Sunday, July 01, 2007

St Christopher - Christophorus

This legendary Saint was removed from the roster by the Catholic Church, because the historical accuracy of the story was in doubt. We can presently look at this anew, and recognize that the spiritual accuracy of the story cannot be open to any doubt.

As legend has it, Reprobus was a Roman of giant stature (and of course "Roman" a subject of Caesar, much like "Jew" in the NT materials) symbolizes one who had loyalties to something other than Jesus, and one day he decided to follow Jesus. He ended up making his living ferrying people over a ford in a wild river, because with his stature he could give them the support necessary to do so.

One day a child came to him and wanted to be carried across, and Reprobus took the child on his back, only to find out that the child became heavier and heavier, and finally revealed to him that he was Jesus. And he baptized Christophorus in the wild river, and told him that henceforth his name was to be Christophorus, i.e. "Christ bearer," and advised him to plant his staff firmly in the ground, where it promptly turned into a fruit-bearing tree. And then the legend has it that this miracle converted many. That last part sounds like typical Christian proselytizing, which is hardly the point of the story. If anything the point of the story is that in the words of the Course the path the of Atonement, which seems so unduly heavy to us at times in the end leads to the realization that we're giving up nothing for everything, and in imagery that has strong parallels in the Jesus tradition (some of the Thomas and Q sayings), our barren staff with which we support ourselves (barely) in this world, turns into a fruit-bearing tree that feeds us abundantly, beyond our wildest dreams.

We may also be reminded here of Thomas Logion 90, which in Pursah's rendering says: "Come to me, for my yoke is comfortable and my lordship is gentle, and you will find the rest for yourselves." For indeed, it is the ego in us which finds the thinks that Jesus seems to ask of us to be a heavy burden, but the truth is that the ego in us has to become less so that Jesus can become more, and we momentarily realize that the only burden was the ego's resistance, and that in the world Jesus leads us into all is light and abundance.

Acknowledgment: the spiritual significance of the Christophorus legend was first brought to my attention through the work of Jan Willem Kaiser. (For some more background info the link under the title will connect the reader to a Wikipedia entry on St. Christopher.)

Copyright, © 2007 Rogier F. van Vlissingen. All rights reserved.
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