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Understanding Stability

When Yeshua moved about Galilee he was a consistently steady, still point manifesting in many places. People who stay at home but fantasize about trips and being elsewhere do not have anything like this stability. St. Benedict says the monk “must prefer nothing to Christ.” Quite soon in my monastic life I heard the ironical version of this, “prefer nothing to a trip,” from monks who had come to understand stability primarily in geographical terms.

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Reality at the Cutting Edge

We slice up experience into beginnings, middles and ends and draw lessons from the slices. We stock our mental shelves with these stories, often adding to or refreshing them according to what we sense our listeners would like. The Irish make a living from this. Reality at the cutting edge, however, is characterized by frayed ends and incomplete conclusions. Chaos is another word for it, one that we don’t like to use about our lives. But we walk a very thin line between cosmos (order) and chaos, and most of the order we put into things has a tendency to unravel very quickly.

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The Importance of Friends

Friends are people who are there for us when we need them. Often we don’t know who among our acquaintances are true friends until circumstances reveal it. This being-there-for of friendship applies not only in times when external events overwhelm us and we feel helpless and alone. Friends also, on occasion, save us from ourselves. Our inner high and low pressures threaten us with a personal implosion. A friend knows us well enough to recognize this and does not walk away. Friendship, like the relationship that Jesus describes himself having with his “Father,” is like the digital cloud.

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Time to Move Forward

“Stand up, take your mat and walk.” The man healed in the Gospel story (John 5:1-16) complains that no one has helped him to get into the magic pool while the angel was stirring the waters. He has been waiting there for thirty-eight barren years: as long, according to Deuteronomy, as the Israelites had wandered in the desert. What’s the symbolism of that? Are there problems, blocks, hang-ups in yourself, in your character, in your life, that have been with you for as long as you remember?

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Miracles Are More than Magic

Anyone concerned for a loved one in danger, is desperate for a miracle. Even when we have faced the truth and given up false hope, there remains a pocket of desperation where the dream of a miracle never dies. Our need for magic, for manipulating causes and effects from the outside, can even survive despair. Political crisis, economic downturns, fiction and boy wizards all evidence our appetite for the fast food of magical signs and wonders. When things are desperate, that is when we most want magical powers.

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Truth Is Lived, Not Spoken

The truth is not just what you say. You can wait for your lawyer to give you the oily words that will get you off the hook. But truth is lived, not spoken. It is what you live and how you live. Truth cannot be hidden. When the dust of the explosion that tries to destroy it settles, whatever you tried to conceal is more visible than ever. If you have something to hide and if you are afraid of the truth, then this is the terrible, inescapable truth of truth. It will come to light, just as reality will emerge from the ashes of the illusion that tried to evade the truth.

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