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Every night (almost every night) as part of my bedtime prayer, i pray what is called the "Jesus prayer" but it was once known as the publican's (tax collectors) prayer: God, be merciful to me, a sinner.

But several times a day, and more often lately, i have been thinking that i am grateful that "i am not as other men...especially these (Re)publicans."  This is like the Pharisee's prayer in Luke 18.

These men were characters in a parable Jesus allegedly told to certain of his followers "who trusted in themselves that they were righteouis, and despised others."  He compares the self-satisfied prayer of his "pharisee" to the begging prayer of the "publican" and implies that the "publican" was "justified."

What does "justified" mean.  I have always thought it meant that the "publican" was "right."  But justify has another meaning which is used in theology as well as printing.  To justify means to adjust something so that it functions
more the way it was intended to function.  No the publican wasn't right; the pharisee was right.  It is wrong to extort, or be unjust, or commit adultery and right to follow the sacred traditions.

What is being said here is that the Pharisee's prayer didn't do him or anybody else any good., he left his prayer the same self-satisfied fool he had been when he started.  The publican's prayer changed him; it "readjusted" him so that he functioned thereafter more like he was supposed to.

The late Sister Jose Hobday would have said, whetjer i know it or not, that my thoughts about how other people are screwing up the world are prayers.  So i am praying the publican's prayer once a day and the Pharisee's prayer maybe a half dozen or a dozen times a day and i do not go away "justified."

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Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
reginaterrae
Jun. 25th, 2016 09:05 pm (UTC)

That's justifying thinking there, brother. Excellent entry.

bobby1933
Jun. 25th, 2016 10:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading it, my sister. <3
amaebi
Jun. 27th, 2016 12:46 am (UTC)
Well, I don't know. I think that even the very most self-satisfied cruel prayer opens one to the presence of HaShem, to being "justified." An attempt to pray more humbly? Surely! Surely!

Boy, though, do I resonate with the massive discomfort of feeling disgusted with or superior to-- in any way at all-- one's brothers and sisters. :(

So I wish and pray you peace, an me too.

Edited at 2016-06-27 12:47 am (UTC)
bobby1933
Jun. 27th, 2016 01:13 am (UTC)
:)
(Deleted comment)
bobby1933
Jul. 2nd, 2016 04:46 am (UTC)
You and i read different books,
or read the same books,
differently

Still, i think we both know
no words can express the inexpressible.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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