Second repetition: a summary

When we repeat the “Two Standards” meditation the second time we try to summarize what we understood until now how in our concrete life and situation the tactics of Satan seduce us and see if we find at least the desire to choose the value system of Christ. Where are we personally, as a couple, and in our society most vulnerable to the tactics of seduction? What would happen if we don’t follow the common temptations, but try to live by the “standard” of poverty-persecution-humility?

To aid the meditation the companions can use also some of the following material:

- See the two value systems described in the Lukan version of the Beatitudes that puts in parallel blessings and woes, the poor and the rich, the hungry and the satisfied, the weeping and the laughing, the persecuted and the celebrities of society, read Lk 6:20-26.

- Read about the requirements of following Jesus in Lk 9:23-27 and Lk 9:57-62 and see how these reflects what we have seen of the value system of Christ.

- Although the “Sermon on the Mount” (Mt 5-6-7) is a literary composition of the evangelist and not a transcript of an actual “sermon”, Matthew here collected the core of the teachings of Jesus to his disciples and it manifests his value system well. When the companions read it next time, they can put it in parallel with the “Two Standards” meditation.

- See how the teachings about the prayer “Our Father” (Mt 6:9-15) and about the abandonment to God (Mt 6:25-34) reflect the basic trust that is at the foundation of the value system of Christ.

- The value system of Jesus is based on the trust in God and on the belief in the goodness of life independently of the adversities. A powerful example of finding the unconditional value of life in love is described by Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning, in the scene when he and his friend sets off to the morning march to forced labor in the concentration camp and someone sighs “If only our wives could see us now!”:

“And as we stumbled on for miles, slipping on icy spots, supporting each other time and again, dragging one another upward and onward, nothing was said, but we both knew: each of us was thinking about his wife. Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife’s image, imagining it with uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look… A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth - that love is the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world may still know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way - an honorable way - in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, ‘The angels are lost in divine contemplation of an infinite glory’”.[1]

- We can finish our meditation by comparing the standard of Christ with the well-known prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi:

 

“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

where there is injury, pardon;

where there is doubt, faith;

where there is despair, hope;

where there is darkness, light;

where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console;

to be understood as to understand;

to be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive;

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life”.

 

 



[1] Frankl, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” pp. 58-59.