Saturday, April 03, 2010

To Know the "Goodness" of the "Good" in Good Friday is Paramount

Reflecting on this and other events - for me things just in my own life, small ones to larger ones, I am noticing more and more anger and resentment everywhere and I bet you are likely experiencing this as well. The world seems to be suffocating under this "air" of madness - of resentment - of having to justify myself by attacking another. One can almost feel, if one stops long enough from our own efforts of projecting-off-of-ourselves-this-same-resentment, the increase in density that this resentment has grasped us by. Listening to what René Girard teaches from his understanding of the Gospel he uses the term "ressentiment:" meaning a suppressed desire for revenge that carries over into perpetual judgment against the other describing this human tendency that so often leads us into acts of sinfulness and violence.

It becomes difficult for those who seek to understand, as they are found whirling around faster and faster in this vortex of ressentiment, especially when they self-identify with the victimizing group, to listen to and to learn from it. In countering such desire for revenge, a helpful approach is to recognize the deeper roots of ressentiment. These roots are found in our tendency to make scapegoats out of others, a tendency to project blame for the ills that afflict us onto the other. Instead of being about the activity of flinging revengeful and hurtful ressentiment we need to be about bringing a level of calm and groundedness that can only be birthed from a conversion, daily if not in each moment - a death of the self enmeshed in the swirling vortex of violence (Good Friday) to a resurrection of new life (Easter).

THIS is Easter!

At one level, Easter is a personal conversion and resurrection from a life based in self-centeredness where we are brought to a moment of recognition - where we can see the "old self" based in a false individuality linked to the contours of the scapegoat mechanism vividly displayed in our own heart. It seems to me that such recognition is what Girard appreciates about some scriptural texts like the Joseph cycle from Genesis. This model of recognition provides an example of a preparatory step that may be necessary for our personal Easter - our personal resurrection into Christ.  It starts first with the recognition of own "old self" grounded in the ressentiment of the scapegoat mechanism and then the experience of our conversion - a personal grafting of our self into the New Creation as St. Paul writes in Galatians 6:14-16 (The New Jerusalem Bible):
But as for me, it is out of the question that I should boast at all, except of the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  It is not being circumcised or uncircumcised that matters; but what matters is a new creation.  Peace and mercy to all who follow this as their rule and to the Israel of God. After this, let no one trouble me; I carry branded on my body the marks of Jesus.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, my brothers. Amen.
This is a life journey of daily conversion - it is making the personal choice - the YES of Mary - to being members of this new creation - it is living Good Friday to Easter moment to moment.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.


Athos said...

A good reminder, Brother Aramis. I will be posting during the Easter season on just this matter as understood by St Bernard of Clairvaux. A peaceful and holy Triduum!

David Nybakke said...

Athos, Maybe you can help with explanation for the following 2 lost souls...and their disdain or indifference for religion.

The first comes from a 28 year old male:
I can't stand the holier then thou attitude of stupid religious nuts... this b.. (person) had the nerve to say they were charging her too much when they totaled up the price, like she deservered free food because she believes in god or something. Sh!?! I hate religion!

The second comes from 59 year old who simply ignores any relevance to religion or people affiliated with religious causes as he believes everything is driven by economics.

David Nybakke said...

I guess I bring these groups up is that I feel that the fate of the Western world rests in them - the lost and/or embittered and the undecided. And I feel that many so-called and self proclaimed Christians, who when surveyed mark themselves as Christians, fall into these 2 groups. The larger these group the more sway the religious fanatical infiltrates the power structures of the Western world.