Jesus spoke often to His disciples about the hidden meaning of his parables. I think He was pointing us to a far greater parable. Perhaps the Author of the human story has hidden eternal meaning in all of creation? We just need to be willing to listen and look for it.
Maybe all of life on earth is just one big parable. The “word made flesh” on an everyday scale is to prepare our hearts to recognize the eternal WORD made flesh. For decades people have debated about our origins looking for the truth in either evolution or creation. So much of that debate misses the point entirely. The poison in Darwinian thinking is not whether we came from an ape. The flaw is in the foundation of the theory: that life exists as a result of “the survival of the fittest“.
If we look deeper we can see that in the beginning…it was not so. The parable of human life on earth shows that the progress of civilization has always been ultimately based on self-sacrifice. Think of the early settlers in America. Personal self sacrifice in a thousand small ways was the paradoxical key to self-preservation. Even before Jesus was born, the truth was evident. Far more has always been gained for those who are willing to lay down their lives. The more I strive to save my life, the more certain I am to lose it. The historical echo of those for whom life is about self-focused survival may be loud but ultimately ends in silence. Much of what remains of the self-indulgent ancient Greek and Roman cultures is a quiet collection of cracked columns and dusty rocks. The universal truth singing through the centuries is that the more I deny myself and embrace my cross, I discover abundant life that carries through family generations far beyond one lifetime.
Contemporary life which is “all about me” unfortunately is de-volving toward survival of the fittest. Survival based on instinct, impulses, pleasure and selfishness turns us into predators. Are we surprised that bullying is the social cancer in our modern schools? Darwinian self-survival dominates the “scientific” explanation of our origins, and our new media based social interactions are more about “me” than really connecting with “you” shows our hearts are evolving in a toxic mutation of self esteem.
With our social fabric tattered and unpinned from selfless personal holiness and virtue, are we really amazed when children seek power over each other through mocking sarcastic humor and random acts of callousness? Often for the sake of entertainment at someone else’s expense?
Our culture needs to rediscover the loving parable of human life itself. The child in the womb tells us eloquently of our interdependence and the mutuality of loving care. Procreation itself requires a mutual self gift. Joy naturally wells up in our hearts when we feel sincerely appreciated as a result of someone else’s sacrifice for us. That is a dear and precious treasure in any century. In our media and in how we live, can we cultivate a culture of living parables that point to God? Let’s rediscover the sacred nobility of suffering Frodos carrying rings of power for the purpose of destroying them, and tiny plastic Emmets: nobodys with a Kragle heaved on their backs who just might save everybody. We can each be a small hero with virtue as our superpower. We were meant for more than to be entertained or to just survive. We were made for holiness. We just have to remember the value of our own story and live to fill it with all that is good, noble and self sacrificing. We might be surprised what a simple answer to bullying in the short term and what a sacred legacy in the long term it might be.
Self sacrificing holiness is the ultimate survival of the fittest. Eternal survival is in Heaven where meekness is true “fitness” and strength! Sometimes it’s good to be reminded: a saint is what God meant for each of us to be.
Blog posted by Cathy Gilmore, inspirational author, speaker and saint wanna-be. Follow Cathy @PowerOfParable on Twitter. Check out Cathy’s Christmas parable of the Peaceable Kingdom at the Bethlehem stable, the adorable picture book: Little Lamb Finds Christmas.
You can contact Cathy to invite her to inspire your group at firstname.lastname@example.org. God tucks great power in parables.