Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Master doesn't know?

This week , we Christians are celebrating the Holy week. The time when we remember the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. Philippine Catholic tradition shows us a variety of ways to remember Christ’s passion. We have the “Pabasa” wherein folks and children read the story of Christ’s life thru singing non-stop, or what we call a vigil. These old folks are pros guys and they have been doing this ritual almost half or more than half their lives.

The modern Filipino families are entirely different. Gone are the days when you see families doing the “Bisita Iglesia”. Bisita Iglesia is visiting churches and praying the 14 Stations of the Cross in memory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In my case, since this week is a break from teaching work and an overtime work with my own family, I made sure I borrowed one of my favorite “reflection” book I’ve ever had in my life. This is the time when I can read it all over again, and again and again.

Written by the late Jesuit priest Anthony de Mello called The Song of the Bird, it was given by a Jesuit priest and a recipient of Ten Outstanding Filipino Award Fr. Ruben Tanseco to my Dad. Fr. Ruben is Magis Deo community Spiritual Father which I am blessed to be part of because of my parents’ involvement in the Marriage Encounter program of Magis Deo.

I have always wanted to have a personal copy of this book because of its In-your-face teachings which goes against the traditional spiritual teachings. I don’t want to call it Catholic teachings but rather Spiritual teachings.
Let me share one of Fr. Mello’s Obras:

The Master Does Not Know

The Seeker approached the Disciple and asked respectfully, “What is the meaning of human life?”

The Disciple consulted the Works of his Master and confidently replied: “Human life is nothing but the expression of God’s exuberance.”

When the Seeker addressed the same question to the Master himself, the Master said, “I do not know.”

The Seeker says, “I do not know.” That takes honesty

The Master says, "I do not know.” That takes a mystic’s mind that knows through things through non-knowing. The Disciple says, “I know.” That takes ignorance in the form of borrowed knowledge.

I chose this one for a number of reasons: As a teacher myself for children with special needs, trainer of teachers to be and practicing teachers, and children wanting to learn the basics of good chess play, this one hit me. Are we a Master of the Royal Game because we have the title or certification from the governing chess body in the world? Are we the Disciple who teaches chess among our friends, neighbors and students? Are we the Seeker who on his own tries to find the Holy Grail of Chess Knowledge?

Who am I in the story? Who are you in the story? Who are we in the story?

Do you see yourself in the clothing of the Master? The one who knows he will never really know the ultimate truth? Are you the Seeker who earnestly and honestly searches for the truth? Or are you the Disciple who, in his longing to get to the truth, when he finds one borrows the “ path” or “enlightenment” and spread it among his neighbors and eager listeners?

Disciples are also called followers, believers, supporters, devotee and students. These are the people who look up to the master and absorb all the Master’s teachings… without abandon.

Seekers are searchers. People who critically asks questions and meticulously check the data or teachings encountered. They are inquirers, they do not stop when they reach the dead-end. Seekers are learned men themselves for they know that they know not, enough!

The Master need not pretend he knows ‘or he does not know. The Master will try out his “knows” and “not know” at every given opening because he is The Master.
So who are you?


I’ll be going on a self-imposed blog leave from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday. I’ll be pressing the vacation button in all of my correspondence games in By then, I wish all of you a safe long break and please be with your loved ones… spend those quality precious times with your family!

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