pope Francis

What is the essence of sincerity?

Thoughts with regard to the eighth commandment

 

1. Who is my neighbor and what is false testimony? How much easier the eighth commandment ("Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour!") would be if the words "your neighbor" were not there or there were "your friend" there instead. Jesus’ illustration about the Good Samaritan (Lucas 10:25) teaches us that the network of love around us and the acts of mercy recognizing the need determine the idea of "neighbor". God has no respect of persons being not partial (Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11). We should not be either. False speech is harmful by far not only on court. Our nowadays "post-reality" society has made it an awfully common practice that if something is told with a media-magnified voice becomes true – whether or not reality is diametrically the opposite of it. Faithful word is not only right but pure, too. Silence can also be false witness. The real point of the eighth commandment is not prohibition either but persuasion. I should spread the truth and stand for it: I should not be silent when truth is violated. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. How can we be sincere? A lot of people identify sincerity with truthfulness. The profound content of sincerity is to be honest with God. When somebody speaks sincerely, he speaks about the essence instead of unimportant things. Sincerity does not necessarily mean to be talkative. (In fact real sincerity speaks little because it focuses on the essence.) A Carthusian monk who has taken a vow of silence can also strongly show the essence of his existence through his life, metacommunications and writings. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

3. What is real sincerity? The essence of sincerity is our relations to the harmony of the created world of God. If we accept the harmony of the created order of God, we get into the love stream coming from the Holy Trinity. Whether we hear the call of Jesus to love is the only really important decision of our lives. It belongs to real sincerity that we forward the love to others that we have received. It is the essence of our existence to participate in the love chain. (If you would like to know more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

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In how many ways it is prohibited to kill? And when is it a must?

Thoughts regarding the fifth commandment

 

1. In how many ways it is prohibited to kill? A lot of people consider that it is quite clearly understood what the fifth commandment prohibits. You shall not murder! There is not a shorter and clearer commandment existing at all. Though we can start thinking thoroughly what the object of the sentence is. WHAT shall we not murder? Only and exclusively people or animals either? Plants either? And what about those who do not kill anything by their hands specifically but they just consume too much and by this they kill the entire Earth??? Jesus teaches us that the one who is angry with his fellow commits murder, too (Matthew 5:21-22; 1John 3:15). It is possible to kill with words (James 3; Matthew 15:18-19). Rejection of love is such a murder which kills the soul slowly on the long run. Judging other people, excommunication, ignoring, pitying and mocking look all can kill. It is not less evil to kill little by little silently than to commit a bloody deed. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

2. Whom do we kill when we are unable to forgive? Rancor and hurt are also murders because they break the love chain that connects the whole creation into the intimate love of the Holy Trinity. We kill the Lamb, the Lamb of God, Jesus Himself when we are unable to accept and forward the love avalanche that is outpoured from Jesus onto us. But with this we kill ourselves, too, because we expel ourselves from Eternal Life. In the presence of Jesus there is no room for lack of forgiveness. Inability to forgive builds such a lump in us that prevents Jesus to heal us deep down in our souls. (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

3. What do we have to kill? Many people conclude the lesson from the previous section that a good Christian is gentle, placid and unable to hurt even a fly. This is a big mistake. It does exist towards what the Christian man has to be merciless and has to be a murderer. This is his own self without Jesus. "For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live." (Romans 8:13) The soul of Jesus does not tolerate co-tenancy in our hearts. Jesus waking in us expels the remaining part of our former souls that resists Him with the whip. Let’s allow it to happen! Moreover, we should not only let it happen but we should wait for it and help it to happen. That is how the Kingdom of God becomes created in us (Lucas 17:21). (For further details, please read my essay here.)

 

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What makes the church attractive today?

Pentecost thoughts about the power of the Gospel

 

1. What makes the church UNattractive today? Pentecost is the birthday of the church. However nowadays many people already start to bury the church here, in Europe. There are centuries old churches which became practically empty, priests make series of funerals instead of baptisms, there are many directionless congregations... I have collected some recently published reports in my essay. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my Pentecost essay here.)

 

2. What do we, people think can make the church attractive today? A lot of solutions have been created to address the current problems of the European church. I quote some of them in my essay. All these are remarkably respectable points and suggestions. However the Essence of the European Church’s renewal is missing from them. What is this Essence? The third, closing part of my essay will write about this. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my Pentecost essay here.)

 

3. What does make the church REALLY attractive today? What would like to see the young people in the church to attract them? They would like to see credibility. "Deep relationships are needed between the authentic adult servants and the youth." "Young people would like to have a relationship, an example and such a faith that means not only a Sunday morning program but can serve as a help in their challenging everyday life." (David Kinnaman) Credibility is not arisen from us. Credibility is an undistorted transmission of the Holy Spirit’s power through us. The church of Europe needs depth instead of wideness. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my Pentecost essay here.)

