On Fridays at the monastery instead of praying Lauds and sitting in meditation, which we do the other days of the week, we practice a form of group Lectio Divina. We usually use the gospel for the upcoming Sunday as either Brother Dennis or I are usually working on a sermon. We take turns reading the passage and then sit in silence. After a few minutes the officiant strikes the singing bowl and then we reflect together on what God is saying to us or asking of us through the passage. We do this three times allowing God to speak to us through scripture.
This last Friday I found myself disturbed by the word Truth. When Jesus calls the Advocate the Spirit of Truth it just didn’t feel right to me. So, Brother Dennis did some investigating and found a wonderful article written by Stant Litore who specializes in ancient languages to explore this word, Truth.
In the 4th c. when Jerome translated the Latin Vulgate from the Greek scriptures many nuances were lost. Sadly, I did not study Greek in seminary, as I love breaking open the subtleties that Greek offers. Many words like Metanoia got clobbered by the legalistic mindset of Rome. Metanoia is used over a hundred times in the New Testament, and it is translated as repent, but this lovely word actually means to spiritually awaken or transform. Likewise, the Greek word aletheia became the Latin word veritas which denotes something verified or confirmed, which has a right and wrong kind of feel to it.
But the Greek word aletheia comes from the word Lethe which is a river of forgetting in Greek mythology. The story is that the dead drink from the river of Lethe to forget their past and all that was important to them. So aletheia is the opposite – it is unforgetting all that is important. It is also a word signifying revealing or disclosure. So, when Jesus says I am the Truth he is saying:
I am the Unforgetting, the unforgetting of God’s love for you. I am the revealing of God’s promises. I am leaving you the Spirit of unforgetting so that you can live out your days in the knowledge of God’s love and presence.
What a difference this is.
For me – I long to live unforgetting. I want to live acutely aware of the Presence of God. I want to live united to the presence of Christ Consciousness and for Jesus to be with me. This is what the spiritual life is – the forgetting and unforgetting over and over. We so easily get caught up in our ME-NESS and reactions to every single thing that happens. This is why we engage in spiritual practices, why we come to church – we seek to unforget. Here we remember that we can invite the Spirit of unforgetting into our life and experience the love that Jesus offers us.
I will end with a quote from Litore:
In the book of John Jesus says “I am the Aletheia,” he is saying “I am the Unforgetting.” He is describing himself as an embodied unforgetting of God’s promises, a daily living-out of the promise of union and reunion between God and humanity, and between humanity and humanity, and a daily and ongoing incarnation of God’s promise of - I will be with you.
Sister Greta +