Alberto Masferrer


Alberto Masferrer      1868 – 1932
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"The Voice of the Voiceless"

Alberto Masferrer

MAKE OF YOURSELF A CRYSTAL 

 For You Who Were Born To Be  A Voice  for the Voiceless

from THE SEVEN STRINGS OF THE LYRE, 1923

       Your mission is to become a crystal.  Not a Sun –for suns come from on high — but a crystal which concentrates the rays of the Sun by opening a path for them across its own transparency.  Together in one, resplendent beam they carry the light even unto the most clouded eyes; even unto the most confused minds; even unto the most sorrowful hearts.

Some think.  Others discover.  Still others penetrate into the heart of the Mystery.  You, joyfully and humbly, reach your fulfillment in speaking.

You are not the light; neither is the firefly, although on her little head she carries a torch.   May your word be the spark that ignites such a torch!

Be content and proud to become a crystal.  A crystal which at the same time is both a singular prism of great concentration, as transparent as the sea into which the stormy rains disappear, as well as a lens having multiple facets: of Goodness, of Truth, and of Beauty.

A lens which gathers and concentrates its voice in order to give tone, penetration and strength to those thousands of imperceptible groans belonging to the sad creatures who suffer precisely because they do not have a voice.  An equal, diaphanous surface so as not to deform the deep truth entrusted to you by those very simple people who cannot even write.

To become a crystal, open your being more and more to the light.  Serve as a bridge for that Sunrise which longs to descend into the sadness of humankind, into the suffering heart –which is longing in turn to rise and become purified in the Dawn.

Your mission is to become a crystal.  However the path of this clarification is only achieved through the practice of Humility, of Purity, of Simplicity, of Joy, and of Silence.  That is to say, of Perfect Humility, Perfect Purity, Perfect Simplicity, Perfect Joy and Perfect Silence.

Are you able to become a crystal?

Perfect is the purity of those who put away from themselves all feelings other than those of
receiving and sharing light.

Perfect is the humility of those who never forget that the Light comes from above, and not from within us, and that it has come not only for us, but also for all those who are in darkness and pain.

Perfect is the silence of those who do not sow their own anxious ideas while trying to understand and realize the various aspects of Living, but rather remain centered on the only worthwhile anxiety: that of attracting and diffusing more Light.

Perfect is the simplicity of those who remain without adornments or excesses, confident rather in the supreme virtue of the diamond: the natural virtue of truthful transparency.

Perfect is the joy of those who are not gloomy on a cloudy day; of those who understand the iridescence of their own tears; of those who forget their own sorrow because they know that the Light is serenity and acceptance and thus can transform sorrow into a prayer –by the demand for more Light– because they know that all obscurity and suffering are cured by Light.

Your mission is to become a crystal….but do you wish to be transformed?

A Personal Appreciation

I discovered the name Alberto Masferrer quite by accident in October, 1988, while reading a commemorative plaque placed near the house where he was born and raised in Alegria, El Salvador.

Alegria is perched high on the north ridge of the dormant volcano Tecapa, and sits just below a crater full of bubbling, sulfuric water.

I was spending a year just around the corner in Santiago de Maria.  Both villages were tucked in between rows of verdant coffee bushes, all shaded from the hot sun by their large leaved “Banana Aunties.”

When I found Alberto Masferrer’s birthplace, I was learning Spanish and looking for local authors to teach me in local idioms and expressions.  The plaque said that Alberto Masferrer was a noted author so I began looking for his works in nearby San Miguel, San Francisco de Gotera and Usulutan.  But the civil war made it difficult to find any books, let alone the philosophical musings on world religions and human psychology of this social justice advocate..

I found only one book per city, three quarter-sized paper pamphlets published by the National Ministry of Education.  I translated about a page a day, word by word, after dinner, with my Chicago Dictionary and 300 Verb Table at my side.  The evening silence descended with the physical loss of sunlight, as the village was swallowed by the darkness.  The rebels had succeeded in blowing up the power station again.

I made an evening ritual out of having my candle ready, just in case, and hunkering down to an encounter between my lifelong language-learning block and my new found excitement at the incredible new thoughts I was discovering.

My language block met its match in the compelling thinking of Masferrrer, including some of the most interesting reflections I have ever encountered in such topics as World Religions, the humanity of Jesus and Reincarnation to name only a few.

