Stand for Love

Give me a lever and a place to stand “for Love”and I will move the world. —Archimedes

Archimedes (c. 287–c. 212 BC), a Greek philosopher and mathematician, noticed that if a lever was balanced in the correct place, on the correct fulcrum, it could move proportionally much greater weight than the force applied. Archimedes imagined a fixed point, the fulcrum, in space. If the Earth rested on the short end of a lever, close to the fulcrum, and Archimedes was pulling down on the other extremely long end of the lever, then theoretically his small weight would be multiplied enough to move the world.

The fixed point is our place to stand. It is a contemplative stance: steady, centered, poised, and rooted.  To gain distance from the world—we have to allow time for withdrawal from business as usual, for meditation, for going into  our private room. (Matthew 6:6). However, in order for this not to become escapism, we have to remain quite close to the world at the same time, loving it, feeling its pain and its joy as our pain and our joy. So the fulcrum, that balancing point, must be in the real world.

In order to have the capacity to “move the world,” we ironically need some distancing and detachment from the diversionary nature and delusions of mass culture and false self. Contemplation builds on the hard ground of reality—as it is—without ideology, denial, or fantasy.

And so the cycle of life begins. And you are never sure which is feeding which, or whether it is action or contemplation that comes first. They live through one another, and neither of them can exist healthily by themselves. But finally you will have both your lever (your action or delivery system) and your prayerful place to stand. From there, you can move your bit of the world, because you are being moved yourself inside a Much Larger Flow and Dance.

Paraphrased from From Richard Rohr OFM

Sister Rita Petruziello CSJ

July 15, 2017