February 6, 2016
"How shall a young man be faultless in his way?
Only by observing your words." (PS. 119:9)
There is a myth about Boyoma, the great warrior.
Boyoma became a legend and the legend became a master and the master became myth, as no one knew why he quit the glory, where he went, why he disappeared.
In their old tradition of war, a warrior was forbidden from thinking about two things: love and pain, because they were considered as paths to vulnerability against one’s own self, which could become the strongest enemy to defeat.
This reflection is not about Boyoma, but what made Boyoma great.
It is said that Boyoma never had any children of his own, but a boy he found in a village for whom he became a father. Boyoma trained the boy to become a warrior, to defend the poor, and to discover his own glory.
One day the young warrior raised a forbidden question.
"Master, when I say the word 'love' what comes to your mind?"
Boyoma responded: "God".
The young warrior not understanding the answer, dared to ask a second question:
"Master, when I say the word "pain" what comes to your mind?"
"God" responded the old master again.
The young warrior’s curiosity was elevated, just like the fear for having raised such forbidden questions.
“Master…with all my honor laid upon your hands, can you give me a more human answer?” He asked once more, and with intriguing benevolence continued “Why is ‘GOD’ what defines your sighs and sorrows?”
Without hesitation and with serene diligence the good old master Boyoma responded:
“You have the courage to ask what the silence murdered once, but no corpse can ever remain fatigued for eternity. And even if your questions meant death at the time, the answers and your courage are invigorating, so I would not respond what you should hear from me and other, but what I ought to say.
My young pupil God is love, God is pain.
When many think of love their eyes kindle like the northern lights, but when I think of love I even lose my sight, because my heart like a torch gets ignited by a flame, brighter than a thousand auroras.
This flame comes from the Holy Ghost, and I ought to admit it hurts.
It hurts because my heart is a stone, it hurts because one needs to be alive to be gifted with such pain, it hurts because my armor gets in the way and it needs to be pierced.
It hurts because it was when the winter of time coated my hair that this truth found me.
No so long ago, in the chaos of my inner misery when my sword bled some tears I raised my battle cry and claimed:
‘If pain is the safest path to you Lenten tears
may the tears I shed kiss the soil
and the heavens rain holy drops of oil.
Let the earth erupt hallowed trees of olive
That I will burn and anoint my forehead with.
LET THERE BE PAIN!’
And there was pain, a voice in the desert called. This voice cried out to me: «What are you protecting yourself from? Who do you pretend to be? Is the armor necessary to keep yourself alive? Are you afraid to die… or afraid to live? Oh Sweet little leper your armor is a joke! A cover, a sad facade. You are no warrior! You are a coward? Warriors don’t need armors or swords, a shield is enough… the truth is enough! »
And when the ash of the fourth day kissed the front of my head, in his mercy he gave me the courage to detach the armor from my soul. Little by little it came off. I could almost see the pus and hear the flies surrounding, and the rotten smell of my flesh at last came to confess what lied beneath all these: my sins.
Young warrior, it was with pain that he carried the cross.
My pain means nothing to me, but it means a lot to him. My pain was the pain of a thousand voices screaming within, not surrendering the armor I used to guard myself from the God seeking to transform me.
I have lost the war I declared against God, my sword is now a mirror, but my flesh is weak and would always give a fight to remain ambiguous.
Have you thought of God young warrior? His heart delights with your smile, and his heart also suffers when you step into hell even for the shortest mile.
God is love young one, but not the love that steals your reason, but the love which inspires us to do what others consider unreasonable. It is the kind of love which makes one desire to move a mountain, it purifies, it is immaculate, divine, everlasting, persisting, and sacred. His love is like the seven cataracts that never cease to lay down their waters. His power is so strong, it purifies and makes you whole and reaches out even to the deepest, darkest corner of your soul.
God is pain young warrior, but not the pain that destroys you, but the pains that restores, exults, dignifies. It is the kind of pain which makes one desire to love more. God is pain, like the labor pains that enunciates life, a pain which is just and necessary. Like the agony of prayer late at night, sweating blood which brought forth the serenades of an angel. Like the shooting stars when they fall in love, they go far from home but they shine is outstanding.
No matter the sorrow, no matter the penance, there is always a vigil worth keeping your guard on.
Young one, in the life of a warrior there will always be pain so you better turn it into God. Because you are better off chanting about an empty tomb than a life-long debt.
God is perfect love, God is perfect pain. Because we are incapable of perfect love, and full of imperfect pain, it is in the paschal mystery of the passion of the real Master that he shows us the beauty of both: pain and love in his blood and water which gushed forth for the souls of those who most need of his mercy.
Love and pain, one and one on each side of the cross with the face of a thief. Always with the hope to be what must become when there is faith and one is still breathing.
Love and pain. One day when this war is over we will become only one of these for eternity. That’s why young warrior you must choose your battles wisely, and his yoke always take upon.”
The young warrior did not understand this well so he recollected himself into the deepest silence. Waiting to one day live these things and be great like his master.
May we also enter into this deep silence as Lent approaches us.
Pray for us.