Don’t Resist –
This afternoon I stepped outside and the warmer temperatures wrapped me like a blanket. The sun shone on me and the warm breeze stirred my soul. It’s been cold the past few weeks. Only a couple of days ago the ground was covered with snow and ice. Today, there is little snow to be seen and the remnants are being chased away by the balmy weather. The kicker is I didn’t have anything to do with the high and low temps, the sun or the clouds filling the sky, the wild difference between now and the near past. All I did was stay warm on the cold days and breathe in the warmth this afternoon.
Life is mostly filled with things we have no control over. We want the ability, the power to make things bend to our will but this is an illusion. If we pursue this type of control our lives will be filled with suffering. The secret to contentment and peace is to allow life to progress at its pace and accept what we think is good and bad, wanted and unwanted, desired and abhorred.
When we are able to practice this discipline we discover the ever-present now is exactly what it needs to be and so are we.
“One must be chaste, sober and merciful.
Exalt mercy above judgment,
that one may obtain mercy.
Love the brothers and sisters.
In administering correction
one should act prudently and not go to excess,
lest in seeking too eagerly to scrape off the rust
one breaks the vessel.
Keep one’s own frailty ever before their eyes
and remember that the bruised reed must not be broken.”
Rule of Saint Benedict, Chapter 64
No Earthly Good –
I believe this is such a beautiful description of leadership. I have no idea how many times I’ve read this section of the Rule of Saint Benedict (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_Saint_Benedict) over the years that I’ve been a Benedictine Oblate, (http://www.osb.org/obl/intro.html) but each time it speaks to me in the deepest of places.
I think it stirs my spirit today because of the leadership changes we will soon have in our nation. No matter which side of the political landscape you occupy, it’s hard to make an argument that our President-Elect personifies the above description, or is a Christlike model.
This worries me. It worries me because of what it emboldens in others. Too often, harsh, rash, unbalanced leadership doesn’t cause people to reflect but to react. If you’re for a more “strong, forceful, expect respect, my way or the highway” type of leading and now witness that it can take you to the most powerful position on the planet you might be tempted to adopt the; “might equals right” attitude you are witnessing. If you’re on the other side you may take a forceful, coercive stance to object and resist.
I worry about my brothers and sisters who are so politically minded they aren’t much Kingdom good. They don’t, can’t see Jesus in our new leadership and don’t seem to be looking very hard.
So, I worry, reminded that the Master says; “Do not worry.” Though our Teacher does not personify worldly power his Kingdom will never pass away.