May 2009 Issue 18

Finding Sanctuary

Sanctuary is a word coming back into fashion. Books are published on how to find one's own place to be at peace, monks extol its virtue from the tranquillity of their cloisters, and seekers flock to such holy places. For centuries sanctuary has meant a place of safety, security, and belonging. Until recent times, this was generally honoured by everyone although disregarded by kings and princes in their desire for power.

Tragic stories from Bosnia, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Darfur show that places of sanctuary are now places of blood, places of death. Faithful believers entered for safety only to be violated, killed en-masse, and then removed in coffins. When evil stalks the world then there is no physical place that can offer sanctuary, no place of peace, no place of security.

We forget these horrific stories and tragedies as we focus on our turbulent economic times. Widespread confusion and depression for the future has led people to seek sanctuary again. Established religion offers their concept of sanctuary in quiet churches, monasteries, open oak doors, and even woodland and sea shores. These may help. But they are only places and for many beyond possibility in their everyday frantic lives.

Thomas' Jesus tells us of the Real Sanctuary, our inner Sanctuary, our Divine Centre. In one of the early logia, the disciples ask Jesus "Show us the Place where you are.." and he replied with his traditional 'pay attention':

#24 He who has ears, let him hear;
There is light at the centre of a man of light,
and he illumes the whole world.
If he does not shine, there is darkness

This is no place in the world, but the Divine Centre that we all seek.

More logia show us Jesus' concept of sanctuary:

#4 ask a little child of seven days about the Place of Life
#49 Happy are the loners and the chosen for you shall find the Kingdom
#60 You yourselves, seek after a Place for yourself within repose

So use the media's new interest in the word "sanctuary" to remind yourself of the Real Place, the Real Sanctuary where you belong, where you will be at peace, at rest, and joyful.