SUNDAY SERVICE: How High Should We Aspire? – Shantidev

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Sunday Service Week 17: How High Should We Aspire?

Reading from Rays of the One Light

Truth is one and eternal. Realize oneness with it in your deathless Self, within.

The following commentary is based on the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda.

The passage this week is from the Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 5:

I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The easiest explanation for these words is that they were spoken in criticism of the scribes and Pharisees, particularly since Jesus was often verbally attacked by them, and stood up to them fearlessly. However, it wouldn’t have been much of a challenge to the disciples, who aspired to spiritual perfection, to tell them, “Don’t be like those who lack any such aspiration.”

Jesus in fact says only a few verses later, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

What Jesus was referring to here, then, was the self- righteousness of the priests. Don’t seek perfection, he was saying to his disciples, in the image you project toward others. Don’t be satisfied with a goodness born merely of ego-definitions. The highest virtue is to transcend the very thought of personal virtue in the realization of God alone as the Doer. Before this realization, even the thought, “I am kind,” or, “I am truthful,” is self-limiting.

As it says in the Bhagavad Gita, the seventh Chapter:
Yet hard the wise Mahatma is to find,
That man who sayeth, “All is Vasudev!”

Thus, through holy scripture, God has spoken to mankind.

Reading from Affirmations for Self-Healing

Humility is not self-deprecation; it is self- forgetfulness! It is knowing that God alone is the Doer. It is the realization that nothing in this shadow-world of appearances is all that important, except as it draws us closer to the Lord.

Never tell yourself that you are sinful, or weak, or incompetent, or lazy, except as such a statement may help you to surrender joyfully to God’s power. Then live by that power! Never wear the mask of false humility. Humility is self-acceptance, and self-honesty. You have a right to all power if you seek it in Infinity, and if you never hold the thought that it resides in your little self.

Practice this affirmation out loud, guided by Swami Kriyananda

I live by Thy power, Lord. What I have is ever Thine-ever Thine!

Prayer

Thou art the Doer, Lord, not I. Express Thy perfection through me, as I strive ever eagerly to live in Thy light!

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