Monday, May 19, 2014

Staying in one place

At the center of today's gospel is a word that is slipping further and further from our lived experience, the verb meno in Greek. It means to remain or to stay. The noun form ( mone) means a residence, the place you stay, live and is used with what is called a prolonged form of its accompanying verb. The idea being that you stay there for a long time. Some English versions translate it as abide to even more archaic word tabernacle. Perhaps the word home most fully captures the emotional content intended.

Why the grammar lesson? Because I am afraid that as we move more, we are loosing sight of what it means to put down roots or even to sit still. We forget that in our cultural evolution it was only when we gave up the nomadic way of life and began to build homes, communities, and cities that we began to advance as people. When we are constantly in motion, we cannot think or reflect with any depth. Life and relationships become superficial.

In the gospel today Jesus promises that if we love him, we will keep his word and he and the father will come and make their residence with us. They will remain with us for the long haul.

In all relationships human and divine it is only in that sustained presence that depth develops, love matures, and a lasting bond is formed.

Change is good. It is inevitable in all living creatures. But it must be balanced with the capacity to remain. Perhaps second only to the command to love, the next most important thing Jesus commands us to do is to remain, to stay, to be still in him. No matter what today brings be still interiorly, remain in him, and know that they (the Father, the Son, and the Spirit) will keep their promise to remain in you.