In Tamil, a South Indian language, there is a proverb which states that if you go up one foot you will come down by two feet. That has been the plight of many of us in our day to day life. When we try to begin something we face unnecessary troubles from unexpected corners.
Up you go, down you are pulled
In our spiritual life this is very common. We want to overcome certain temptations and make some resolutions. But soon come stronger temptations which make us falter and fall.
Jesus has warned about this. “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but not finding any, it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and the last state of that person is worse than the first.”(Luke 11:24-26)
Jesus has told us in many parables and examples about our ups and downs in life.
God Looks Down on the Poor and Brings them Up
This we see in the life of Mary. A poor unknown girl of Galilee was raised to be the Mother of God. God looked down and the whole humanity was raised up through a poor girl. Mary’s ‘Song of Praise’ (Magnificat) is a good example to explain ‘Up and down’ in human life.
Mary uses the term ‘Lowliness,’ to describe her own situation. She points out in her ’Magnificat’ the situation of many downtrodden.
“He looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.”(Luke 1:48)
With this announcement that God “looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant” Mary declares God as one who sides with the poor and the oppressed.
It is interesting to note that she presents so many ‘up and down’ examples as God’s work for the expendable of the society(showed, scattered, brought down, lifted up, filled, sent away). Going down in heart and spirit is the main criterion to reach up God.
Up and Down on the Cross
We can see another up and down scene on the Cross. We find Jesus hanging on the cross between two criminals. “One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us” Though with sarcasm, he demanded a miracle to come ‘down’. Whereas we find the other one saying, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He was praying to go ‘up’. When one demanded to come down, the other requested to think of him when Jesus is up in the Paradise.
Up and down scenes from The Old Testament
1) “Then said, “Come let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” The
Lord came down to see the city and tower which mortals had built.”(Genesis 11:4-5)
2) “When the Lord descended upon Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain, the Lord summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went UP.” (Exodus 19: 20) “When the people saw that Moses delayed to come DOWN from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make gods for us, who shall go before us”… He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf” (Exodus 32:1, 4)
I need not explains how these two incidents signify our concept of ‘up and down’.
Ours, a Life of Up and Down
Our life on this earth is a mere journey of ‘ups and downs’. It is a sea-saw experience. When one side goes up the other side comes down. It is inevitable. But we need a balanced life.
How can a Balanced Life be Possible?
A balanced life leading to a happy and successful life is possible with the grace of God. ‘Down’ on this earth, let’s hold the Providential hands of our Father ‘up’ in heaven.