The warmth of the candlelight colored the room each night, sending long shadows flickering around the walls.  One special night the fireflies arrived, and the candlelight invited them into my room.  Between fireflies and the wisdom I found on the page, the dreaded language-block eventually evaporated.  These candle lit sessions became my introduction to the writings of a model of original, critical postmodern thinking in a variety of genres including inter-faith religious studies, indigenous models of political discourse, a Gaia-centered cosmology, and of course The Vital Minimum, his own description of the human bottom line.

When I was finally able to visit San Salvador the capital, I found Masferrer’s collected works at the University of El Salvador where he once received an honorary doctorate.   There I discovered the three volume collection of his writings  with a Critical Introduction and Commentary by Doctor Matilde Elena Lopez.  I have since translated six of his books, comprising the first volume of his works.

Pat Groves

Please check out my other weblog:  Albertomasferrer.com

Selections from Roads of Peace 1926

Mission, Joy, Know Yourself, A Vital Minimum,  Notes to Myself:  Happiness.  God.  Truth. 

"The Voice of the Voiceless"
       I am, I give, I go.

                                                              Mission

 Because there is an excellence in every person, we ought to be able to describe a mission for each.  All that which one discovers humbly and sincerely when discerning one’s native excellence ought to be accepted and oneself consecrated to that gift.   This might constitute one’s truthful and necessary duty and mission in life.

Truthfully, how am I able to owe that which I have not received?  And where  could find a greater debt than to return, in just proportion, that which has already been given to me?

In the recognition of our personal mission, we carry also the well-being of our community.  For, after a time, the peace of each person becomes anchored alongside the gifts of others.

For living itself ought to be religion,not merely in thinking and longing, but in totality.  

For where will you discover a more truthful prayer, Oh Nightingale, than in your  own song?    Or you, Rose, than in your splendor?  Or you, Teacher, than in your teaching?  Or you Farmer, than in your sowing.  Or even you, Oh Thorn, than in your stinging?

Pythagoras says, “There should be nothing which will persuade you to say or do that which is not meant for you.”  “Meant for you,” signifies in this case what is in accord with one’s deepest nature.

Each of us has to have our own orbit, and not permit anything to swerve us from  it.  In this ritual road, constant and rhythmic, recurs the discovery by each of us of our own goodness and therefore of hope itself.  Without this personal orbit, life is a chaos, and we are only toys of circumstance, or of one another’s caprices, or of the alien interests of time and destiny.

Concentrate on following your unique course in life.  Do not compare yourself to others, or you might well be comparing yourself to their vices unaware.  Remember that only after beginning to understand ourselves will we be able to love the rest of humankind and to regain thereby hope in Life herself, as well as in our own mission in life.

     

J O Y

Our highest and most constant obligation is Joy.

If this rose fragrances the air, it is because she in herself is fragrant.  If the beauty of her petals is enchanting, it is because she, in her being, is divinely colored.  Smoothness, fragrance and light are in her a constant and overflowing grace.  Spontaneously she exudes these inner qualities for our delight and happiness.

But you, if you are not happy, how will you bring joy to another?  To whom could you bring happiness if you had no joy inside yourself?  And if you bring happiness to no one, then what purpose do you serve in this life?

Any little flower, a herb, even a small cloud– which forms and dissolves in an afternoon– strengthens and makes others rejoice with its beauty.  Must only you be gloomy and dismal, the sower of your own boredom?

Live then joyfully.  At all costs.  Especially in moments of great wounding save a luminous corner in your spirit from which might emanate light and serenity for others.

 

      K N O W   Y O U R S E L F

The extent of this precept is twofold.  First it requires knowledge of humanity in general; of human psychology distinguished according to historical era, race, sex and religious temperament.  Second it requires the study of oneself, a self-analysis by each of us with due attention to our idiosyncrasies, passions, tendencies, limits, vocation, virtues, defects and potentials.

The first is needed in order to understand the social contents of our personal saga, as well as the intimate sense of the arts and humanities, each according to place and time.  The second, of even greater importance, teaches us the governance of ourselves, the unique road of our salvation– of which, in all sincere humility, there is no other.

Both dimensions are needed in this labor because one who arrives at self-knowledge can only expect to do so through the road of charity.  For the strength to know oneself is only released in the longing to live with the rest of humankind.  Those prideful feelings of being over and above the rest, superior to others, or at least different from them are the real reasons we cannot know ourselves, nor see others with real tenderness.

