Saturday, May 23, 2009

Battling with monsters

"Whoever battles with monsters had better see that it does not turn him into a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you."

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, #146.

Playing the role of standard-bearer is filled with temptations. It is difficult for fallible people to serve as the watchdogs of others -- their purity, their accuracy. We can become what we despise and attack in others, without noticing the irony of it. Indeed, the reason we despise others is that we secretly fear we are seeing in them what we most loathe about ourselves. Without moment-by-moment awareness of the cross of Christ, we crucify those we condemn in our own blood ritual of self-atonement. And what is that but the opposite of the cross?

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23-24