Sunday, July 17, 2011

Something solid for a Sunday evening

Given all of the negativity and consternation that is generated by the so-called Catholic blogosphere, I believe that it is both necessary and useful to point out once in awhile there is also much that is good and truly valuable that emanates from it. One of the truly valuable things about the Catholic blogosphere is that it provides a means of familiarizing us with practical things we would not otherwise know anything about. This is certainly true for about a post over on Vivificat about some observations made by Fr. Joseph Kentenich, founder of the Schönstatt Movement, written about by Fr. Nicholas Schwizer and entitled Eagles or Chickens. I don't mind admitting that I had never heard of this movement until about a month ago, but I was impressed by what I heard then. I certainly encourage you to read the entire piece, which is a valuable discernment tool.

The part of this piece that struck me was concerning leadership:
Another leadership quality is "firmness of character and principles." If tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, we have to our right or to our left someone of whom we are embarrassed, the community also ends up losing its own self-esteem. The leader must then be a person solidly rooted in the ultimate principles and truths, in the supernatural world. For that, he/she must study, know the doctrine of the Church and of his/her community.

Additionally, the leader personality must stand out for his/her "capacity to commit himself/herself, to accept and fulfill commitments." For the majority it is not too difficult to accept commitments. What really is difficult is to fulfill the assumed commitments.
Father Kentenich, founder of the Schoenstatt Movement

The capacity to commit yourself to fulfill the commitments you make entails "knowing how to reject commitments which one does not feel capable of fulfilling well." In other words, you must have the ability to simply say "No" to commitments you do not want to fulfill and to commitments you are incapable of fulfilling (i.e., everybody is not called to do everything). Very often we let ourselves be convinced by someone who we find persuasive and agree to do something, even "with the intention of not fulfilling it." Such a move reveals "a lack of responsibility, a lack of serious commitment."

The piece ends with this important and often glossed over injunction: "Our words should always express our inner conviction. If not, it is better that we remain silent!.....because someday we will be made accountable, also for what we say." A week or so ago I sent in response to my requested opinion about an article that was mildly critical of some episcopal responses to New York's law permitting so-called same-sex marriage this saying of Jesus: "Let your 'Yes' mean 'Yes,' and your 'No' mean 'No.' Anything else is from the evil one" (Matt 5:37). Within the charism to which I adhere, we don't talk about being chickens or eagles, but protagonists or nobodies.

So, a deep diaconal bow to Teófilo for bringing this valuable and very practical piece to my attention!

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