At its root, all knowledge –especially self-knowledge– might be simply the love of God being realized through our love as creatures.  Those who come to know themselves may lose some pride as they come to understand that all excellence, including their own excellence, is but a reflection –although a truthful one– rather than source.

Thus the self-luminous residence of one’s personal being is not exhausted by, nor equivalent to one’s individuality; but it extends into an interconnectedness with the whole body, the universal manifestation of God.  Self-knowledge, which is also charity, thus becomes also the origin of sanctity, lifting us up to be saved.

It is well said that knowing yourself is the foundation of all wisdom.  It is better said that it is your road and your destination as well.

 

10.                 A   V I T A L   M I N I M U M,                            Part One

1.  All creatures, because of having been born and living, have certain rights which the community must assure through a just and wise organization of the property, resources, work, production and consumption of a minimal integrity of life for all –or a least the satisfaction of these most primordial necessities.

2.  Nature has provided that which is necessary for the securing of this end.  Given to the community is a means of common sustenance, which is the prime material of work and of life.  Given to the individual are the talents and implements and capacity for transforming these substances in order to create that which is necessary for living.

3.  The earth, the water, the air, the light and warmth of the sun –with all their modalities and potentialities– are substances of common inheritance among all beings.  For this reason, no one can appropriate their ownership perennially, except through a usurpation which no one has thus far been able to justify successfully.  No one is the legitimate owner of the earth.  We may use her when she permits, according to the laws and customs of the community, which is her sole and legitimate possessor.

4.  The instruments of work for each of us are our arms, our legs, our feelings and our thoughts.  The motor of these is our will as a worker.  When we realize this we will receive our absolute right to a minimum integrity of life.

5.  To those few who now possess “titles” to the land, I would say, “Acknowledge the limits of your ambition.  Be content with that which gives you the liberty to convert trees or rocks into gold.  Be not content with the misery of other persons, their ill-health, or the bloodshed of these your brothers and sisters.

“Draw an line to your acquisitions and do not pass this line –in order that you do not keep others awake at night with their victim’s hatred of you.  All things in the Universe have a limit   All creatures recognize the limiting line called the orbit of the sun, and the limits of the beach for the ocean.  ‘Do not pass here’ is a divine command imposed on all existence, and any creature which passes this line invites degeneration, hypertrophy and dissolution.”

Notes to Myself

14.                   H A P P I N E S S ?

There is no tomorrow which mat not arrive with a notice of complete disaster:  a child hit by a car; a deception in love; a spouse who is tyrannical or who deserts; blindness, cancer, insanity, assassination, flood, drought, war, earthquake,

crib death.  Always and at any moment anywhere in the world, any of this could happen to any of us.

So from where comes this illusion of security, that surprises will not happen?  Why do we constantly confront ourselves with a persistent demand to be “happy”?  It only served to absorb our strengths in foolish pursuit of a chimera.

Peace, not Happiness.  Peace, with great effort, after many sorrows and finally through self-renunciation is able to be attained in this life.  But Happiness, no.  And if we search for peace only for ourselves, it will elude us.   For, whosoever seek their lives will lose them; and whosoever lose their lives will find them.  Life and peace will then come to be the same.

15.                 G O D ?

If all things were to be reorganized in the world according to my taste, many of them would have to disappear or at least to change radically.  I have begged a Power outside of myself that these things might be arranged according to my ideals, but I have not had a reply, and do not at this point expect one.

It is as if there were no will, no exterior power above the cruelties, the horrors and sorrows which torment me.  This Power does not exist for me, or rather it is as if it did not exist for me –which amounts to the same thing.  We are evidently orphans here, impotents.

But I find I am not resigned nor conformed to this impotency. My need for a greater justice and more good does not diminish, nor do my energies for working for this greater justice fade, simply because I cannot find an exterior source for them.  Something pushes me to work and also has me believing in its existence, as if there were a God who as able to do so!

So this divine power –at least in its effects– is able to exist in a person, in me.  This is a Divinity which does not act outside of human mediation.  God and humankind.  Better, humankind and God.

Am I the only person who is able to have this kind of voice, whose existence or possibility resembles that of an exterior God?  For I am now unable to say, “Thy will be done,” without also meaning “My will be done.”  That which is mine according to my innermost voice.

 

16.                    T R U T H

They tell me I am a pilgrim here.  I was born and I will be reborn after death.  I will live on always; my spirit will fly, shining and immense as an archangel, chasing stars across the skies.

