Peace, one and all…
Our beloved master Jesus (as) is reported to have said:
‘None of you can come to true belief until he no longer cares to be praised for his worship of God Almighty and no longer cares to partake of the goods of this world.”
Abu Talib al-Makki, Qut al-Qulub,
With these words, beloved Jesus (as) reminds us that belief, which renders iman, can only be real when it is sincere. Sincerity can only be made whole when it is pure, and for worship to be pure it must exist without regard for the opinions of others.
In this moment, these words are of great help. If my worship feels robotic, then I need to examine my heart closely: am I acting purely for God, or in order to be seen by others? To what extent am I playing to an audience? Clarity of intention is crucial. It is vital that we know why we are performing any given action. Clarity is achieved through day to day effort, through constant examination of our deeds, and the psychogical states underpinning them. Beloved Jesus calls us to the deep, inner work of purification, of becoming slowly aware of our limitations and of gently exposing them to the Divine’s loving truth.
We are also called to see beyond this world, and its transitory goods. Things are not a problem in themselves, but unhelpful attachments to them are. Indeed, these powerful words of Jesus are all about unhelpful attachments. Whether we focus on the opnions of others or on their possessions, or even ‘our’ own worship, we are still focusing on things of this passing world.
These words also speak deeply about the need to detach my heart from worrying about outcomes. We plan and the Divine plans, and God’s hand is over ours. Therefore, although I plan my actions and hope for certian results, obsessing about ultimate outcomes fools my heart into thinking it actually has the independent power to bring them to pass. There is no power or agency except in God.
And my last prayer is in praise of God, Lord of all the worlds.