Jew and Muslim, Catholic and Orthodox, Christian and Muslim, Catholic and Protestant, Buddhist and Muslim, Scientist and Believer, etc.. have got to stem from a failure to understand the original message of their founders, and a substitution of religious symbols for spiritual reality.The following is a brief sample of prayers, poems, stories and anecdotes which I believe all can understand and accept. I hope that you like at least some of these:               -------------------------------------------------                                         

“ My Lord God,  I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.  Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following  your will... does not mean that I am actually doing so.  But I believe that the desire to please you  does in fact please you.  And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.  I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire  And I know that if I do this  you will lead me by the right path  though I may know nothing about it. Therefore, will  I  trust  you  always  though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.  I will not fear, for you are ever with me,  and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."                  
                                                              {Thomas Merton, The Silent Life}
 “Life is what happens to you . . .
while you’re busy making other plans” 
                                                              { J. Lennon , "Beautiful Boy"}
  “Abba Antony said, “ A time is coming  when men will go mad, and when they see someone who  is  not mad,  they will attack him saying, ‘You are mad, you are not like us.’”                                             
                                                   {from The Sayings of the Desert Fathers}
"I had just one desire -  to give myself completely to God. So I headed for the monastery.  An old monk asked me, 'What is it you want?' I said, 'I just want to give myself completely to God.' I expected him to be gentle,  fatherly,  but he shouted at me, 'NOW!!'  I was stunned. He shouted again, 'NOW!'  Then he  reached for a club and came after me. I turned and ran. He kept coming after me, brandishing his club and shouting, 'Now! .... Now!'
That was years ago. He still follows me, wherever I go.
Always that stick,  always that  'NOW!'                                                                                     {Theophane the Monk, Tales of the Magic Monastery}
"I sat there in awe as the old monk answered our questions. Though I’m usually shy, I felt so comfortable in his presence that I found myself raising my hand. 'Father, could you tell us something about yourself?'
He leaned back. 'Myself?'  he mused. There was a long pause. 'My name ...   ... used to be...  But now...   ... it’s  You.' 
"When an archer is shooting for nothing
He has all his skill,
If he shoots for a brass buckle
He is already nervous.
If he shoots for a prize of gold
He goes blind
or sees two targets -
He is out of his mind!

His skill has not changed,
But the prize divides him.  He cares.
He thinks more of winning
than of shooting -
And the need to win
Drains him of his power"
                                                           {Chuang Tzu, ca. 4th Century BCE}.  
"All men will come to him who keeps to the one,
For there lie rest and happiness and peace.
Passersby may stop for music and good food,
but a description of the Tao
Seems  without substance or flavor.
It cannot be seen, it cannot be heard,
And yet, it  cannot be exhausted."
                                                                             {Lao Tzu  ca. 6th century}


"The wise man has no mind of his own.
He is aware of the needs of others.
He is good to people who are good;
He is also good to people who are not good
Because Virtue is goodness.

The wise man is shy and humble-
to the world he seems confusing
Men look to him and listen-
he behaves like a little child."
“... but now I tell you,  love your enemies and
pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become
children of your Father in heaven.  For he makes his sun shine on bad and good people alike... And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary?  You must be  perfect- just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”                                           
                                                                                          { Jesus  - Mt 5:43}  


"Very early the next  morning, long before daylight,
Jesus got up and left the house.  He went out of town to a
lonely place,  where he prayed".
                                                                                          { Jesus - Mk 1:35}.

“For this belongs properly to the nature of love, that the lover will the good of the one he loves."
                                                            { St. Thomas Aquinas  ca. 1270 AD} 
"Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.

Not one of all the purple Host
Who took the Flag today
Can tell the definition
So clear of victory

As he defeated - dying
On whose forbidden ear
The distant strains of triumph
Burst agonized and clear!"
                                                                                         [Emily Dickinson]

                                                PERFECT JOY
“Is there to be found on earth a fullness of joy, or is there no such thing? Is there some way to make life fully worth living, or is this impossible? If there is such a way, how do you go about finding it?

