Meister Eckhart


An Insidious Idol

Commerce is supported by keeping the individual at odds
with himself and others, by making us want more than we need, and
offering credit to buy what refined senses do not want.

The masses become shackled; I see how their eyes weep
and are desparate–of course they feel desperate–for something,
for some remedy

that a poor soul then feelsĀ needsĀ 
to be bought.

I find nothing more offensive than a god
who could condemn human instincts in us that time in all its wonder
have made perfect.

I find nothing more destructive to the well-being of life
than to support a god that makes you feel unworthy and in debt to it.
I imagine erecting churches to such a strange god will assure
endless wars that commerce loves.

A god that could frighten is not a god–but an insidious idol
and weapon in the hands of
the insane.

A god who talks of sin is worshipped
by the infirm;

I was once spiritually ill–we all pass through that–
but one day the intelligence
in my soul
cured
me.

Saint Hilarion (5th century)

Instead, today we fight a more dangerous persecutor, an enemy who flatters us, namely the mighty Roman emperor. He no longer wounds our backs, he bedecks our chests with medals. He doesn’t confiscate our goods; on the contrary, he gives us gifts. He doesn’t force us to be really free by locking us up; he sends us into slavery by honoring us in his palace. He doesn’t attack us with his resources, but he takes possession of our hearts. He doesn’t hack our heads off with the sword, he kills our spirit with gold. He doesn’t officially threaten us with the stake, but he secretly kindles the fire of hell. He doesn’t wage any battles against us, but he adores our Christ, so he can reign unhindered. He proclaims unity, but he prevents communion.”