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New Thoughts on an Old Tradition

On one of my shorter flights this past summer, I re-read a book that kept appearing in various ways.   So I got the clue and refreshed my understanding of these very simple concepts.

The Four Agreements is written by a Mexican born physician who came from a long line of “wisdom” healers.  His pursuit and success to western medicine was derailed after a near death experience involving a motor vehicle accident.

The faith he turned to was based on his family tradition.

However, as in so many faith traditions, there is much commonality in the core values.

In the next 300 words, I’d like to share his revelations and put them in the context of a Catholic faith tradition.   I highly recommend this book and wish I had access to this thinking as I was ‘domesticating’ my four children.  And I deplore the labeling of it as “new age” religion, when the Toltec civilization is ancient.  I also believe our God manifested Himself in all the ancient civilizations.

This was St. Paul’s approach even as he encounters the Athenians and their worship of the unknown god.  God makes himself known in the Truth.

The purpose here is to bridge these traditions with the life of Jesus and his teachings.

Essentially there are four ancient agreements to hold in our hearts to feel the limitless love God intended for us.

Be impeccable with our word

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word is God.”

John 1:1-2.   Imagine if our words could even resemble the sentiment of this statement.  Our words as a force or as a seed for the fertile mind.   As a recovering New Yorker, this is a struggle.   To be impeccable means to be without sin. Do the words we speak, but even more importantly, think, exist without sin? It’s obvious how we can easily use our words to damage others.  But think about what we tell ourselves.  When we self-comment about ourselves (appearance, aptitude, wealth, worthy) negatively, we are rejecting ourselves and the Spirit that lives within us.  There are a few commandments around this concept.  “Do not bear false witness”…I believe that is not only to our neighbor but to ourselves.

Don’t take anything personally

How many times can we tell our tweens, teenagers and young adults that when people act with malice, they are responding to a wound in themselves? Because not everyone is impeccable with their words it causes needless pain and suffering.   As they say when you consider the source, the weight of negativity is voided.  On the flip side, it allows us the freedom to share Jesus’ truth, Gospel and life freely. Sharing the unconditional love and mercy of God is what we are called to do.  And not fearing the response of new potential believer is liberating.

Do not make assumptions

The Bible is chock full of warnings not to make assumptions about other’s motives, Jesus’ intentions (Luke 12:52) or why evil exists (John 9:1-7).   Assuming just leads to damage in relationships.   The solution is to always ask questions, communicate and to find your clear voice.

Do your best

“God is life. God is life in action. The best way to say ‘I love you God’ is to live your life doing your best.”  It’s in living our life well that we express our divinity (2 Peter 1:4).   And in everything we do it in the name of God.  “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

These four Toltec commandments, agreements, orders, instructions, decrees…whichever you choose to label them, offer simple guardrails as well to help us reach our God given potential,  the promise of eternal life and the avoidance of hell.

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Liz Banko

Liz Banko

Liz is a native New Yorker has found herself living in a number of states with husband, Peter, of 25 years for their commitment to Catholic healthcare.

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