What should you try to do? What should you seek to avoid? What should be the goal in which your activity comes to rest?  What should you accept?  What should you refuse to accept? What should you love? What should you hate?

“What the world values is money, reputation, long life, achievement. What it counts as joy is health and comfort of body, good food, fine clothes, beautiful things to look at, pleasant music to listen to.     

“What it condemns is lack of money, a low social rank, a reputation for being no good, and an early death.
“What it considers misfortune is bodily discomfort and labor, no chance to get your fill of good food, not having good clothes to wear, having no way to amuse or delight the eye, no pleasant music to listen to. If people find that they are deprived of these things, they go into a panic or fall into despair. They are so concerned for their life that their anxiety makes life unbearable, even when they have the things they think they want. Their very concern for enjoyment makes them unhappy.

“The rich make life intolerable, driving themselves in order to get more and more money which they cannot really use. In so doing they are alienated from themselves, and exhaust themselves in their own service as though they were slaves of others.
“The ambitious run day and night in pursuit of honors, constantly in anguish about the success of their plans, dreading the miscalculation that may wreck everything. Thus they are alienated from themselves, exhausting their real life in service of the shadow created by their insatiable hope.

“The birth of a man is the birth of his sorrow. The longer he lives, the more stupid he becomes, because his anxiety to avoid unavoidable death becomes more and more acute. What bitterness! He lives for what is always out of reach!  His thirst for survival in the future makes him incapable of living in the present...

“I cannot tell if what the world considers “happiness” is happiness or not. All I know is that when I consider the way they go about attaining it, I see them carried away headlong, grim and obsessed, in the general onrush of the human herd, unable to stop themselves or to change their direction. All the while claiming to be just on the point of attaining happiness.

“For my part, I cannot accept their standards, whether of happiness or unhappiness. I ask myself if after all their concept of happiness has any meaning whatever.

“My opinion is that you never find happiness until you stop looking for it. My greatest happiness consists precisely in doing nothing whatever that is calculated to obtain happiness:  and this, in the mind of most people, is the worst possible course."
                                                                    -  Chuang Tzu  ( ca 300 BC)
[As edited by Thomas Merton in “The Way of Chuang Tzu” 1965]
"The only place we can touch Jesus and the Kingdom of God is within us."              [Living Buddha, Living Christ by Thich Nhat Hanh, p. 44]
In conclusion, I apologize for having left off this list so many quotes which are so helpful and such good counsel as one lives a believing prayerful life. One last reference I must make is to all the work of the last thirty years of Thomas Keating, OCSO.
to select from just one of his books, I would choose his most recent, Reflections on the Unknowable. In it he writes:
"Religion needs to make sure that it is leading and teaching people to go in this direction(i.e., to contemplative prayer). Otherwise, it's not really meeting its purpose and getting too involved in externals, rituals or structures. They are important, but only up to a point; they are not ends in themselves. God can work independently of religion. He has many ways of bringing people to Himself. Some people have been so damaged by religious misinformation or malformation that they can no longer go by that path."[P.58]
 Also: "Here is a formula to deepen and further
Charlie Mc

Friday, January 16, 2015

WITHIN 1 15 15



“A point indicates a location”.
“A line indicates a distance between two points”.
“A volume indicates a space”.
An interval indicates duration”.
These constitute the four dimensions.

We cannot measure any other dimensions beyond these four, and our concepts of reality and of real things stem from one or more of these measurements. We generally conclude that something does not “exist” if it cannot be measured by one or more of these measurements. If we talk about something existing which cannot be thus measured, we refer to it as a “myth” or a “fiction”.

