Friday 5 November 2021

Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Word for today
The Gospel of Luke 16:1-8

Cunning

Misery makes men thieves and revengeful. The most dangerous kind of misery is a negative self-perception. It is a kind of misery which comes from dislike of self, from not perceiving oneself as a beautiful, beloved creature, an immortal child of God and of his mercy. Disliking oneself prevents any love for others and blocks any possible relationship with God.This mental and spiritual  state of corrupt and harmful perception of ourselves and thus of God creates in us a hidden, nevertheless powerful, abyssal lack of confidence in ourselves and towards life in general. The mathematical effect of this mental and spiritual state is, on the one hand, a deep anger and desire for vengeance for the wounds we have received, and, on the other, an absolute need to feel important to others and visible, powerfully visible to the world.
Power, success, one's own self-image ephemeral wealth are the favorite possibilities of the mind to feed its need for visibility, and this makes us bad administrators of our persons, of our gifts and of the life that God gave us.
This state of unhappiness and the fear that there is always something missing makes us miserable on the inside and thieves and crooks on the outside who are always possessive emotionally. Money at this point becomes a deity, it becomes the means by which we realize our desires without using the power of faith, it replaces the energy of the Spirit which creates and administers everything  according to our and God's desires. Money works against the harmonious growth of the human being, i.e. being able to live in perfect autonomy and interdependence, lovingly bound only to divine providence. It opposes any real, creative, and spiritual intelligence. And that is why the dishonest steward betrays his master, while in reality he has been cheated by money. Money, however, is not in itself the number one enemy of humanity.
What makes any genuine process of inner resurrection and rebirth impossible is not the unjust use of money, nor the mismanagement of our existence.
The highest expression of the devil's victory over human intelligence is not just inducing us to do evil, to hurt one another in every possible way, to propagate every form of injustice and oppression, but it is the justification of evil itself. Justification is the most endemic and widespread mental and spiritual plague, more devastating than any other evil, because nothing in the world propagates evil more than the justification of evil.
The steward of the parable, who served the money god and who stole and squandered the property of his master, is found out and reported. Here we see the genius of the Holy Spirit, who never turns off his voice and light in man: the steward accepts, he does not justify himself, he does not to minimize the damage. The most amazing thing about his reaction, which was fruit of the Spirit, was that he faced up to his responsibilities towards his master without quibbling. Damage is damage, evil is evil. The steward loved wealth, he disliked poverty, misery, having to bow, but he did not justify himself, nor did he seek to present extenuating circumstances or excuses. While he lost his privileged position as the steward's administrator, he could still win back everything if he played his cards right. He did not hesitate for a single moment, he had no doubts, he knew that all was lost, but he did not apologize, he did not justify himself, he did not complain, and he lost not  a single moment. He decided, organized, acted, won. He used his prestige and dishonest cunning to reduce the debts of his master's debtors, thus ensuring their sympathy and financial support for himself.
Even the master cannot but praise the shrewdness and the absence of any justification by that man.
Justification is an insult to our intelligence and to the presence of the Holy Spirit in us; it makes us vulnerable, miserable, selfish, limited, stupid. It diminishes the power of faith and desire. Justifying ourselves and others everywhere and always is what prevents us from enjoying life fully.
We have been using justification as an approach to reality, a problem solving technique, a spiritual procedure, a symbol of our virtue and self-sacrifice since we were children.
According to the Gospel's procedures, whoever does evil and creates damage should always be forgiven in the name of God, as God always forgives. Likewise according to the Word of the Gospel, evil and damage should never be justified, endorsed, minimized. Evil comes from Satan, justifying evil is to love Satan, to save him, to agree with him, to embrace his destructive strategy. Justifying is the most common act of worship to the devil.
But why is justification so easy and widespread? Simple. In our ignorance, the act of justification is very similar to forgiveness, it gives a subtle and irresistible pleasure, it makes us feel good, falsely good, it makes us feel better, it makes us feel perversely superior, more elevated, like universal judges. It makes us feel like gods.
That is the power of justification. It is an act of reverential submission to the devil and at the same time it makes us feel superior, like gods. True forgiveness forces us to take a huge leap out of love. During the powerful struggle against our wounded pride, it brings us closer to the heart of God. Justification makes us feel like gods and pushes us into Satan's arms.