• AMCF CCC

The Resurrection: Freedom to Forgive

The experience of John, the Evangelist (a first person account)

Coming down Mount Tabor, with Peter and my brother James,

I soon realised that we are creatures driven to distraction.

Fighting for places in the kingdom,

unable to accept that Jesus would suffer and die,

we so easily blotted out of our consciousness

the experience of having seen the Lord transfigured.

We were so much like Adam and Eve

who having experienced the great mutation

when the LORD had breathed into them his spirit,

were so fascinated, that their mortal bodies were now

the in-dwelling of his boundless Spirit,

that they became, inward looking, narcissistic

and sought to enclose it within themselves.

The ‘awareness of being in God’ had, in a moment of distraction

been transformed into self-awareness.

This bore an uncanny resemblance

to our wanting to ‘possess’ the experience.

“Lord, it is good for us to be here.” 1

Immersed in the prospect of what we could be,

we had lost an awareness of who we actually were.

I had covered myself with layer upon layer

of clothing in various disguises –

relevance, magnificence and power being the undergarments –

seeking to perpetuate my own glory.

Little did we realise that while we followed him

in a supposed relationship of discipleship,

in his footsteps, often walking beside him,

that we were still in relationship with ourselves.

We thought we had made a ‘choice’ in following him

How wrong he proved us to be.

I slowly began to realise, after that fateful descent

that following Jesus was not so much of a choice

as allowing his presence within us, more and more

to resonate with God’s continuous Self-giving

now enfleshed in human form.

“You have not chosen me, I have chosen you,” 2

He would later say.

To allow oneself to be ‘drawn back” by God

into that state of original innocence

is best expressed by the word “passive”.

Not doing, but “letting it be done”.

The Latin verb ‘patior’ is significantly

grammatically passive, but with an ‘active’ connotation.

It is quite the opposite of inertia.

His Passion, His Suffering, His Letting Go

His Leaving self-behind, are all appropriately synonyms.

As I stood by the Cross that first Good Friday

with Mary his Mother, at my side,

I had ascended another mountain at Golgotha

and piercing through the veil of his suffering,

as I looked upon his bruised and battered body,

beheld the very same face that revealed his glory.

I learned that to work towards doing away

with suffering of others, is a distraction

whenever it subtly reflects our desire, even if unawares,

to be socially relevant, powerful and manipulative in so doing.

Jesus does not do away with suffering; he transforms it.

It is the only way to prevent the persecuted from becoming the persecutor

and breaks the cycle of reciprocal violence that might otherwise ensue.

It is the self which sees itself as a victim,

bound as it is by its own compulsions to preserve itself.

Jesus shows us that we can mitigate the pain of others,

but not do away with their suffering, only transform it.

Suffering as the obverse of victimhood is a product of the self

Leaving that self behind unmasks suffering

showing it to be the illusion created by the equally illusory self.

How rightly has it been said that

we are not to pity those who suffer, but rather

those who do not know how to suffer.

The distinguishing trait of those who know

is the ability to forgive as Jesus did.

Having no sense of victimhood, in the dissolution of the self;

keeping no account of wrong doing,

in the ‘freedom” we have not to call it to mind,

unbound like Lazarus, we experience the freedom to BE.

Every act of forgiveness thus becomes

a Resurrection moment, leaving self behind.

In inner freedom, we cease to look upon others

as ‘unfortunate’ victims and in a curious way,

give them perhaps for the first time

the freedom to truly BE themselves

by transforming their own suffering.

“Was not the Messiah bound to suffer in this way

before entering his glory?”3

“Do this as a memorial of me.”4



Christopher Mendonca

References:

Luke 9:33

John 15:16

Luke 24:26

1 Corinthians 11:24

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