2nd Week of Lent
“So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill. When he heard that Jesus had come down from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged him to come down and heal his son, for he was on the point of death. Jesus therefore said to him, ‘Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your son will live.’ As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was living. So he asked them when he began to mend, and they said to him ‘Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.’ The father knew that was the hour when Jesus said to him, ‘Your son will live’, and he himself believed, and all his household. This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee.” John 4:46-54
The meditation for the beginning of the second week urges us to consider the need to cleanse and heal our thinking and it’s by-products; opinions, speech and interaction with others. The nobleman is the originator of his son; the origin of thoughts, opinions and actions.
Rev Mario also draws our attention to what James says about speech: “If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is in vain…With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so.” James 1:26; 2:9-11
Many of us grew up with parents saying: “if a thing is worth doing it is worth doing well”, and “patience is a virtue”. They didn’t understand what is called the ‘now generation’ which led them to ask what the world would come to. Today, it is taken for granted that immediate responses and actions are valued. This underlying attitude pressures us daily – drawing us too quickly towards a hastily prepared future.
Think back to the last time you felt pressured to speak or act before you felt ready. Recall what it was like to think a thing too quickly, make a decision while not fully informed, or speak a response you were not sure was right. You probably don’t have to think back very far. Why did it happen? It takes an immense amount of will to resist today’s requirement for immediacy. So much so, that if we are tired, in a hurry, or have too many considerations in front of us, we just speak the thought without giving it a ‘second thought’, or take the action without ‘sleeping on it’.
Now remember a time when you thought, spoke or acted immediately, but later on, when you had thought it through, had a different response and realized you could have said or done something differently. What made that difference?
Finally, how often do we forget to listen to someone because we are busy formulating our response? Even though we know as a general principle that this is self-centered? What was the driving force? We may also recall a time when another person spoke too soon, but because we had a greater understanding of the subject, we could sometimes be patient and allowed them the time to develop their thought and arrive at an understanding with us. This is much more satisfying. It can move the conversation to a higher level, for a hasty response is often from an earthly self-centered level rather than a spiritually unifying level.
It takes time to observe these things in others and in ourselves. But it strengthens us so that it is possible for us to think before we speak, and to listen before we think. The time spent considering this deepens the wisdom of our response and draws us closer to our Real Self. It connects us to others on a more spiritual level.
The purpose of thinking is so that we can look at all sides of a matter, suspending judgment for as long as possible, before we speak or write. Does this mean we will always be slow? Not necessarily. We may at times be able to respond more freely, because we have already considered many related underlying matters and can see a bigger picture. However, the purpose of our ability to think is not to help us immediately complete each thought.
Christ did not come with the message, ‘Here I am. Quickly write down everything you can say about me so that humanity can believe in it until the last days of the Earth!’ No, Christ said, ‘I will be with you to the last days of the Earth.’ And this implies that it is always possible to receive another revelation, another aspect of the picture. The last verse of St John’s Gospel says: ‘But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.’ John 21:25
Our thinking must stay in the searching and gathering stage for as long as possible. This is the cleansing process that Rev Mario spoke of. Only then can we take full responsibility for our thoughts, speech and action. Only then can we consciously build the future.
Christ in Silence by Odilon Redon