Paradoxes and Life

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world we live in. For all our pretensions to rationality, men are often irrational in their actions and behavior. It is absurd that modern man, who has the most comforts and conveniences than any other generation that has lived on earth, is the also most anxious, angry and afraid among those who have walked this earth. It is absurd that the most affluent nation on earth spends more on prisoners than on educating its youth. It is absurd that after all the centuries learning about the value and dignity of the human persons we are still capable of atrocities that would shock even the most savage of the barbarian hordes from the past.

Life is indeed full of contradictions, paradoxes and incongruities. There is the constant rhythm of push and pull, up and down, darkness and light. The constant tug of war between good and evil, the perpetual sequence of creation and destruction, the uncertainty of living between the reality of birth and the certainty of death. All this rhythmic beating moves in a spiral, ever upward and paradoxically ever more complex and ever better. Miss the beat and the spiral plunges into the depths, death and destruction.

The ultimate paradox is the Fool in the Hill, with the cross the ultimate symbol of the absurd. He promised comfort and healing. But to anyone who would follow him, He challenged them to take up their cross daily. He loved to talk about His kingdom as a feast and a banquet. But to one who wanted to be good, He asked him not only to follow the commandments but to sell everything he had and give it to the poor. He said to forgive and to love one’s enemies. But He would condemn anyone of adultery who would just as look at another woman with lustful desire. He taught those who listened to Him to love and honor their parents. But He gave nothing but heartaches to His own, specially His mother, from even his childhood years.  Mary is our model on how we should “treasure up all these things and ponder them in our heart.”

It is precisely by pushing things forward that He shows us how to keep the spiral of life, the vortex of our existence ever moving forward and upward to the next level. It is by taking up my cross that I am lifted up to the next level. It is what I give away and not what I keep for myself that define the fullness and value of my life. It is by filling the milieu around me with good thoughts and good behavior that I can change myself. And in changing myself change a small part of the world I live in.

Life is incredibly complex and also incredibly wonderful. In fact, it is awesome. What we are living through is a sacred mystery. And it is an incredible God (who became a man!) who is showing me the way.

To do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!
Psalm 40

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother
and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas,
and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved
he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”
Then he said to the disciple,
“Behold, your mother.”
And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
John 19:25-27

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