All It Takes


It's the time of Passover and Easter, when large numbers of people around the world are mindful of the biblical admonition to “Be holy, for I, your God, am holy.”

Be holy? Easier said than done. Or is it?

Some scholars estimate that it was more than 3,300 years ago when God gave Moses the Torah, with a full program to fulfill His call to holiness—more than 600 admonitions.

According to one story, the revered Rabbi Hillel, two thousand years ago, was asked to explain his religion—within the time one could stand on a single leg. Hillel’s riposte:

What is hateful to you, do not unto your fellow man: this is the whole Law; the rest is explanation.

Almost 3,000 years ago, the earliest texts of The Book of the Dead came down to us from Egypt’s Old Kingdom. The Hall of Maat was described in these writings, where Divine judgment of the dead was performed with the aid of a simple balance. On one scalepan was the dead one's heart, representing his conscience. On the other pan lay a feather, representing truth, justice and morality. To gain access to the eternal Fields of Peace, the heart could not weigh more than the feather.

According to the Egyptian text, one man under judgment pleaded his case this way:

I have never made anyone cry. I have never caused anyone to be afraid.

Jesus Christ gave this teaching:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.

French Philosopher Simone Weil, who died during the darkest days of Word War II, left us this:

People who treat as equal those whose relative strength is far below their own truly give them a gift of the quality of human beings.

Then there’s Mother Teresa, pictured above, who is today regarded as holy by believers and non-believers alike. A prominent man once asked spiritual advice of her. Mother Teresa told him:

Spend half an hour each day with your Maker, then do what you know is right.

Are you finding a common denominator in three millennia of pondering what it is that gives human life transcendent value? Are you getting a glimpse of the wonderful world it would be if humankind lived according to these words?

To my way of thinking, if we can close out our lives saying nothing more than, “I never made anyone cry, I never made anyone feel afraid,” we were of value. We were holy.

That’s all it takes. Except that it takes our all.

In my next blog, “Number 1 and Number 2"

Buy my newest book, Fat Guy in a Fat Boat, in print or Kindle from Amazon:

Also available is my e-book, A Light from Within, about the small moments of our lives that seem commonplace until they are examined under a creative lens.

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  • William J McKay
    followed this page 2015-04-04 10:14:41 -0400