Saturday, November 21, 2009

Leadership on Heaven's Terms

"Our Lord said to his disciples, See, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Many, when they are put in a position of authority, are eager to tear their subordinates to pieces, showing only the alarming side of power, and hurting those they are called to serve. So eager are they to be in control that there is no love in their hearts, and they forget that they are called to nurture others. They turn from humility to pride and dominance, and if they sometimes stoop to flatter those around them they are full of rage inside. Our Lord says of them in another place that they come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

Against all this, remember that we are sent like lambs among wolves. Those who undertake the pastoral office should not be the cause of suffering but rather endure it. By their gentleness they can then allay the anger of the violent. Being wounded ourselves by ill-treatment, we can heal the wounds of other sinners. If our zeal for justice ever requires us to show anger, let it spring from love rather than brutality. Then discipline is honored, and we have in our hearts a parent's love for those we are chastising."

St. Gregory the Great (John Leinenweber trans.)

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