To this type of subject there has been frequent reference in ancient fables, mythologies and tales about Santa Claus, extra terrestrials and the like. For many, references to God, angels, heaven, hell and life after death fall into the same category. These cannot be perceived sensibly and consequently they are relegated into the bin of non-existence. This is the situation much of the world now faces; a form of materialism which teaches that there is no limit to what we can attain and possess if we work hard enough to get it. Those who don’t take advantage of their opportunities will remain failures and poor in earthly possessions. Philosophies that place value only in materialistic pursuits and fail to see the value and dignity of each and every other human person, will sooner or later treat people as “things” or consider their own wills as divine; or both.  If the value of a person can be “measured” materialistically, or as how useful he/she is to me, then the world descends into a dog-eat-dog competition to be “top-dog”.

If, however, we consider believing that there is a dimension of the human person not measurable by our standards, a dimension of interiority which is not bound by location, length, volume or duration, and which dimension is, nevertheless “real”, then maybe we are open to the possibility of encountering with new insight into some of the most ancient philosophies of the world.

Throughout the modern history of man, we have looked outwards to the stars to read the answer to the mystery of life. Astrologers saw stories told by the constellations and magi and astrologers gave interpretations of those stories and read man’s destinies in planetary movements and the apparent location of the sun and moon through the “houses” of the Zodiak. The “signs” under which we were born and lived were seen as “significant” predictors to live by. Copernicus, Galileo and the Hubble have put those understandings away and have now caused men to develop new theories or  myths,;  String Theory, Big Bang Theory, and others to explain how this cosmos could have originated from an infinitely small point of no dimensions, exploded outwards at a presently proven accelerating rate to an as yet undetermined future. Nowhere, is any God “seen”.

Possibly, although inexplicably, if there is a God, perhaps He doesn’t require a “place” to be. The creator of the four dimensions from no thing, does not need to be confined within those four.

So where, then, is God? No where, and God is no thing. God is the Creator of time and space itself. This God must, therefore, be connected to this “original” point of no dimensions which is simply “everywhere” and “now” as distinguished from “coming” or “going”. With respect to each of us, this God must be “within”.
Two thousand years ago, a certain man was born. To all appearances and according to human ways of  measurement, this man was like all other men in every respect. As he grew, however, he began to give signs of being special in one respect. He didn’t ever seem to be subject to the common human traits of pride, envy, wrath, sloth, greed, gluttony nor lust. In other words, he was a very good person. But as he grew to manhood, he began to teach others about God in a way which became “offensive”, and people began to talk about him as if he were some kind of nut. His initial teaching about God was really strange to the listeners. He began to say things like, “Change the way you think about reality”, and that “the Kingdom of God is within you” and telling people to “Believe this ‘good news’”.  Very few people believed that Jesus was a true prophet from God and ultimately while he collected a small group of followers who struggled to accept what Jesus taught, at critical junctures they would abandon him to the authorities, who ultimately killed Jesus and hung him up on a cross to die.

We know that this was not the end of Jesus’ teaching, for his followers had experiences of a Risen Jesus and a commission to go out to all the world and preach this ‘Good News’”.

Believing in this good news is not the result of conclusions based upon reason. It is definitely not the consequence of scientific observation. It stems from belief in the trustworthiness of the one proclaiming it, i.e., Jesus, a very “good” man, who nevertheless deflects being called a ‘good man’ by saying, “Only One is good, the Father, the source of all that is good".

And where might we find this Jesus today? 

                                                                            Charlie Mc

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Where is the Kingdom


The very first words ascribed to Jesus in the earliest of the four gospels [Mark, 65-75AD] are the following:
          “… ηλθεν ο Іησους εις  την  Γαλιλαιαν  κηρυσσων  το
          ευαγγελιον   του  Θεου  [και  λεγων], οτι  πεπληρωται  ο  καιρος 
          και  ηγγικεν η  βασιλεια του Θεου.  Mετανοιετε και  πιστευετε εν

          τω  ευαγγελιω”,
which translates as:
        Jesus came into Galilee proclaiming the good news of God
       [and saying] ‘The right time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God
       is here (“eggeneto”) ,  [so]  change the way you think about
       reality (“metanoiete”) and believe this good news.” 
                                                                                                   (Mk. 1: 14b, 15)