 

 

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The forms of the Presence of mind

Thoughts about holiness of life

 

 

 

1. When would we need the presence of mind in our everyday lives? The presence of mind is usually interpreted as the capacity of solving difficult situations. In this essay I interpret the presence of mind as the presence of the Holy Spirit. How many of those situations can we recall also from our own lives when one of our good deeds have not been realized because we recognized too late what we should have done? In the first part of my essay I describe a few examples of this. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my essay here.)

 

2. Forms of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Appearance of the Holy Spirit may happen in a million ways – exemplifying the infinity of God’s creativity. The Holy Spirit may pour out, may sweep everything away, may wash everything clear and may re-create everything. However, the silent everyday work of the Holy Spirit is much more frequent than the pouring out storm of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is as much disciplined as It cannot be controlled. The Holy Spirit lives in a permanent and intensive love relationship with Christ and the Father. It invites us into this love relationship, too. This love relationship has a quite important role in that what way the Holy Spirit is creating and sustaining the power of the believers’ community and the church. We can experience the help, comfort and power of the Holy Spirit in the most amazing and unexpected moments of our lives. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my essay here.)

 

3. The continuous presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives: the holiness of life. The continuous, strong and realized presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives brings the holiness of life. In this status, our deep and sustained love relationship with the Holy Trinity becomes so strong that our lives settle into their right directions so that this love relationship may remain intact. Pope Francis writes about this in his "Rejoice and Be Glad" exhortation: "Trust-filled prayer is a response of a heart open to encountering God face to face, where all is peaceful and the quiet voice of the Lord can be heard in the midst of silence. In that silence, we can discern, in the light of the Spirit, the paths of holiness to which the Lord is calling us." (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my essay here.)

 

 

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Cross and glory

Good Friday/Easter thoughts about the totality of salvation

 

1. Good Friday: The Path of the Cross – understandings and misunderstandings. Christ’s Cross stands in the center of Christian faith, in the middle of our hearts. Still: we are unable to understand the scandal of the Cross. Human thought is very much limited and simplifying. We think: If something is that majestic like Jesus, it cannot be humiliated. When we feel that "something is wrong" with the serial scandals of Jesus we actually feel that there is something wrong with ourselves because we are still not able to stand in front of Jesus and look at the beautiful Totality of His Face, Cross and judgment. With everything. With anything. With Him. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my Good Friday essay published here.)

 

2. Holy Saturday: The beauty of the Silence of mourning. It is silence on Holy Saturday. Is this silence frightful? Is it the silence of the absence of Jesus? No, it is not! It is the silence of hope, expectation and our internal communion with Jesus. The Silence of the Holy Saturday is the Silence of God’s Totality and Purity reflected in Jesus. Good Friday is the occasion to face ourselves, while Holy Saturday is the time for immerse in ourselves. Let’s feel as we approach the core of our existence: the power of the resurrection’s Gospel that rewrites everything. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my Good Friday essay published here.)

 

3. Easter: The Glory of resurrection. According to the Greek Orthodox thinking Christ suffers for us on the Cross in every moment. Let us experience this as the inconceivable pain of the Father above the Cross, the suffering of Christ on the Cross and the heartbreaking pain of Holy Mary under the Cross are becoming unified. Let us experience the dignity of that the Father does not stamp the Creation but opens the direct Path to Himself as the tapestry of the Sanctuary of the Jerusalem Church is ripped apart (Matthew 27:51a). The covenant is made once and for all: the Father has become the Father of us all to whom we all can turn to – by Jesus and for Jesus – in a first name basis. Let us experience the beauty of resurrection! Let our hearts also resurrect from their dead and let them revive, live a new life that is Eternal! Let us ask for it together with the psalmist: "One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. That I may see the delight of the Lord, and may visit his temple." (Psalms 26:4). Our prayer in the Psalms has been fulfilled: the fact of resurrection is unchangeable, irrevocable and eternal. Hallelujah! Amen. (If you would like to read about this more, please, read my Good Friday essay published here.)

 

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Can the Devil be domesticated?

How can we overcome our faults?

 

   

 

1. Our attempts to domesticate the Devil. We like the little, comfortable compromises in our lives: I have had a little virtue then I will have now a little (oops, sorry, sometimes I go too far, and then: a big...) sin. That is not working. The Devil cannot be domesticated! Mercy can only be complete if I have opposed the sin, if I have realized its depth, if I have named the Devil, if I have refused it, and if I want to live a different life after all these. From this point of view there is no a tiny little sin and a bigger one. What is important is the approach to sin (Devil) and God. I stand either on one side or the other. It is impossible to dance around between the two. (For further details, please, read my essay here.)

