Deliberations on St Mark

by Rev Mario Schoenmaker (an excerpt)

From Lecture 1 on Mark 1:40-45
And a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, ‘If you will, you can make me clean’. Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘ I will; be clean’. And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And he sternly charged him, and sent him away at once, and said to him, ‘See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people’. But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

The first thing we have to deal with is a leper. The leper is one who lacks the expression of love, one whose natural, playful characteristics have disappeared and who is therefore no longer the same as they once were, and who also no longer has the etheric levels at their disposal. Here this person comes in touch with the Christ, and it is very important to understand this. Let us put ourselves into this picture, for that is how we should read metaphysically. How do we respond to the Christ when Christ comes to us? How can we be healed of our leprosy, our lack of love?

We respond in two ways. Firstly, the leper knelt down. It is very important to notice that, because the Jews were not in the habit of kneeling; to the Jews kneeling was something foreign. Kneeling down indicates the total inability to move, not just an attitude of humility. Kneeling indicates that I no longer have direction, I do not know where to go any more, the Christ is the only one who can direct me. In metaphysics, the feet indicate direction. I had to make this clear this week in one of my counseling sessions. The person had had an aura reading so I looked immediately to see what colour was around the feet, and I said to that particular person, ‘You must follow the direction indicated by the colour around your feet, for that will be your future’.

Always take special note of anything that occurs around your feet or your legs. For instance, the footwashing, where Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, is a certain pointer towards the future. The feet had to be cleaned and ready to perform the functions that Christ wanted his disciples to fulfil.

So the first thing that we have to do when Christ reveals himself to us and within us is to make ourselves immobile.

If you read this scripture very carefully you will find that the word ‘will’ is used quite often. The kneeling man said to Jesus, ‘If you will’. In other words, it is no longer if I will, it is if you will, so the will is associated with the feet here. It is rather interesting that as long as you are able to walk, as long as you are independent, which is what the feet also indicate, you tend to have quite a strong self-will. You say, ‘I can go there, I can do this and I can do that’ but it is quite different if you no longer have your legs. Then other people have to pick you up and carry you. Suddenly you realise that you are dependent on the goodness of others, and that no longer can you do it yourself. So the first attitude should be, ‘I have no will of my own; now I am totally at the mercy of the will of the Christ’. ‘If you will, you can make me clean'. The word ‘will’ in the Greek is the word thelo which means, ‘It shall happen; there is no doubt.’

The next thing that happens is that Jesus was moved with pity. The word pity is such a nasty word, for when we have pity for people it connotes a self-righteous attitude. No one wants pity. So the word ‘pity’ is not quite the right word. In the Greek it more or less says, ‘He was filled with tenderness’ which is a much better expression. He was filled with an overpowering sense of tenderness towards that particular person. I have always maintained that healing, real healing, can only be done if there is rapport between you and the other person, a tenderness that comes from being on a feeling level with the other person.

But let us not think here of other people; let us think of ourselves first and foremost. If we recognise that we are lepers, that is, that there are certain parts of us that have fallen away because of the lifestyle that we have lived, then the first thing that must come about before our healing is possible is the recognition of our leprosy. Let us recognise that we have it, that we are not the full person that we can be and ought to be.

You must forgive me, but I tend to be a very observant person and I observe wherever I am, and I realise how full of leprosy we really are. The mind tends to create the picture within ourselves that we are the only ones who are right and the other ones are always wrong. The mind always does this to us, so that we tend to look at others, either with eyes of pity or with the eyes of judgment, and both of these attitudes indicate how full of leprosy we are. If you observe people’s behaviour and if you compare this honestly with your own, then you will suddenly realise that you have to say to yourself (that is, if you want to progress spiritually), ‘Yes, I have leprosy. I am not functioning fully. I am not the person I was when I was sixteen. I am not doing the things I dreamt of when I was twelve’ and all that type of thing. One of these days we are going to make a law banning all mirrors from our bedrooms and our bathrooms. You spend too much time looking in the mirror, and when you look in the mirror you feel nostalgic and you say, ‘Do I really look like that? I used to look like…’ Then when you look at photo albums and see photos of yourself when you were sixteen or seventeen, people say, ‘Did you really look like that? My goodness, you were a charming person’. But it is always in the past tense.

Why did we change? What happened to our youthfulness? The Bible has a lot to say about youthfulness, and how important it is to retain that youthfulness. Lazarus, for instance, in the gospel of St John, symbolises youthfulness and the resurrection of Lazarus is the resurrection of youthfulness. Christ calls youthfulness back into you again.

So the first thing you have to do is to really honestly acknowledge to yourself that you are a leper. Then the second thing is to become immobile, that is, stand still for a moment. Don't use your will and ask ‘if you will’ of the Christ. Then you must not be self-righteously or self-indulgently in love with yourself, but be rightly in love with yourself. That is, be tender with yourself; don’t judge yourself too harshly. We tend to do this. We go overboard; we say, ‘Yes, we are lepers’ and then we judge ourselves so much that we can’t be healed. So you have to maintain the balance. You have to feel tender towards yourself, give yourself a bit of love.

Lots of people want to pour love out onto others. That is lovely, but do it first with self. Do you know how I notice if other people love themselves a little bit? By the way they dress, for instance, by the way they look after themselves, by the way they look after their environment. The little things indicate whether you have some sort of love or tenderness towards yourself. You have a right to this, for that is Christ within you. Wherever there is love there is God. So whenever you feel love towards yourself, you can say, ‘Yes, that is Christ within me that makes me love myself.’

Out of print.
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