The 12 disciples represent 12 different characteristics and they also represent 12 ways to understand or approach spiritual truth. This could mean that one person approaches spiritual truth in the Andrew way, while another approaches it in the Phillip way. It is said that there are 12 paths up the mountain.
Andrew: In the Gospel of St John references to Andrew reveal that he works in the background; he is a companion. Andrew represents strength of mind and humility; therefore, these two faculties must always be our companions working away in the background. Andrew is from Bethsaida, a fishing town. Fish represent our thoughts, our ideas, our concepts, and so Andrew comes from a place where ideas and concepts are caught.
Simon Peter: Simon means hearing and Peter means faith. Simon Peter captures the essence of our ability to hear and see beyond the physical sounds and images that meet our senses. The Simon nature becomes active when we deeply contemplate something and a new understanding seems to speak from within us like an inner voice. This is the true nature of inspiration; we hear the new idea with our inner ear. The Peter nature means that our faith becomes knowing, rather than blind faith. We are able to confirm our inspirations again and again in our contemplations. Here we can see mathesis at work.
Phillip: The name Philip means lover of horses just as the word philosopher means lover of wisdom. Philip speaks to us about inner power, courage, and an ability to weigh things up. Philip is the challenge within us to use our mind purely intellectually or to allow in a spiritual element that doesn’t rely so much on physical proof, but can certainly be tested over and over again in our thinking.
John: The name John means ‘the grace of the Lord’ and he represents love and grace. This love is agape, one of four main Greek words for love. Agape is the highest love, it loves everyone equally; it does not favor family over friends and acquaintances, nor does it favor one’s own culture over another.
In its highest expression, love is objective. It does not see through the eyes of judgement, but understands human behavior as a developmental process we all go through. This love is not biased and it does not take offence. It is a kind and understanding witness, always recognizing the pure human seed within each human being. Then, seamlessly this love fertilizes the seed in the other person opening it to its inner potential. From this comes the expression of grace.
Grace is that capacity in our soul for doing what is right, what is good, out of our inner self, not through externally imposed rules and regulations. Grace says, “How can I be so that you can be free.” Charis is the Greek word for grace – which reveals the word charismatic. This is when love shines from us in an inspiring way. Other people want to become like us and they do this of their own accord, not because we give them advice about how they should be.
More to be posted tomorrow.
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Last Supper by Salvador Dali