by jun asuncion
I have always considered the teachings of Jesus Christ not only as a philosophy of morals but also of transcendentalism, Jesus being the first transcendentalist, way back earlier than the German philosopher Immanuel Kant who had maintained that “all knowledge transcendental which is concerned not with objects but with our mode of knowing objects.”
According to its adherents, transcedental philosophical and religious principles are not based on “falsifiable sensuous experience, but from the inner, spiritual or mental essence of the human”.
The most famous, human experience-transcending teaching of Jesus is: ” Love Your Enemy”.
The whole verse is to be found in Matthew 5:43-44:
“You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.”
But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:43-44).”
Jesus has been telling his disciples to get out of the ordinary by asking them for instance what is being special or extra-ordinary in loving only the people who love you already?
Hence to be a Christian is to be extra ordinary- to be a transcendentalist, obviously not an easy discipline to practice for many of us.
This is how I understand the yearly celebration of Jesus’ birth, of Christmas Day, which is to remind us not to give up this difficult teaching but allow it to become part of our morals as we mature in our spiritual existence.
This is a concept not easy for anyone to grasp whose mental focus is very much fixated or embedded in the material sensation only. Only intuition and a very personal religious experience reveals to the person the immediate meaning of this particular teaching of Jesus.
So for me, when someone wishes me a “joyous Christmas” it is not an easy task but I thank that someone for helping in reminding me of this difficult teaching of “joyously” Loving Your Enemy.
On a very personal level, this Jesus’ teaching and this joyous wish are even much more complicated and maybe painful, yet interrelated. If you let me explain why, here it is:
In human experience, enemies (of varying degree and classification perhaps) do not come out of the blue or out of total strangers but they come mostly from your own personal acquaintances or friends- hence from people you once respected or even loved!
They come not directly from strangers for on the contrary, we usually win acquaintance or friendship from meeting with strangers, of getting to know the unknown.
Do you not notice also that when you’re in actual trouble they are your friends whom you lose the first and mostly help comes from just shallow acquaintances or even complete strangers?
Hence, it is friendship that also breeds enemies for expectations and interests of each one involved collide with time.
Jesus is right again in His logic: To Love Your Enemies should actually not be a difficult task for these enemies were once our friends we had loved and perhaps once shared our dreams and visions.