He reached out to the marginalized, the outcast, those outside the law, (prostitutes), the woe begotten tax collector, the widow and orphan, ( the gospel symbol for the powerless), the leper. Reaching out to touch and cure the leper really cost The Rabbi Jesus. The moment He touched the leper He became a leper in the sight of the law. He was no longer able to go among people. He could not go and worship at the temple. If you read the Gospels, He was at Bethany a great deal of the time that is where there were other lepers. He touched the woman with a blood issue even though it was against the law. He introduced a new law, the law of love. It was too much for the leaders of established religion. These "good people" in their anger and jealousy conspired with the Roman officials, the secular power, to kill Him. By killing Him, they thought that would end His messing with their little programs. They were in for an eye-opening surprise. Rather than weakening the power and influence of The Prophet Jesus, their killing of Him released into the world a power that has changed history and the story of humankind.
That change continues to the present day and it reaches you and I exactly where we are. We are not reached in our fantasy but in our reality. To live in reality is real tough. Not for the faint of heart. I read somewhere that reality is for those who live life drug free. These are the human beings, young and old alike, who "face life on life’s terms" are not bolstered by or anesthetized with any medicators. Medicators are many and varied, some come under the friendly disguises of booze, drugs, sex, food, shopping, exercise, work, perfectionism, outward empty religious practice, relationships, TV, etc, etc. The list is endless. Some may be surprised that I placed "empty religious practice" on that list. Years ago I read of a great mystic whose prayer was "O god save me from God." We can so identify with the outward right practice of religion that we never journey inside and confront who we really are, and where we really need a saving God. (The spiritual journey) We have to learn the hard way, there is no other way to learn this life’s lesson.
The Loving Savior comes to us in the agony of our weaknesses, there to transform us and create a new and a more honest human being. The radical love offered cannot be encountered in our illusions, in the masks we wear to protect our false image our false self. Looking good on the outside and going to hell in a basket on the inside is the chosen reality of so many. To challenge that illusional living is dangerous work. The following has got me into a lot of trouble. I was want to say, "A clean house is the sign of a sick family. The cleaner the house the sicker the family." Some of the most dysfunctional families I have encountered you could, as we say in Ireland, eat off the floor. I was scared to be in those houses lest I disturb something. Then I was reminded of what John Bradshaw wrote in Healing The shame That Binds "perfectionism is a cover up for toxic shame." On the other hand healthy spirituality allows us to be perfectly imperfect. In the embracing of our imperfections we FALL INTO the ever patient awaiting arms of Mysterious Ever Faith-full Lover.
As you can guess I have read a great deal over the years. I can thank my mother for that. I cannot remember, and I have well used to have a great memory a time where my mother was not reading her love stories. I got introduced to books early after my love affair with "The Beano," and "The Dandy" comic books. All through high school and college I was a voracious reader. After ordination I had to read and study hard to keep up with the evolution that took place following the explosion that was The Second Vatican Council. Pieces from that explosion are still falling to earth, much to some timid people’s chagrin. From all that reading, and not from my thoughts came the "chart," "The Battle Field Of The Soul." This is not an original thought. Kahil Kibran wrote a long time ago "your soul is oftentimes a battle field." I have also read this very humbling quote; "all spiritual writing is plagiarism." So with that said let us explore that "chart."