To be honest, I do not feel as if I were made just to die.  I feel as if I might have been created to pass on one day…….  but meanwhile there is a cloud on the horizon!  And look!  a leaf in full boom; a grain of dust twirling.  Listen!  An echo of a star in which lies my own life pattern.

Certainly the day will arrive when the last thread of my tomorrows and yesterdays is severed for good.  But until then, I am a guest here and all my heart, all my thinking are devoted to these creatures who dwell here alongside me.

All for the pain of being here.  All for the oppression of being here.  All for the jail which is here;  This vale of tears is what puts life into my blood.  And from this life I offer you, my neighbor, a moment of your own rest and clarity.  All for you.

Tomorrow when I am not here I will share my life with whatever being I encounter.  Today, no.  Today they are only dreams or visions for me.  Meanwhile these humble children of Earth are living, breathing realities for me.  They are my truth.

There is not more than one truth for me.  My own.  That to which all my being shouts YES!  That which sings fervently in my nerves, LET’S GO!  There are other truths of course:  some submerge me in dark caverns and obscure my sight of Yes or No.  There are other truths which shrink my true longing and my impulses to a Perhaps or a Maybe, instead of a Yes, but these are not my truth.

They do not serve me.  I do not understand them.  I prefer to illumine my path with my own, small lantern.  Yet  I will make my way easily, as if by daylight.

For here I am.  Here I struggle.  And with my bloody feet upon the pebbles of the road, I will accept from life all the honey and all the vinegar she offers in her mysterious cup.

 

 A Chronology of the Life and Works of Alberto Masferrer:

1868  July 24: Vincente Alberto Monico born in Alegria, El Salvador.  He grew up living  with his mother and aunt among the coffee bushes.

1873  At age 5, taken by his father to San Salvador.  Meets a new step-mother, two brothers, and begins to attend school.

1878 At 10, Alberto is expelled from school for the first time. He was then sent to a more strict school.

1881 At 13, he ran away from the stricter school and he was to another school, which he ran away from at age 16.  He was then sent away by his father to a boarding student in Guatemala because he was a bad influence on his younger brothers.  Alberto never actually arrived at the new school, but instead had himself declared an  emancipated minor and left school altogether.  One of his younger brothers went with him.  They began to explore nearby Honduras and Nicaragua where Alberto experimented in teaching basic adult literacy.

1889 At 21, Alberto returns to El Salvador and becomes involved in local education reform and justice advocacy.

1890 Appointed sub-director of Education in Sensuntepeque

1892 At 24, he marries  Rosaria Castro

1894 Pages on Social Inequalities

1895 Childhood Memories At 27, he is appointed Consul for El Salvador to Costa Rica

1901 An Essay On Political Noninvolvement

1902 Alberto is appointed Consul to Chile

1903 At age 35 he is married again to Rosario Casteneda

1906 They return home to El Salvador

1908 Cuttings (Poems) 1910     Appointed Consul to Belgium

1912 Delegate for El Salvador to The Hague

1913 The New Ideas

1914 To Read and to Write

1015 Filthy Lucre

1916 Returns home to El Salvador from Europe Suffers massive stroke, endures three years of complete paralysis, unable to write.

1920 At 52, Alberto spends several years of recovery confined to in a wheelchair. but with the use of his hands.  Because he can no longer write, Alberto dictates several books to  his wife Rosaria.

1921 Thoughts and Forms

1922 A Life in the Cinema (A novel)

1923 The Seven Strings of the Lyre

1924 What Do We Need To Know?

1925 An Essay on Destiny.  Alberto is awarded an honorary Doctorate in Humanities by the University of San Salvador

1926 Roads of Peace

1927 A Life of Jesus Alberto is excommunicated by the Catholic Archdiocese of El Salvador.

1928 Helios Alberto founds and edits a daily newspaper La Patria,  He writes a weekly editorial, urging the government to treat the  poorest class of laborers, the native campesinos, with social justice.

1929 The Vital Minimum

1930 The Universal Religion

1931 The Autumn Rose, (Poems)At 62, as a popular editor, Alberto lends personal support to  successful reformist presidential candidate Arturo Araujo.   After a  few months, Araujo is overthrown in a coup led by his Vice President, General Hernandez-Martinez, whose legitimacy is challenged by Masferrer in a La Patria editorial.

