Pied Piper or Rat Catcher

So who are we going to welcome, see, and think about as we look forward to Christmas, and not just for spiritual reasons? Who will we become attached to and what will be the lifelong consequences of this attachment? The danger is that our gaze is not where it should be, we stop halfway, weary, or obey beings that should not take the place of the Bride. When our Lord received the apostles of John the Baptist, who were already in prison, he responded to their interests by trying to put their expectations in order. He will bring them back to what moved them when they went to the Salafi and what was inside them when they came to Him. A person is attracted by “a reed shaken by the wind”, “dressed in fine clothes”, “prophets” (Mt.11, 2-10). He seeks only what he has already established through his own desires and imagination, and his absolute attachment will be flawed and disordered. So the rats follow the Pied Piper, thinking they are on their way to salvation.

Everyone knows this episode that happened in Hameln, Germany in the 13th century. In 1280, the inhabitants of this city were in despair as famine and plague destroyed their community. One day a man appeared to them in a shining garment, as in the words of Christ. The mayor fell under the spell of his promises, because he offered to destroy all the dwellings in exchange for a thousand crowns. The treaty was signed and a miracle happened: the man played the flute and was dragged down to the Weser River, thousands of rats threw themselves head first at him and drowned. Obviously, after the release, the citizens of Hameln refused to fulfill their obligations and stoned the Pied Piper. The latter returned to the city in the stillness of the night, and drew all the children, one hundred and thirty boys and girls, behind them into a cave, the entrance of which was closed forever.

This is the fate that awaits those who are tempted to follow the first magicians of the future, even those who confuse master with servant, who are hypnotized by what glitters, what is bright, what makes noise. We must beware of all attachments which are not inspired by truth, but which arise from our passions, emotions, preferences, and opinions. We may find ourselves at the bottom of a river or in the darkness of a cave. There are many flute players in this world, especially in the political sphere, but not only: they are in journalism, public education, the “arts” and also, unfortunately, within the church, in false religions and sects. We are not short of talented musicians in speaking or writing, acting or acting. Our encounters are rarely like those of Jesus and John the Baptist: Truth and a voice preparing for Truth. They mostly occur under the air of the pipe. It is enough to mention the collective hysteria of the crowd in the stadium, political rally, demonstration. A man known as a great man has generally nothing to say or show but the mediocrity of his instincts or the falsity of his false convictions. Just as it would be better to look twice at the object of our passions, which rushes us after very disagreeable characters. Too often we are happy to be swayed by idlers and peddlers of false hope.

Our worst enemy is ourselves

In fact, as all spiritual leaders since the Desert Fathers have noted and observed, our worst enemy is ourselves. Jesuit Dominique Bouhours, 17th centurywrote in the century Christian thoughts for each day of the month :

“Man has nothing to fear but himself. His own weakness should make him tremble more than all the powers of hell. One word, one breath, one look is enough to defeat him. Adam sinned; Solomon forgot God; Saint Peter denied Jesus Christ. If the wind blows down the cedars, what will happen to the reeds? A man is most defeated without being attacked. Our passions and feelings are always conspiring against us: our own heart is our most dangerous enemy. Men whom oppressions could not bring down fell in the wilderness: After they had defeated oppressors and demons, they were defeated by their lusts. Be careful never to tame yourself” (XV day).

We are flute players unto ourselves, without the need of a distant musician to conjure us. Little music plays in our minds, hearts, and souls, prompting us to follow what we decide is most attractive, regardless of the many divine warnings and the experience of all our elders. .

Crucified finger

They simply charm our ears and tell us what to expect, under the pretense of comforting us in our feelings and judgments, and in a disorderly attachment to such and such a person, they lead us into a wilderness where we will lose track. Indeed, the true one. John the Baptist was so insistent on his disciples to understand that he was nothing but a finger pointing to the Crucified – as he is magnificently represented by Grünewald in the Issenheim Altarpiece. It can even happen in spiritual direction or accompaniment. In 1641, Monsieur Jean-Jacques Olier warned a believer about excessive attachment to his spiritual father: “Often, by being too attached to him, a man finds himself deprived of the true knowledge he needs, and our Lord takes them away from him. even of the principals, for he is jealous to be recognized as the great principal of the Church and of all her children. »

It does not provide any other advantages that we expect. Let us not pretend to be influenced by so many other voices in the world to excuse our indifference, to explain that Christ is not at the center of our lives, to justify our confusion and our superiority over all the flute players. . We are the masters of our choices. Judas did not need anyone to put a noose around his neck. He fled into the darkness like the rats of legend. Advent, which is waiting, is a moment of decisive choices: to follow Caesar and his works, or to plant in his heart the Cross of the Coming One.

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