As I lay awake in bed with Carol by my side, sharing my insomnia, it occurred to me, totally out of the blue, that Neo had opened up for me a new world of understanding, which is to say that my conversation with him had led me to the realization that there was a way out of my conflicts here and now. I was being selfish aforetime: it occurred to me. Although I could not go to the Vatican all the way from America in order to express my new understanding of Christianity – rather than to pose questions that the authorities on religion there were not expected to appreciate – I could express myself before my children, as though nakedly.
But what would I teach them? I certainly did not wish to confuse them by sharing my conflicts. Neither did I desire for them to catch on my negative emotions surrounding the wonderful truths I was learning my entire life. One such negative emotion was my slight fear of various authorities on religion because I could not get over my miserable misunderstandings with them. I understood that the authorities on religion are meant to be peacemakers, and yet I could not see eye to eye with them on many issues of peace, which, in my awareness, is often a result of increased knowledge and new understanding of faith.
These misunderstandings, I knew, were tormenting me alone, while they slept soundly night after night. I recalled then the words of Jesus, virtually unaware at the time that Carol had started to sing in bed a song from the film, Evita:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled (Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 5, Verses 3-6).
Did I have to share myself with the various authorities on religion in order to find peace? I did not believe so. All the same, my torment was asking me to somehow stand in front of the whole wide world and declare myself to be a true seeker of truth. Then, and only then, I thought, would I find peace. However, it was impossible for me to stand on the stage before the entire Christian world and declare myself to be true. As soon as I realized that my mind was straying away from my children, I said “Yes.” Carol asked me right away, “What?” “Oh, nothing,” I said. “I am enjoying your song!” Carol continued singing from that point on.
I got back to my reflections through insomnia. I thought that I knew that I could die very soon, and I did not have the kind of oneness Jesus experienced with God Almighty to know when. I could express my understanding to my children – yes I could do that, I thought again – and my children in turn would develop their own understanding of religion based on my teachings and their own experiences in life.
As I lay in bed reflecting on the new questions that had perhaps occurred to me through supernatural inspiration, it did not take me long to figure out what exactly I would be teaching my children and how. I would write a letter to them, directing Carol to deliver it to them only when they have all reached maturity at the same time. I would not want one child wanting to know more than the others at any given time. I would like them to grow in spirituality altogether. I did not want them to have to go through the experience of single handedly dealing with the problems of realizing the truth as I did. I did not want them to feel as alone in the world as I felt.
But perhaps I would eventually leave the letter in Carol’s hand to decide when to give it to each of my kids, I thought. I was “hungering and thirsting after righteousness.” I knew that expressing my understanding of the religion to my children would grant me a sense of completion from the Almighty – somehow. I did not know how He worked on such completions.
By the time I had reached this point in my train of thoughts, I realized that Carol had gone to sleep. Her singing was over and done with; she was snoring, in fact. I suddenly realized a sense of greater freedom in my thoughts. Increased confidence was aroused to boot. Although I knew that Jesus had said, “Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 10), I neither had the strength nor the courage to stand before the world and discuss my concept of religion. I should have had the courage, I thought, but sadly, I did not. I then realized that perhaps this kind of courage is unnecessary, given that Jesus had also said: “Agree with thine adversary quickly, lest haply the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison” (Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 25).
Was Jesus right there with me to teach me something of the essence? How was it that verses from the Gospel of Matthew were appearing in my self without notice, and perhaps out of context? I got out of bed then, with the awareness that I had the courage to teach my understanding of Christianity to my children, even if I could not teach the whole world. Yet I did not want to express my entire self to my children. I only believed that they had a right to know the basics that I was working with. I believed in their right to question religious practices of the world. I also trusted that they would eventually find the truth using the tools I would provide them with.
I turned on the lamp on my desk. Carol moved a little in bed, responding to the click of the lamp. Fortunately, she did not get up to ask what I was up to. I did not want to bother her at all, and so I sat down to write, as though in a whisper:
“Dear children, By this time you must be old enough to feel the need to know God. You will be exposed to many practices in the Church….” I gave up writing at this point, tore the page in half, and took a fresh sheet of paper to begin again.
“Dear Children, For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.
“’Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
“’But I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire.
“’If therefore thou art offering thy gift at the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee,
“’Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift’” (Matthew, Chapter 5, Verses 20-24).
I comprehended what I was doing. Comparing the Pharisees and the scribes to the majority of religious authorities in the world, I was directing my children to go to the scriptures whenever they require guidance from the divine authority. I did not have another way of teaching them the truth. I wanted to say that they must never go to any religious authorities except the scriptures in the process of seeking truth; and that they must be good to each other, no matter what.
I had written the words of Jesus in my memory with great enthusiasm. And I did not doubt that my children could – given the right direction – show equal respect to the word of righteousness. Yet I doubted whether I should tell them everything about the Church as it existed in the world today.
I gave a moment of attention to Carol at this point. She was snoring, fast asleep, and looking lovely. I thought with tenderness that her children were mine, and I had a right to teach them whatever I felt I must. I did not have to mention the Church and the circumstances surrounding my role in it that very day. It was not important, given that the circumstances surrounding the Church were expected by me to change, perhaps drastically, in the years of my offspring’s maturity.
I went back to my letter. Without explaining myself in it, besides the purpose of my letter, I felt that I had to write something else I remembered from the Gospel of Matthew: “’At that season Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes:
“’Yea, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in thy sight’ (Chapter 11, Verses 25-26).
Confident in my writing, I continued: “My dear children, after reading the above scriptures you must be thinking that perhaps I felt in my years in Church that these are some of the most perfect verses in the Gospels. As a matter of fact, I did not think so. And the only reason I am writing you today is that I want you to learn how to trust yourselves in seeking the truth. The scriptures are the best guidance I can offer you now. Hold on to them, learn from them, and do not mind questioning the practices of others when you do not believe them to be correct. This is, in my opinion, the best attitude to take into maturity. Let us leave the rest in God’s hand. “Your loving father on earth.”
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