Alberto and his wife were forced into exile by his former friend, the angry general, who has their passports stamped, “Communist Agitator.”  When Guatemala refused to grant them exile, Alberto and Rosaria fled to San Pedro Sula, in Honduras where, penniless, they seek refuge with their novelist friend Gabriella Mistral.

1932 The Book of Life On January 22, 1932, General Martinez ordered the wholesale slaughter of 30,000 campesinos in the West of the Country.   After hearing this, Alberto had another serious stroke, from which he never fully recovered.   In August General Martinez was forced by public protest in San Salvador to retract his charges against Masferrer and to send a jet to return Alberto and Rosaria home so that he might die in El Salvador.  However when Alberto left Honduras he was in a coma from which he never regained consciousness.  He died in San Salvador, in the arms of his wife, on September 4th.

 

 

A Day of Silence  

 Reminders

1.  Go apart as much as you can from others, and protect yourself from intrusions as much as possible.

2.  Do not speak to anyone unless it is necessary.  Do not engage in any discussions with anyone, for any reason:  do not quarrel, within or without.  Do not allow yourself to become  distracted thinking about the lives of others.  Save that for later, when it will be more urgent.

3.  Watch your movements, gestures, breathing

and rhythms of thought.  Seek to slow down deliberately, with the result of receiving a calm, serene reign over yourself.

4.  Do not try to do too many things in your day of silence.  It would be better to stay with a few things which can be enjoyed thoroughly and which will contribute to the serenity of your inner silence.

Themes for Reflection

1.  Concentrate your attention on one theme at a time: on one rock, one plant or an animal; on one person or memory; on the water, the air, the clouds, the mountains, a star.  Meditate on any form of creation whatsoever, and try to realize that within this thing is the Silence, and with what results!

2.  Put in order your fundamental life ideals and directives.  Review them and see if they get along with each other, or if contradictions and discord flaw their dialogue.  Which of these was formed through study, reflection or experience?  Which simply arose from the suggestions of others or through social contagion?

3.  Examine carefully your aversion to certain parts of your life routine and also to the mannerisms of those persons who annoy you in your daily life.  Have your reactions been formed through injustice, jealousy, anger, or merely in imitation of what others may think?  Or are these aversions founded on clear reasons and intuitions?

4.  Meditate on the great benefits for your spiritual growth and also for the health of your body and soul, of renewing the rhythm and balance of your day.  Even as the most simple creatures move each day in an orbit which is proper to them, so must we be attentive to our proper rhythms.

5.  Begin your time alone by entering into yourself.  Try to stay there throughout the day.  Return there after distractions.  Recall that you are neither trying to forget nor remember who you are, but simply entering into the reign of yourself.

6.  Stop at different times in the day and simply rest in the fullness which is also the unity of all being.  Realize that your body, soul and consciousness are more than mere instruments of your Ego –over whom it is somehow authorized to have perfect dominion.

7.  Consider seriously these ideas:

The greatest are silence and serenity.

In silence are formed the most transcendental things.

Silence, repose and resurrection are phases of one process.

Rhythm, strength and grace are born in silence.

The divine, interior voice speaks, and can only be heard, in silence.

 Eulogy for Silence

Silence remembers that all words have a today and a tomorrow; that is to say, they have a value for the moment and a future reach which is incalculable.

Silence remembers that the value of a word I pronounce is not so much  completed by my imprint on it, as by how the word is understood by those who  hear it.

Silence recognizes that conflicts may be resolved better quietly than aloud, and that time has an even greater influence than do words.

Silence exists to repair those injuries that were seeking to escape us, and for forgetting those which are now burning us.

Silence is to remember that I could be free today except for my words of yesterday; and that my words of today will be my chains of tomorrow.

Silence is for recalling that I had deferred my judgment of a person or an event for only an hour, I might have received new information that would have tempered my rash reaction.

Silence is to recall that the simple repetition of what others say forms an  avalanche which eventually drags down the tranquility of us all.

Silence neither laments nor augments the pain of others.

Silence is for reflecting on what “I did” rather than on what “I shall do.”

Silence remembers that the word which is pronounced itself carries a part of the energy necessary to realize the idea it incarnates.

Silence does not expound on an idea in the middle of its creation, nor does it read the work in draft.

Silence is the seed, and because of this germinates.  Silence is the root, and because of this endures.  Silence is the sap and because of this nourishes.

