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THE SERPENT THAT HEALS

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Avoid evil as much as you can, but when it catches hold of you, corners you, besieges you, harasses you, invades you, when it takes the upper hand on top of you, overcomes you, owns you, masters you, turn towards it. Look at it into its eyes, give it a large smile, open your door to it, have it enter your home, welcome it as a friend. By doing so, you will unseat it. Its adrenalin will go down by one half. Its blood pressure will fall; its heartbeat will split in two. It will not know what to do with its claws and its teeth. It will feel embarrassed, uncomfortable, confused, and maybe shameful.

You will tell him:

«You are not my enemy since you are part of me. You are my twin brother who is misunderstood and an outcast. Sit down. Get your breath back. Make yourself comfortable. Make yourself at home!

You are all that I do not want to be; you are that part of myself that I reject, hate, that I try since ever to push back in the most remote recesses of my being. You are all that I hate about myself. You, you love me, since you do not have life without me, but me, I hate you because I believe that it is you who ruins my life. Yet, you are one half of myself. You are Abel, and I am Cain.

Never did I succeed in expelling you entirely from me, and this is o.k., since I would have lost one half of what I am, and I would have died. The more I fight against you, the more I hurt myself. Boomerang.

Better make peace. Talk to one another. Try to understand one another. If you are sick, it is because I hated you all my life. The sickness that you bring to me, it is I who gave it to you. If you poison me, it is my fault. And now, maybe it is too late, I do not know. Anyway, let us make peace before we die.

You have no horns, you have no claws, and you are not wicked. It is I who imagined you to be like that. You are not inflexible, you are not ugly, you are not stupid, and you are not a monster or a demon.»

«Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent... Whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered» (Numbers 21, 9).

«Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life» (John 3, 14-15).

Jesus torn to bits and hanging on the cross is the mirror that sends back to me the image of my evil and of the evil of humanity.

There are hidden the face of God and the beginning of my healing.

Translated from the French by Jacques Bourdages

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