20. Feb, 2014


Mechtild of Magdeburg (1210-1280) said,'The Creator has given us two wines to drink from: the white wine of bliss, harmony and ectasy, and the red wine of pain, suffering, and loss.' So while we are on earth should we simply choose the white wine, which would easily lead to a disconnect with reality; a weakening of empathy for others' misfortunes, or should we choose the red wine, which will lead us into a victim mentality; or is there a third possibility that Mechtild was hinting at? This one is the realisation that each wine helps the other in terms of fruitfulness. It is this dialectic or conversation between pain and hope that if joined into a co-operative loop, helps us to cope with the Dark, knowing that the Light is not only more powerful, but is more meaningful. The people of Ukraine and the Russian government at this moment have exactly the dilemma that Mechtild referred to. Choosing the red wine will bring forth pain of military intervention, as well as a dualistic approach by the E.U. with their strong encouragements to the Ukrainians, to come "and join us". Whereas a dialectic would explore the strategic, the psychological and finally the spiritual (wherein is Hope and Light). This all requires a holistic approach to life. One that reminds us all that life is a GIFT, not a THING to be dispensed with as and when. 'Charity (true friendship of others) is installed into us and preserved into us,by God,as the sun gives light. A single obstacle to the sun's rays cuts off those rays, so does a single obstacle to God's action in the soul cuts off charity.' (St.Thomas Aquinas).

Perhaps at the very least, all those involved in negotiations of whatever kind, would do well to reflect on that point.

Thank you, Tom Baxter