This keynote address of Jesus as presented in Mark is the flash of lightning that precedes the thunder clap. It summarizes and emphasizes exactly what the content of the “good news” of Jesus is. When one hears the term “Good News”, if one is a Christian, one assumes that it means the good message that God has come to save mankind from their sinful imprisonment without relief. The good news is the news about Jesus, his coming, his deeds and words which give us all hope for eternal life. Subsequent to his death and resurrection, the formation of his Church is accomplished to proclaim this good news throughout history to all mankind universally, thus it is to be called the “Catholic Church” [kata olos].

But in the text above, Jesus is presenting the ‘good news’, not about himself, but about the interiority of the Kingdom of God. Jesus spoke in Aramaic, it is believed, and the original gospels were written in Greek. Thus, the translating of Jesus’ words from one language to another required a decision made by the author as to whether or not a word-for-word translation is called for, or a translation which conveys the meaning of the words in the original, or even whether the decision is to transmit the poetic of the verse.  Our standard New Testament translations have come down to us through the Latin of the first two millennia of its history. The translation from Greek original to Latin was not done without difficulty.

The prevalent beliefs today are based upon the translations into Latin of two Greek words whose meaning has been misunderstood for thousands of years and possibly led to the development of doctrine which lay at the foundations of Christian Dogmatic theology and morality which should be reconsidered in light of this error. The keynote address in Mark reveals two translational difficulties which may perhaps have altered the interpretation of these “first” words of Jesus in a very important way. The first of these is with the Greek ηγγικεν , (heggiken)  and the second is with the word μετανοειτε, (metanoiete).

The first comes from the Greek ‘εγγυς’  meaning “nigh, at hand, near (spatially) with a secondary, temporal meaning of “near(in time)”.  J.P.Meier in his classic “The Marginal Jew” (p. 423-434) discusses at length the meaning of this word as it applies to the Kingdom of God. Meier describes this saying as a “sphinx” whose ambiguity can be taken two ways: (1) the kingdom of God is coming (future eschatology) or (2) the kingdom of God is already here (realized eschatology).
           “…the literal translation of the verse must read “the kingdom of God has
          drawn near in the sense that the act of drawing near is now over and done
          with and the kingdom is now in a state of having drawn near. But does this
          unwieldy paraphrase mean that the kingdom is now here or simply that it
          has drawn so close and become so imminent that it is “at the door” – or, to
          use another image, that it is like a train just about to pull into the station,
          i.e., “the train is here” (a favorite, if curious, metaphor among modern
          commentators). Obviously, it is very difficult to draw a fine line here
          because of the very nature of this spatial and temporal metaphor… It is
          not surprising, therefore, that proponents of both realized and future
          eschatology can find these texts to support their interpretation of

The question one might ask here is “How close is ηγγίκεν ?
In the Gospel of Luke, which already had as one source Mark, we see a reitteration of the curiosity concerning the kingdom of God.
         “ and being questioned by the Pharisees about when the
          kingdom of God is coming, (Jesus) answered them and said,
          ‘The kingdom of God comes not with observation, nor will
          anyone say ‘Look, here it is, or there.’   For the kingdom of
          God is within you [εντος υμων εστιν]”. (Lk. 17:20-21)

JP Meier (p.424) regards this text of Luke as another fraught with difficulty. He refers to the critic John Dominic Crossan as accepting this text as indicating that the author presents Jesus as proclaiming that the kingdom of God is already present (Realized Eschatology). Meier believes the text is more unclear than this.
         “Still, the most common meaning of “entos” is “within”, and
           in the past—from the patristic period through the Middle
           Ages into the early modern period—most interpreters
           preferred this “interiorization” and “spiritualization” of 
          Jesus’ saying:  “Do not look for a visible, spectacular, cosmic
          coming of the kingdom, for the kingdom is already present in
          your hearts.”

