Heart trumps verbal hypocrisy: the Gospels make clear the primacy of love. But, this truth can easily get lost.
We learn today to define ourselves by the prescriptions of New Age ‘enlightenment’ Pharisaic gurus who do not necessarily share authentic light, but manipulate traditional learnings without acknowledging the source and power of true wisdom. As citizens in the thought and action ‘spaces’ of today, we are imaging ourselves by the reflections of the all-encompassing media.
Our worldview, informed by ‘enlightened’ culture is really only narrowly defined by the quasi-reality of tweets, knee-jerk posts and streams which often invade the privacy of the subjects, as well as of the recipients. Yet, to what extent should we allow these thoughts and images to influence our actions? Who are the thought leaders, the power brokers who influence the dialogue with the surrounding culture? How opportune is this moment in history when we can tune in to the Word of God, the Son of God and Son of Man who more fully illumines our minds, beyond mere tradition and prescriptions to transform what comes out of us!
All of this comes together as our country transitions from one celebration—56 years of Independence—to the observance of the 42nd anniversary as a Republic. Over the years, we’ve tapped into traditional ways of life and infused the positives of our multicultural identity to bring life and reality to institutions which represent our peoples’ aspirations. Still, very often we hear the peoples’ cries that clarity is lacking about the requirements of these evolving institutions. So, it’s apparent that beyond protest, each of us has a responsibility to ensure that the information going in and the outcomes are ‘clean’. Former President of the Republic, Professor Maxwell Richards in 2008 urged us: “Let us lift up Trinidad and Tobago in such a way that our claims to social, cultural, institutional and political stability are writ large upon the global stage”.
How much have we changed? How sound is our knowledge and belief in who and what we are? Consider our fragility and the strength which we sometimes take for granted. Derek Walcott captured it well: “Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.” Deuteronomy 4:1–2, 6–8 urges us with respect to the Law, that “as we take possession of the country which Yahweh, God of our ancestors, (has) given us”… we should “keep the commandments of Yahweh…put them into practice and other peoples will admire your wisdom and prudence.” Are our hearts into this or is it only convenient lip service? The evidence is that the light of truth, beauty and love is dim in many places. Out of our hearts “come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Mk 7:21–22).
Whilst God takes us where we are and draws our human condition to perfection in grace, we can no longer frame our right to consciousness and proclaim our identity without reference to God, in liberating relationship and communion with Him (The Experience of God – The Nature of Revelation, Dermot Lane. Paulist Press: 2005). So, we’re called to “listen and understand” (Mk 7:14). Let us not fool ourselves. Let us be constant and humble, doers and not hearers only in applying the Word. Let us care for each other, guarding our hearts—true patriots acting in justice in the light and presence of Truth, Beauty and Grace.