33And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him.

a-sword-will-pierce-your-soul34Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

It has been said of me that I have only two sermons and I preach them over and over.

Sermon number one says: “Life sucks…”

Sermon number two says: “Get used to it…”

But I am in pretty good company. Sermon number one reflects a great deal of the New Testament.

Imagine greeting a young couple happily presenting their beautiful new baby boy at the temple with the words,

‘This child is destined… to be a sign that will be opposed… and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’

It is not a pretty picture. For all its beauty and tenderness, the mystery and wonder we celebrate at this time of year, lead to painful, difficult, tragic places.

Mary is going to suffer. This baby is going to suffer. Everyone who in any way associates themselves with “This child” who “is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel” is going to suffer.

But, if we can “Get used to it…” there is a chance that we may discover “that the inner thoughts” (literally: “the thoughts of many hearts”) may be revealed.

“The thoughts of many hearts” are the deep thoughts, the true thoughts, the luminous perceptions that transcend my usual routine ways of perceiving reality. To operate by “the thoughts of many hearts” is to open to the realm of mystery and truth that emerge from the deeper place to which I only gain access when I let go of my determination that life should conform to my wishes.

The path to the thoughts of the heart is a painful road but it leads to the truth, wisdom, love, and beauty that are the deepest longings of my heart.

How do I see in my life the manifestation of my resistance to pain?

What happens when I let go of my need for my life to be free of pain?