Silence recalls that for one the heart is a reliquary of appointments and hopes, while for another it is a plaza of fiesta, and afterwards a trash heap.

Silence is the cocoon wherein is transformed the butterfly, and also the cloud wherein is formed the lightning.

Silence is the just word, the right intention, the restrained enthusiasm, and the devotion which knows where it is going.

Silence is the place for speaking quietly a little with your own sadness, and for continuing to do so until it has been transformed into a smile, a prayer, or a song.

Silence is for being oneself and not a drum resonating beneath the fingertips of the multitude.

Silence is for talking with God before other people, and not repenting of this later.

Silence is, in the end, the repose of sleepy death, where all is purified, restored, made equal and pardoned.

 

Masferrer Bibliography

+= book is translated on the Alberto Masferrer.com site

1894      “Pages on Social Inequalities”

1895      “Childhood Memories”

1901      “Essay on Political Non-         Involvement”

1908      “Cuttings”  (poems)

1913      “The New Ideas”

1914      “To Read and Write”

1915      “Filthy Lucre”

1921      “Thoughts and Forms”

1922      “A Life in the Cinema”  (novel)

1923 +   “The Seven Strings of the Lyre”

1924      “What We Should All Know”

1925 +    “An Essay on Destiny”

1926 +    “Roads of Peace”

1927 +    A Life of Jesus

1928 +    Helios 1

929 +   The Vital Minimum

1930 +    The Universal Religion

1931      The Autumn Rose  (poems)

1932      The Book of Life

(1928-1931  Collected Editorials from Patria).

 

 

Prologue to Helios

Renew Your Faith

To have “seen it all” when one is still young is a misfortune because not having anything to look forward to leaves one with nothing to engage one’s interest.  That surplus energy now disengaged inside us easily degenerates into disillusion and sadness.  But the greater part of the misfortune would be to have “seen it all” without having seen “it” at all.  Having looked everywhere, for example, in the realm of faith, without having seen beneath the successive sheltering and discarding of religious beliefs is to meet up with the fact that no one faith can satisfy and consequently one is without a motive for living.  For, as Wisdom says, “Humankind lives by faith,” so that the stronger our faith, the more fulfilled are our lives.

But all faith is organic, like a rosebush, which begins in a seed and only gradually begins putting out roots, shoots, thorns and leaves –until finally culminating into something truly marvelous.  Then, in its turn it decays and withers into a dried up shrub which the sun and wind chap and peel into a decayed skeleton of its former self.

Even as there is nothing more useless for the eyes than a desiccated blossom, so there is nothing more useless for the Spirit than a faith which is dried up.  the former ends in decay, and the second in lies.  Either is ruined and desolate to the extent that neither a butterfly nor a seeking soul could find there a drop of honey or hope.  Even as the butterfly can only work with a living rose, so the soul can only live with a faith which blooms fresh from within, like a new flower.

*            *            *

There are simple souls who know the living of only one faith throughout their lifetimes.  the same moral and religious truths which they memorized in childhood are sufficient for their whole lives.  Everywhere there are uncomplicated people who, at the end of their years and until their last breath, believe the same creed, live the same truth, and extract light , strength, and hope from the same rose which they cut in the first bloom of their faith.  What does it matter if others repudiate as fable or legend that lamp which lights their brains?  That lamp is for them the sun.

There are also those unquiet souls –absorbing, insatiable– who devour ideas or sensations as a sandpit swallows the rain.  They are butterflies which consume new flowers every day.  theirs are those minds which shelter and revise all systems and creeds in order to extract the “little drops of truth” which each contains.  Like a little of each, they never quite form an entire living truth from these collected parts.   These thousand drops of honey do not yield even one, fresh swallow of refreshment.  Like the scattered petals of a rose, they would not give a hummingbird the juicy sensation of a living flower.

These thousand drops of honey do not yield even one fresh swallow of refreshment.

These dispirited travelers without rest, who never stay for more than a day in the shade of the same tree, are trying to “see it all” in the realm of faith. However, they can fall easily into an actual emptiness, where the falling is without end:  where the light of the stars is cold and without splendor.  Where one is not even able to let go of hope…. like standing glued to the threshold of hell.  At least inside hell, where sadness reigns, there is still the adventure of life busy crying or cursing.  Whereas in that reign of Tedium, there are not curses nor wishes for release.  No tears, but only silence.  Here sadness does not exist, but only the ashes of what was sadness.  for this is reign of Noting, where only one flower blooms, without color or fragrance, named Disenchantment.

