Saturday, October 17, 2015

Through His Suffering

By Jim Bayne

Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear. Isaiah 53:11)

Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. (Mark 10:43-44)

The Rule of Saint Benedict
The first rule is simply this:
Live this life and do whatever is done, in a spirit of Thanksgiving.

Abandon attempts to achieve security, they are futile,
Give up the search for wealth, it is demeaning,
Quit the search for salvation, it is selfish, and

Come to comfortable rest in the certainty that those who participate in this life with an attitude of Thanksgiving will receive its full promise.
– (From Always We Begin Again by John McQuiston II)

Our American culture of consumerism tells us that we must drive the latest car, have bright white and straight teeth, and use the fastest smartphone if we expect to be at the top of the heap. In today’s Gospel, James and John are asking Jesus to do for them what today’s hucksters promise they can do for us: put us ahead of our brothers and sisters; put us at the top of the heap. 

Jesus tells James and John and us that that is not the way it works. Joy is to be found in being a servant leader. Our true calling is to be servant leaders. True joy is to be found in doing for others. Pope Francis models this behavior.

The Piety segment above is taken from a modern adaptation of The Rule of Saint Benedict which tells us with some precision what we have to do and the attitude we need to adopt in order to find what James and John - and us - are really looking for. It is what Jesus taught. It is the very opposite of what our current culture values.

By taking time at the beginning and end of each day to reflect on all of the graces we have received that day, we can begin to appreciate God’s great love for us. Out of this gratitude, springs the desire to serve others; to become a servant leader.

Take time this week to reflect each day on the graces you have received: a parking space just when you needed it; reconnecting with an old friend; a good night’s sleep; a great dinner; a good report card for the kids. As you grow in awareness of how blessed you are, see if you don’t feel drawn to share your joy with others through service.

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