28 May [7th Sunday of Easter] [Ascension: see 25 May]                         

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. "I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.  I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”

“Now I am no longer in the world” (verse 11).  Yet, a few verses later he will say, “I say these things while I am still in the world.”  He is and isn’t in the world; he is present and yet somehow he already seems far away.  He is speaking in an in-between time. 

What he said was heart-warming, but also mind-numbing.  He was speaking of the relationships between the Father, the Son and the Spirit, and of the disciples within this divine mystery.  It is the language of love: “you in me”, and “I in you,” and “they will be one in us,” and “they were yours and you gave them to me,” and “the words you gave me,” and “I have given them,” etc.  A short time before, the disciples were assuring him that they understood him perfectly.  This would certainly remove any remaining false clarity. 

Clarity can become an idol.  It can become a substitute for the truth.  We have to struggle so hard through the dark forest that when we see the first clearing we imagine it must be our destination.  I knew a meditation teacher who always used a particular phrase when he talked about meditation.  The phrase was: “dark to the mind, luminous to the heart.”  False clarity tries to get a “fix” on something, and is little interested in pursuing it any further.  It is usually an expression of the will to control: I want to know my bearings exactly so that my mind will not be stretched.  False or premature clarity is a great enemy of the truth, because it looks like it.  Confusion only looks like confusion: there’s a truthfulness about it, and the truth will set me free.  But false clarity will leave me pacing around inside a small space for the rest of my life.  The mind is good at putting up fences and protecting them; it is the heart that strikes out beyond them. 

 

 

 
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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 

 

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