The Preaching of Trees
The following is a thoughtful sermon (...) composed by Bro. Manuel (Merten, OP) and preached to the community (...) at Queen of Peace Monastery on 9 September 2016.—Sister Elizabeth Marie
Jesus also told them a parable: "Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher. Why do you see the speck in your neighbour's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, 'Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour's eye."
When, for example, people talk too enthusiastically about the beauty of trees, presumably they have not been near a tree for a long time. Trees are great silent beings, and they make us silent when we are near them. Thomas Merton once said: "No writing on the solitary meditative dimensions of life can say anything that has not already been said better by the wind in the pine trees."
When people talk too enthusiastically about Jesus we need not take it as proof that they know what they are talking about. They may be talking theories and ideas; all the ingredients may be there, but no spark. If there is no reticence, no silence between the words, no sense of being in the heart of mystery, then the words might not mean much.
In moments of deep silence, we 'know'; we don't 'know about'. There is a big difference between these. 'Knowing about' is theoretical knowledge. That word 'about' is like a wedge between the person and the thing. We insert it because we don't want to lose ourselves or to give ourselves up; we want to remain in control.
"Why do you see the speck in your neighbour's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?" The way to stop judging others is to get rid of this distancing word 'about'. There is no distance. The speck in your brother's eye is a chip off the plank that is in your own. Jesus saw projection long before psychology identified it. Therefore he exhorts us again and again: Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.