Meier does not accept this belief and goes on to say:
        “…no matter what stage of the NT tradition is being
          considered, the idea of the kingdom of God as a purely
          interior, invisible,  present spiritual state of individual
          hearts is a foreign intrusion. It is at home in 2nd-Century
          Christian Gnosticis (so the Gospel of Thomas, sayings 3, 51 
           and 113;  19th Century German liberal Protestantism, and
           some 20-th century American quests for the historical
           Jesus), but not in the canonical Gospels in general or Luke
           in particular".. (P.426-427)…
           ...and perhaps me.
Another early source which seems to share this notion of interiority is to be found in some of Paul’s earliest letters.
          “…for it was given to me for you to fulfill the Word of God,
           the mystery hidden from the ages and the generations but
           now was manifested to his holy ones, to whom God wished to
           make known what is the riches of the glory of the secret Who
           is Christ  in you, [“εν υμιν”] the hope of glory” 
                                                                          (Colossians 1:25-27)

The comment of the JBC (55:20) by Joseph A. Grassi, M.M., is that:
          “his inner presence in the community of believers all
           over the world is already a guarantee of a future
           community in glory.”

Paul puts strongest emphasis on this belief on the interiority of the kingdom of God, i.e. Christ, when he writes:
          “Test yourselves if you wish to be in the faith, prove it, or do
             you not perceive that Christ Jesus [“εν υμιν”] is in    
             you.”                                                                                  (2Cor. 13:5)

There can be little doubt that “in” means “within” in these last examples. Thus it seems that there was the firm belief at the time of earliest teachings, that Gnosticism, Protestantism and the modern quests for the historical Jesus aside, there seems to be a belief in the interiority of the “kingdom” as an early test of Christian faith, but that the passage of time seems to have raised doubts dogmatically that this teaching should be taken literally. Perhaps this is why Jesus so often referred to the faith of little children favorably as compared to the its lacking in the unbelieving scholars.(cf. 1Cor. 1:18-2:26; Mk.10:13-16)
The second word which has perhaps undergone a similar mistranslation is the Greek word  “μετανοίετε” [“metanoiete”] . In the Latin Vulgate, the Greek was translated into the Latin “poenimine!”, which means “Repent!” To repent means “to be sorry for ones’ sins;”

The question arises, if this constitutes Jesus’ first words to his would-be followers then it presumes them to be sinners before they can come to Jesus and be his followers.  From this meaning arose centuries of dogmatic theology involving Original Sin, its cause and its consequences, and thousands of years of ascetical theology which was focused on Justification, Atonement and penitential behaviour. The Pelagian controversy, the traditions of the desert, the semi-Pelagian disputes, Sinfulness, Baianism, Jansenism and Justification by Works versus Faith etc… Martin Luther, Calvinism, Irish Catholicism, Abbe de Rance and the Trappist life and Catholic/Protestant wars in Europe and Ireland/England all were in a large way the result of the mistranslation of “metanoiete”.

In the Rule of Saint Benedict, monks are asked to make vows of Stability, Obedience and Conversatio Mores. The first two vows are easily understood. First, to live in one place, a monastery, so as to avoid escaping into other environments as soon as the first starts to become tedious or even painful- as was the cross to Jesus. Second, to hand over your most precious possession, your self-will, in obedience to the Abbot and the Community visibly, and to God ultimately as did Jesus as he prayed, “not my will, but Thy Will be done.” The third vow, not well understood over the past 1400 years even by monastic theologians, might well have the same meaning as did the original understanding of “metanoiete”. It meant to “Change the way you think”, from a rational “reality is out there, to the message of the good news of Jesus, “The Kingdom is in here,i.e., within you.

Certainly it cannot be seen, heard, imagined, or understood; but it must be believed. This is what Jesus asks of us, to believe Him. The question we must answer is “Can I trust Him?” If yes, you are a believer. If not, you can still ask to be.
                                                                               Charlie Mc