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In the late afternoon on Sunday after the Italian National Conference I was walking through Rome. A golden light bathed everyone, visitors, locals, immigrants, men dressed up as centurions for photos with tourists. The same light washed the peeling walls that showed many layers of the past, remnants of the pillars of once proud temples and imperial forums, humble churches from the 4th century, Castel San’Angelo, the medieval fortress with its emergency escape route to the Vatican for besieged Medici popes, and PizzaHuts, Gucci window displays and souvenir shops and a street vendor who charged me four euro for a bag of nuts.
Whose light shines on good and bad alike.
When we feel that we are included in the dance of being in which no one and no thing is wilfully excluded we experience peace. Even in suffering and injustice, when nothing is excluded, peace can prevail. This is a peace beyond understanding, not as the world gives it.
The recent images of the murder of civilians in Ukraine sent an icy, nauseous shock through me and through men and women everywhere and the unfortunate children who have to understand this is not a picture from a movie. Real people are capable of doing this. The question soon surfaces: How can we include this kind of unhuman misbehaviour and the people responsible for it in the one reality which bathes in the impartial and equal light of God?
Because it is the same reality in which a blameless man one with God could be falsely accused, falsely tried and sentenced and only too truly subjected to fatal torture? High on a wall of a cell under the operation rooms of Dr Mengele at Auschwitz, I saw an etched drawing of Christ on the Cross. It was the beginning of an answer of ‘where was God while these atrocities were being performed?’
Reality is not coldly objective. It is never better communicated than by compassion. Truth is not mathematical. When it is turned on all kinds falsehood it will eventually exposes and dissolve their unreality.
Jesus said that his Father was like the light of the sun that shines on good and bad alike. He did not say that good and bad react to the light in the same way.
Because it convinces us of the compassionate, total oneness of reality, meditation today has the potential to be the wave that brings peace to our world.
Laurence Freeman
Lenten Reflections 2022
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