Thursday, October 17, 2013

May It Not Be Held Against Them!

Feast of Saint Luke, Evangelist

By Melanie Rigney

At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. (2 Timothy 4:16-17)

Your friends make known, O Lord, the glorious splendor of your Kingdom. (Psalms 145:12)

(Jesus told the seventy-two:) “Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The Kingdom of God is at hand for you.’” (Luke 10:8-9)

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway. (Kent M. Keith, “Paradoxical Commandments of Leadership”)

Consider this: You’re nineteen years old, and you write a booklet for high school student leaders that you think is pretty good. In fact, you think it’s good enough that either you or your father goes through the process of actually copyrighting the text with the Library of Congress. Nearly thirty years later, you’re attending a service club meeting and you hear almost exactly the words you wrote so long ago, titled “Anyway”… and attributed to Teresa of Calcutta.

That’s what happened to Kent M. Keith. I heard him speak at a writers’ conference maybe a dozen years ago, where he told the story of the Paradoxical Commandments and his efforts—polite and measured—to defend his copyright. He didn’t scream and yell about how he’d been defrauded. In essence, he followed his own advice, set down all those years ago. He loved anyway those who had used his work without permission, intentionally or unintentionally.

I thought of Kent Keith recently when I heard a radio public service announcement attributing the Paradoxical Commandments to Blessed Teresa. I thought of him recently when I talked with a friend who was upset about an acquaintance who recently took credit for hard work my friend did years ago. I thought of him recently when someone I had written off for a very real but I believe now unintentional cruelty took some brave steps toward restoring our relationship.

Kent Keith is right. We all are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered, sometimes despite our very best efforts to be logical, reasonable, and altruistic. St. Paul undoubtedly felt the same way when none of his “friends” appeared at his first defense. In today’s first reading, he urged his followers not to hold that against those people. He loved them anyway… in the same way Kent Keith did nearly two thousand years later… and in the same way Christ urges us to every day of our lives.


The 127th Arlington Men’s Cursillo began last night at the San Damiano Spiritual Life Center. Pray that the candidates and team may grow the ability to love anyway through their time together with Christ.

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