 

   

 

2. The fight against sin. If we have realized that it is impossible to make a compromise with the Devil then for the everyday thinking only one thing remains: the fight against the Devil – till death. But our own fight against the Devil is a hopeless and useless one. A sin-centric life is a dead end. There is no self-mercy. It is not our own fight that defeats the sin in us. Our own efforts are too small for this, are zero, nothing. It is only Christ born within us who is able to overcome the sin in us. There is no other way. Thus the fear of God is not a servile fear of God’s punishment, which presumes our separation from God, but an admiration of God’s true greatness revealed for us and a determined protection of the love-communion connecting us with God. All this does not mean that I would think: we do not need any kind of fight against our sins and faults because "God will take care of them". No! Mercy is not for free. Just to get close to God makes us feel Christ’s and the Father’s immense pain when they see our sins, makes us hate these sins and helps avoid them. (For further details, please, read my essay here.)

 

   

 

3. How can we overcome our faults? Neither with "making good on them". Nor only with fighting against them. We can overcome our faults only with accepting Jesus and with protecting the love-communion we have with the Father by all means, relying on Their power. Thus the source of repelling sin is the attraction to Jesus and the Father. That is how we ourselves become able to be peace- and love-sources in our environments. (For further details, please, read my essay here.)

 

 

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The fate of our Earth crumbles in our wasteful hands

New Year’s thoughts about the most important challenge of the coming decades

1. We have only a few years left to avoid destruction. Scientists are scaring the Earth’s inhabitants with ecosystem nightmares for decades now. Other scientists have disagreed with them. In 2018 something has fundamentally changed. Science has found more and more pieces of unambiguous evidence that humanity rushes off the cliff. As one of the examples the latest IPPC report stated that we have only a few years left to limit global warming not to cause huge weather extremities, conflagrations, mass extinction of pollinating animals and the destruction of a large part of plants’ natural habitats by the end of this century. (For further details, please read my New Year's essay here.)

 

 

2. The man of our times is a Bad Shepherd of Creation. Our Father made man the master and not the servant of Creation. We have been given everything to become responsible, Good Shepherds of Creation. The man of our times has become a Bad Shepherd of Creation. It is time to realize what we are doing. It is time to suspect what happens next. (For further details, please read my New Year's essay here.)

 

 
 

3. What can be the way out? I have written about a lot of honorable efforts in one of my previous essays which try to reduce our sins committed so far against the Earth. However, there are highly non-honorable efforts like those which want to spread rubbish to the stratosphere hoping that it will reflect sunshine and decrease global warming though the growth diminishing effect of such sunlight-screen interventions has been proved earlier. These are not solutions. The expansion eating up the Earth’s goods can not to be domesticated but has to be stopped. THERE IS ANOTHER WAY! It is the path of inner development, which is unlimited. To start your inner growth you have to accept the touch of Totality. How to make that? "Convert!" Christ’s mission starts with this call. But most of the people did want to convert neither at that time nor these days. I have good news. God prepares a beautiful lesson for us. Time is on the side of the extension of intense faith. It is worth to prepare for all this now: Find the path of inner growth! Strengthen yourselves in your faith! Strengthen your faith-communities! These faith-communities will be the safe harbors of people – pretty soon. Let me ask You to think about that how You (or your children, grand-children) could be better prepared for the forthcoming harder decades. I wish the Reader a New Year bringing contemplating soul-search and change! (For further details, please read my New Year's essay here.)

 

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The touch of Totality

Advent thoughts about the knowledge of God

 

 

1. A life distancing itself from Totality will not be fulfilled. Man is an animal especially sensitized for novelties. This leads to insatiability, anxiety and a need to increase our possessions. A life without knowing Totality remains unfulfilled and restless. That is why the attempts to fulfill such a life will never end. (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. Having a life, which thinks that it "knows" Totality is a trap. The history of mankind is full of such attempts which wanted to possess Totality. Making an idol, creating dependence and attempts to "get to know" Totality were all ways to achieve possession. If we think that we got to know Totality, we squeeze Totality into the narrow conceptual framework that we have been able to create. This is a trap. With all this I do not want to say – by far – that the efforts to increase our knowledge on God would be harmful. However, we must see that the more complicated way we describe God, the more far away we get from the fulfilling, infinite simplicity of God’s permanence, totality and magnificent Silence. The "theology of glory" based solely on the compliance with the law is not only a trap because it places the law above Christ and God and its compliance creates pride and presumptuousness in us, but also because it puts ourselves above God, too, by the fact that it presumes that Totality is likely to be fully known. To strive for the knowledge of Totality is a trap. There is only one way to "know" Totality: if we dedicate ourselves to it – entirely. If we become open to the call of Totality: Totality will embrace us. IT IS what has been made available by Jesus’s incarnation and sacrifice of the Cross. IT IS what we celebrate at every feast, and at Christmas, too. IT IS what we are preparing for during Advent. (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