*            *            *

If one seeks which of the habits of our being is that which devours our faith like a fierce fire eating the dry shrubs of March, we shall see that it is the domain of rational analysis which to easily disintegrates into analytic mania.  This over-eagerness for examining every splinter of a belief system is ill-fated.  Quite luminous  might be the diamond which fell into our hands until we dissect it with all the sharpness at our disposal– inevitably exposing the blemishes which each created things exhibits.  Although a diamond’s transparency might rival the sun, once we have sufficiently analyzed it, it is reduced to being just another rock with a stain,

Even if we could live tranquilly and happily possessing a precious rock with such a blemish, we could not do so with a faith in which we have discovered a similar shadow.  Faith is the beacon with which we infuse existence with transparency.  We depend on our Faith to give clarity to the obscurities of the universe.  All error, badness, sadness and clouds acquire a transparency through the eyes of Faith; if not in act, then in potential.  If not now, then soon.  If not in this world, then surely when we leave this world.  The cleansed, perfected and transparent sight of faith assures us with evidence that all things, incomprehensible, suspicious, and abominable are really clear, humble, loyal and friendly, and that in the end will arrive a moment in which the illusion of superficial appearance evaporates:  leaving reality as it actually is in all its marvelous beauty.

Faith assures us … that all things incomprehensible,suspicious and abominable are really clear, humble, loyal and friendly…

Moreover, in the instant in which we discover the blemish of our faith, it will turn unquiet and frightened of us, this shy bird called Hope.  Then the foundations of certainty, without which life is unmanageable, will begin to dissolve and fall apart.  Thus the edifice of our moral constructions collapses into confusion and emptiness.

We descend into darkness.  Into a desert where faith and confidence are discovering yet new horizons, mirages and oases.  And in this decent alone is faith transformed anew; through thirst and fire, in going astray, in abandonment and desolation, and in the roar of the wilderness.

*            *            *

When our faith suffers vacillation, it is a signal that it is reaching infirmity.  If this warning does not create in us the reaction to renew or to restore it, then what was once our illumination will become our debility.  Or it might be quenched altogether.  Then we must ask our heart for a new focus, a new lens of purity and transparency to permeate all things in the sea of existence with its light so that we can regain our sight anew.

Any belief, if it come from one’s heart, will be legitimate.  If it moves us toward the good; if it infuses us with courage, serenity and confidence; if it teaches us to pardon; if , in sum, it augments our capacity to love, it will be a sacred faith, and we will be able to welcome it like a divine flower as it opens for us in the same garden where once were born the other visions which have been in their day the strength and guidance of others.

That which is essential is to believe.  If you do not now believe in the Oak Tree, like the Druids once did; nor in Fire, like the ancient Persians; nor in animal-headed Gods like the Egyptians; nor in Buddha, Mohammed or Christ, this does not actually matter.  Perhaps you have “seen it all” in the realms of world religious belief and now none of them satisfies your heart unto actually feeding your life energy.  Then you must ask your own soul for the rosebush which can bud new flowers for you.  Select one which helps your heart to open, and acknowledge it as your faith, your living devotion, which at the same time might be your prayer and your song.

After all, does it really matter if your faith is ignited by the stars or by a humbly firefly?  Are they both not light?  How much of a real difference is there between symbolizing the divine as a Lotus Blossom, or a Mystical Rose?  Are they both not Beauty?  So what if you replace the polished song of lark with your own sparrow’s chirping?  Faith, in the ingenuity of your heart, will make of the firefly a star, of the lotus a rose, and of the sparrow’s voice a lark’s divine arpeggio!

How much of a real difference is there between symbolizing the divine as a Lotus Blossom or a Mystical Rose?

The fullness of humankind consists in or adoration, our ecstatic worship in life.  Worship of what?  Let us not ask our minds for the answer, nor one another’s opinions, nor books, nor traditions, but rather our own honest spirits, which are always the unique fonts of faith, as well as of hope and of love.

If you ever do come to feel a new altar rising in your breast, and that a living incense is burning there, then by all means adore there.  Worship there and you will have renewed your faith.  Once again life will begin to exhibit meaning and inspiration for you, and you will rediscover your motive for living fully the gift of life which has been given to us in you.


517 thoughts on “Alberto Masferrer

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