The guidance he received, was something to the effect of, "my church has fallen into disrepair - I want you to rebuild it."So he may have been at a place where he believed "he needed saving;" but his "salvation," was to rebuild that which was in as much or more, "rack and ruin" than he was. As an aside, I have considered where my own life is concerned, the guidance regarding a church, being in disrepair; can be seen as a metaphor, which points at my own heart (which I'm suggesting ought to be revered as a temple - the divine resides there, or at least it is a conduit). You the reader are free to believe or not this reference - I know for me it was - spot on! (of course that is the nature of guidance it fits the receiver - like a glove, it doesn't need to be meaningful to anyone else).
I believe he cooperated with the church, where he saw it could be advantageous to forwarding his work. To have operated completely in opposition, to the political power centre, may well have prevented him; from being the cause for change in the world, that he was. I believe he was divinely guided to give the church their token respect - so they would leave him alone to do his work. Despite their opposition to him and his methods (which he fashioned, living as he was guided, as closely as he could, to the way Jesus lived) - they then, made him one of their saints. - This I would call, one of the ultimate acts of hypocrisy, image usurping and "name dropping." (i.e. "oh ya, Francis he was one of our starters, he got "rookie of the year," five time winner of the MVP award, and now inducted to the "Hall of Fame.")
I believe the "Prayer" points to a connection through which anyone can interact with life itself. Anyone can develop this connection - no particular church, nor it's dogma is required. There are literally too many churches and too many adherents throughout the world - for there not to be those that are making a positive difference in the world. So, I'm not on a mission to denounce churches. I'm saying that your connection to Source/God/Life; is yours, and it can be addressed autonomously.
Francis goes on to say:
Where there is hatred - Let me sow love
Jesus said, "Love your enemy, and pray for those that persecute you."
And - "Love thy neighbour has thy self"
Many religious texts have some version of - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Many people make enemies out of their neighbours (for example, they don't care for their vision of lawn care).
I must remind myself, it doesn't say - do unto others as I would have them do unto me - (unless they piss me off) then I can be a self-righteous "holy" terror."
None of these "suggestions" make "sense" in a "tit for tat" - win/lose, pride filled mindset (remember it was also said, "pride cometh before the fall." I might not have the monopoly on pride induced pratfalls - but I can assure you, I have fallen so many times, it might not be clear, I am a being meant to walk upright. The extent of my pride (which was a most formidable cover story, for my deep under-lying shame, often had me "knocked down," before I started, and threatened to keep me there.
The other thing I would like to illuminate, regarding the idea of sowing love where hatred exists: it can be equally directed inward, as it can be outward. It vitally important that I bring any self-hatred I find operating within, to love.
I believe this is at the crux of the "love your enemy" teaching.
I'm not familiar with Charles Spurgeon or his work - but this quote came to mind, which I then searched and found, that he said, "Beware of no man more than yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us."
What if, most of the people that I have held with disdain have all been "mirroring for me," those parts of myself, that are screaming to be brought to love?
A mentor of mine used to have this to say to me when discussing fear, "Rob, there are two kinds of fear, "fear that you aren't going to get something you want" and "fear that you are going to lose something you already have." Of course if I'm so inclined (and I was once entirely so - it was how I was oriented in the world) then it is someone or something, outside of myself; that are going to rob me of that which otherwise would be mine, therefore they become: "the enemy."
It certainly never occurred to me, to search within myself, for what it is, I'm afraid of."
If someone is pointing out for me, some form of immobilizing fear within - they might almost be seen as an "ally." That there, is some useful information. Maybe we're not going to become bosom buddies - but "enemy," might well be, erroneous.
Gandhi said, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."
I know for me, holding deep seated resentment toward someone, has never brought me any peace. Furthermore it doesn't matter, what occurs in their life; with respect to being dealt anything that might be considered "justice;" hatred is insatiable, no amount of retribution, will ease the hurt and pain. It is, a call for love.
Do I always show up as the "sower" of love. Not exactly. But I will bring love right here, right now, to any inkling of self-condemnation, that I have not arrived at perfection, where that is concerned.
I could not have written this perspective at other times in my life, because I was unconscious of that which I have now shared about myself and where I was operating from. From the text of A.A. I reference the principle, that I continue to seek, "Spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection."
There is much more to be gained by day to day progress; rather than the condemnation, of an expectation of perfection (which is more apt to become self-defeating).
How then to deal with those that do commit some sort of assault on my person. Am I meant to condone such behaviour. In a word, no! The act itself can be unacceptable, it is the state of my heart in response to what has occurred - that I have any power to do anything about.
There are those "living among us" that have demonstrated shining examples of love in the face of hatred. These are survivors of genocide, family of murder victims, those held as political prisoners. All have responded with love toward the perpetrators (while calling for justice). There are innumerable examples of the organizations for peace, empowerment, reconciliation some of these folks have gone on to create - despite having experienced devastating events in their lives. This demonstrates for me what is possible, it takes "religious abstractions" (and what some might dismiss as unattainable platitudes and makes them real). It also shows me that it is a choice to bring love through.
We are never given a "fly on the wall" perspective; of the ongoing process, any of these people underwent in their lives. I would suggest, that the choice to call in love, would be made again and again and again........ In the face of tragedy & great loss, there would be a great many feelings to wade through; any of which, or combination there of, might be adequate temptation, to meet hatred with hatred.
One must decide what paradigm they wish to operate from (a selection criteria might include, what serves the highest good for all concerned?) If one sees the world through the eyes of a hammer, then everything looks like a nail. Therefore if war, retaliation, hostility, retribution, power struggles are seen as "inevitable," then clearly, they always will be.
Love must be given at least an equal footing if not, a greater priority.
You think this is not operating in the day to day personal lives of ordinary people? Look at the ways the laundry list of ill-intent I just listed, play out in, for example, in the dissolving of marriages. It's not enough, that two people decide, they no longer wish to carry on the relationship, as a married partnership. This is a pain filled decision. The loss of the dream, the vision, the bond/connection between the two etc. And as if this weren't enough pain, well then, one or both, decide they are going to dish out a great deal more hurt; on the way out the door, and seek to ruin the person financially, and/or their reputation in the community etc.
Are they then "at peace," grounded and prepared to "move on?" Based on many people, I have met that have undergone such a separation and legal battle, I would say not in the least! Years later they are every bit as bitter (read hurt) - no resolution, no peace.
Many are quick to denounce "hate crimes," but cannot see that the sowing of hatred in their own lives, is equally ineffective ( unless what they hope to achieve, is the generation of more hate, then of course, it works like gangbusters).
I want the pain to stop! I hold this vision for my life and for all beings. I stand a great deal more chance, of seeing it through to fruition in my own life, but that won't prevent me, from a more expanded vision, for all of humanity.
I believe in a vast potential for all human beings. It saddens me that so many don't express that in the world. I know first hand the pain of believing, in a very limited view of myself, and the power attained (even if incrementally) of liberation, from the self-imposed prison of these limitations.
I now see it as my passion to support others in the realization, they are, the jail and the jailer (as well as the jury that rendered the sentence) and that the walls, are not nearly as impenetrable, as they once thought!!