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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Look at the Beyond

Let me see You Lord
Give me eyes that can look beyond
Remove these worldly blinders
That can obstruct me from Your love.

Remove my vision away if necessary
If that is the way to see You more
Give me an open humbled heart instead
That can make me receive You.

Let me see You not with eyes
Let me know Your ways not with mind
And I will be the happiest creature
Who has truly seen with spirit.

You have put me into this world
Ever been showing how great is Your love for me
Only that is enough, for me it is everything
Come look beyond and you will see.

Discernment Retreat 2000, Cannosa Retreat House Tagaytay City

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Only Thing

Being is love; hence we know nothing if we do not love. And that is why charity is the organ of perfect knowledge... Only charity, by placing itself at the heart of all, lives above appearances, communicates itself even to the interior of substances, and completely resolves the problem of knowlege and being.
Maurice Blondel

I have been into philosophy since college. Not enough though, I continued until my graduate studies. I went through all the cerebro-splitting rigors and twists of it. After several years, I realize now that thinking is not ultimate in philosophy. There is something yet more profound, deep and fundamental that fires up all acts of thinking. If you just scratch a little deeper, what you will find is love, the "thing" that many of us often laugh at and scorn, for various personal reasons.

It is love that grounds all thinking and knowledge. It is love that dictates what kind of knowledge to take, how to pursue it and how to live with it. Love indeed is the organ of perfect knowledge.

If you have love then you have everything:

the courage to keep on pursuing something even without full guarantee of success,
the patience to go through time and dance with the now boring, now dragging, or now exciting pace of time's boundless horizon,
the capacity to forgive oneself and others whenever there is the genuine desire to do only the good and the best and still end up a failure or end up doing harm to people,
the joy to recognize the humor of day-to-day living,
the gratitude of someone who places himself/herself at the heart of anything that can possibly come,
the hope that can penetrate all darkness within and without,
the vision that can see through thickets of appearances or deceptions,
and above all the humility to accept always one's ignorance in the face of the Divine.

We are all at the mercy of love.
In the coming days may we celebrate love, the most wonderful gift and treasure we have.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

To Love

by Tariq Ramadan

Why, deep down, do we love? What is the source of love, its meaning, its object? Why do we experience the birth of love one day, and its death another? Why, deep inside us, does our love for our parents and our children endure? How do we love? Why, deep down, do we love?

Life teaches us to learn, to suffer injury, to get to our feet again, to mature. Life is revelation; and when our hearts and our intelligence turn toward His revelation, we can grasp something of the meaning, the mystery, and the meaning of this mystery. There are many ways to love: The Most Caring One offers us love through the very essence of our nature, and invites us to continue our search for the love of our fellow creatures, for Creation, for His love.

There are several ways to love: we can love ourselves out of egocentrism or egotism; out of self-obsession to the point of self-importance and arrogance. How natural a love...and how dangerous. To see the world through ourselves alone: to love ourselves as if we alone existed, and, at the core of this mysterious paradox, to love ourselves to the point of oblivion.

To love our mothers, our fathers, our husbands, our wives, our daughters, our sons and, our senses dulled by habit, learn nothing from our love for them except when accident or absence strike. To become indifferent in the face of familiar presences. Isn’t it a curious paradox? To be blinded by too much seeing. To lose meaning because we are overwhelmed, drowned, carried away by the endless repetition of daily life.

To observe our friends, our fellow human beings, our world, and to ask of our heart: why you? Why should you be loved? For your appearance? For your qualities? For your tastes? To love as we feel, because we so “genuinely” feel. The fire at first, the ashes when all is done... destroyed by betrayal, by flaws, by wounds inflicted. Love that blinds; separation in the glare of hindsight. Another paradox: the glowing coals that are the warmth of our loves, and the infinite burn of our suffering.

To learn to love. Such is the message of all spiritual disciplines. We may love to love ourselves, our neighbours, the universe; we may love to move beyond the self, our own and that of our neighbours; our own and that of the universe. In nearness to the Divine we learn that we must seek, initiate ourselves, tear asunder, give new form, break off and renew. To seek out the meaning of our loves; to initiate ourselves into the secrets of hope and not stop when proof of our qualities lies before us; to break down ego and appearance; to give form to the gazing eyes and all they ask for; to make new the light in the heart and in the eyes and, as when we fast, to learn to break the fast the better to begin again. To be two, with ourselves, with God, with you... a gift, a time of testing, a period of hardship, of hoping.

Near to you or without you. Why do we love? Why do we break apart? Why, indeed? On our journey, we must learn that His love like ours, that our encounters like our separations, are acts of initiation: we can love a parent, a being, his beauty, his qualities; we can love what is and, in the end, know only hurt and suffering. Over and above what exists, we can learn to love the horizon that unites us. To move beyond ourselves for His sake, to seek together the pathway that leads to His light... to love the meaning, the road travelled as much as we love the destination, and our fate. It is constant effort, this jihad of love. To lift up our eyes before us and learn to love, and with that love, find freedom. To move beyond ourselves, to free ourselves from the loves that bind and imprison us: those “ended” loves, sometimes idolatrous, sometimes misleading, and so near to our animal nature. An infinite task, one never to be completed; a task filled with sorrow, with hurt and tears. Here, on this earth, lies one truth: he who truly loves must learn to weep. Life. Love, and life.

Why, deep down, do we love? Some like to bind themselves in chains, others to set themselves free. A mystery. The Unique One calls out to us, summons us, tells us: “Go on! Love! Move forward, seek out, and pursue your quest. The love that will come to you is not at all what you are seeking. It is an illusion, a prison. The love you seek, the love that you must learn, opens wide to you the door of freedom: alone, by twos, by thousands, it teaches you to say: “It is Him I love” and, in the depths of your heart, feel yourself loved. And then, at that moment, we must lift up our eyes before us, nurture the freedom we have found, and bestow all the love we possess upon those close to us, to the universe, to humanity. As we move on beyond this life, or as we remain. Love and true Life.

To love, and learn to leave...

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