Sunday, September 13, 2009

God's excellence

Lady Wisdom (Library of Congress)

I love today's readings. All of them. But especially the optional reading from The Wisdom of Solomon and the gospel reading (from Mark) about losing your life in order to save it.

Just in case you are not familiar with the passage from Wisdom, here it is:

For Wisdom is a reflection of eternal light,
a spotless mirror of the working of God,
and an image of his goodness.
Although she is but one, she can do all things,
and while remaining in
herself, she renews all things;
in every generation she passes into holy souls
and makes them friends of God, and prophets;
for God loves nothing so much as the person who lives with wisdom.
She is more beautiful than the sun,
and excels every constellation of the stars.
Compared with the light she is found to be superior,
for it is succeeded by the night,
but against wisdom evil does not prevail.
She reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other,
and she orders all things well.
The sentence from Mark's gospel to which I refer, of course, is this one:
For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.
I've long believed that this saying of Jesus is the quintessential Christian koan. A koan is a paradox, a conundrm, used by Zen masters to help their meditation students learn to let go. "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" is a famous koan that most people know. Using the koan as a support for meditation is meant to exhaust, if you will, the rational intellect so that it gives up and with it, the person's ego. At that point the person reliquishes his or her obsession with attachment or control and becomes truly accepting. Seems to me that is what Jesus was on about with his teaching on losing one's life.

1 comment:

  1. Your post is lovely - with the extra bonus discovery for me of the word KOAN and its use in learning to let go. Thank you.


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