Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Quiet contemplation - the holy fool?

Had a conversation with my brother yesterday. He quoted me this, that Thomas Aquinas – the great Middle Age philosopher turned theologian - once, as a child, was teased by his friends. They told him – “look! A flying cow!” and he promptly went up to look, although he was Thomas Aquinas and clearly no fool. But then, he said “I’d rather believe in flying cows than that my friends would lie to me.” I replied to my brother “Is that not a holy fool?” – as in the case of that Russian novel the Brothers Kamarazov. Apparently Aloysha was a realist, he replied. Have to find out what that is.

My brother is the clearest example to what it means to be “wise as serpents, yet harmless as doves.” In school, he does projects for everyone and invites them to put their own name. “At least I can do whatever I want and nobody is able to disrupt my ideas”. True. He does however, add that when there is a group member who does want to contribute they usually get quite upset that he insists on doing things his own way. Mind you, my brother is not ‘blur’, hardly in fact, for he is a great thinker and mathematician.

Maybe he is blur about the realities of the world, for watching your back and being careful against people who take advantage of you. “Zhan Pian Yi” as it is said in Mandarin. But it seems not, for he knows when something is not meant to be his job, when people just pass it on to him to do not out of mistake, but convenience. But he just keeps saying – “Nevermind, I just do it. Its okay.” A fool? Or love thy neighbour? Clearly he understands what meekness is and Christ truly lives in him. And I stand guilty because I bear witness to one such person and he withstood my attempts to tempt him. I said “but what if at some point you have to make a choice? Either you do your work or you pick up the slack for others?” But he refused to be shaken. And then I asked him “But what if your being taken advantage of will affect others who are dependent on you?” No wonder when Christ came He said that we must abandon everything in this world. Everything. How can we bear to abandon everything? Even those who depend on us? Who take care of us? How???

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
- Matthew 10:34-39

And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
- Matthew 12:49-50

As for us who stand truly convicted, may God help us.

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