3. On the way to the touch of Totality. To become open for the call of Totality can be a consequence of a moment. Accepting Totality is very often a long process of an entire life that will only be fulfilled by seeing the Kingdom of God "face to face". Real life starts when man can see Christ. Real life becomes fulfilled at the moment of seeing Christ. Starting from this moment, this moment becomes a part of our life forever. I wish all my Readers that this year’s Advent would give more openness for all of You to embrace Totality. (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

 

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What is the ultimate rebirth and how can we help others' rebirth?

Thoughts about conversion

1. Our self-made paths to rebirth. Psychology has diagnosed a number of life phases that can be characterized by fast transformations. They all offer occasions of rebirth. However, we should note that there is no inexhaustible energy behind these honorable efforts. So our rebirth (either self-made or helped by others) remains hopelessly bound to Earth. (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. The touch of Totality as the start of ultimate rebirth. Thoughts about conversion. The Totality of rebirth requires the touch of God, the acceptance and experience of love of Jesus that transforms our whole lives. This is that inexhaustible energy that provides strength for everything. Conversion is the maximum satisfaction of the most comprehensive sense of mankind's loss and deprivation. Conversion is experiencing the infinity, permanency and faithful love of God. The essence of conversion is not a unique experience but a process of immersing in humility and emptying our own egos, in which man becomes the property of God. Many conversions remain only virtual. Gospels show beautiful examples what are the essential characteristics of conversion and how many different ways it may happen. The protagonist of conversion is God (and not the converted person). That is why conversion is not a matter of will. Conversion is by far not a "free ticket" to eternal life.  That is why the word "daily" in the daily conversion of Martin Luther becomes extremely important. There is no justification without conversion. At the same time conversion is not the "result", not the "end" of mercy providing justification, but the path itself going there. (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

3. How can we help others' rebirth? The reborn man is charged with new and new energy continuously by his strengthening contact with God. He must pass this energy to other people. The preacher has to see people in the same way as God does: from inside. A man spreading the Gospel helps a love-bridge be built between Jesus and the other person. So he is never allowed to build a wall between himself and the other person but he shares the inexhaustible love of Totality with others. He does not speak "from inside" to outside but with enormous humility he recognizes as the image of Christ becomes visible in the other person, and he makes the other person to notice this in himself.

 

„watching it from the viewpoint of resurrection we may understand
that placing the body into the grave, it is not a cold depth of a hole for us any more,
but the image of Christ’s opened side,
a meeting of our fragile humanity with the endless love.
Because the grave has become the gate of Paradise since Christ was lying there.”

(Peregrin Kálmán OFM)

 

(If you would like to read more about this, read my essay here on Reformation Day, October 31st, All Saint's Day, November 1st and All Souls' Day, November 2nd.)

 

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What are the best qualities of a good leader?

Thoughts about a life spent to serve others in love

1. The trap of a self-centered life. It is a great experience of development when a child realizes that he is able to live his life alone. From one will comes the next, and from the next will comes another. In the big rush to grow this willpower bigger and bigger this giant will never thinks about what is the broader aim of what it actually wants. The time will come when man gets tired. He still wants something but he is not able to fulfill all his wills any more. Midlife-crisis sets in. Our poor fellow realizes that he has become alone in the big rush. He has reached his limits: he has burnt himself out. A lot of people finish their lives here. Old age comes but it is only a prolonged agony of a man falling apart. (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

2. What are the best qualities of a good leader? The strength of service. It is possible to break out from the circles of the "self-made man" that closes himself inside himself, and after reaching our full potential we can discover the world’s "deep dimension" again. The key to the discovery of the world is: the strength of service. God wants to use us all for awaken the good in others. The good can spread only by the power of example. The only example that really reaches and affects the other person is the one that we serve this other person unselfishly with. A good leader listens and serves. A good leader deliberates, and tries to shepherd the community assigned to him towards the golden mean always supporting what the majority of the community do NOT want, moreover, what is not even needed just then. A good leader is decisive, responsible, peaceful, humble and knows when to resign. (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

3. How can we change the life of our environment to happiness? Fulfillment in a life spent to serve others in love. What is service? Service is passing the love to others, which was given to us by God. If we became open to accept the love of God, it is impossible to keep it in ourselves. This is how to serve others in love becomes a way of living. This is how we become love-sources in the life of all people around us. Thus, a good leader is the love-source of his environment. This is THE best quality of a good leader. (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

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