Sunday, January 11, 2015

Jan 11 - The Beauty That Oozes

Praise the Lord, O my soul! *
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
Psalm 146:1

...proposing God's commandments to a receptive community with words, but demonstrating God's instructions to the stubborn and the dull by a living example.
Benedict's Rule 2.12 (Chittister, Pg 37)

Benedict is saying that the function of spiritual leadership is not to intimidate people into submission by fear or guilt. The function of spiritual leadership is to show in our own lives the beauty that oozes out of those who live the spiritual life to the fullest.
Chittister, Pg 39
When first looking at this portion of Benedict's Rule, I had the sense I could skip these instructions as I am not a spiritual leader, I am not a prioress or an abbot. Upon reflection I think again. I think of the community that is, hopefully, developing at St. George's, I think of my own life where I lead others at work, and where I co-lead a wonderful two-person community of being a married couple...

At home and at work it isn't fair to ask others to spend time I am not willing to spend or to do things I am not willing to do. I am to do my part, I am to lead by example. (This isn't to say I can do everything that others can do. The others I work with do things that I can't. For example, I work with experts that do things with technical equipment. I ask them to operate and care for that equipment. I make sure they have the resources, time, and training to do their work. Then I stay out of their way as much as possible.)

Our budding instance of the Community of Hope at St. George's is another place where we all will be leading, where we can all lead with both words and example. We hope to provide comfort, stability, and a listening ear where there may be pain, frustration, even loneliness. We will often lead only by example, being examples of presence, hope, peace, and love...

We do lead, may our leadership be such that beauty does ooze from us as we live our spiritual lives.

A Note To Anyone Reading:

This entry is part of a series that is developing as I read The Rule of Benedict, A Spirituality for the 21st Century, Joan Chittister, Crossroads, 2010. I am offering this both to those at St. George's Episcopal Church, Arlington VA, that may be reading Ms. Chittister's book and to anyone that is interested.

Unless stated otherwise quotes from St. Benedict's Rule from the translation in this same book.

Psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church, 1979 unless otherwise noted.

Comments are welcome, and encouraged, please use the blog comment feature.

1 comment:

gsallman said...

For everyone to be a spiritual leader is part of the Baptismal Covenant. Even more specifically on page 308 of the BCP it says:

We receive you into the household of God. Confess the faith of Christ crucified, proclaim his resurrection, and share with us in his eternal priesthood.

"and share with us in his eternal priesthood." We are all set to be spiritual leaders. However, it doesn't mean we all have to be called to be priests.

I'm humbled by the fact that most days I post prayers on behalf of my church and diocese. Those prayers often have a far wider reach than the words spoken within the walls of the buildings themselves. I'm not called to be a priest, but I certainly show others that they too can share The Word without being ordained.