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Tag Archives: suffering

Top 10 Quotes from Benedict's Rule: Part 2

The “Rule of Benedict” (RB) is considered one of the classic works of Western literature. More importantly, it challenges the result oriented, numbers-driven, “strategic” leadership models that surround us. Again, I invite you to prayerfully let God speak to you his insights: 1. “The fourth step of humility is that in this obedience under difficult, unfavorable, or even unjust conditions, his heart quietly embraces suffering and endures it” (RB 7:35). 2. “Our holy Fathers read the full psalter (all 150 psalms) in a single day. Let us hope that we, lukewarm as we are, can achieve it in a whole week” (RB 18:2-25). 3. We must know that God regards our purity of heart and tears of compunction, not our many words. Prayer should be short and pure” (RB 20:3). 4. “Sleep clothed. Thus the monks will always be ready to arise without delay when the signal is given; each will hasten to arrive at. Read more.

The Boston Marathon Tragedy

Yesterday’s attack at the Boston Marathon was tragic.  What can we say to others? to ourselves? Where was God? I offer you two fragments that help me in times like this. 1. Be comfortable in being silent. Job’s three friends “wept aloud, tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was (Job 2:11-13). It is when they started talking that they got in trouble! Notice their presence “with him,’ i.e. Job, in his suffering. 2. The ultimate knowledge of God is to know that we do not know. Thomas Aquinas was a brilliant theologian who had written 20 very large volumes about who God is and how He works. On December 6, 1273 something happened to him that brought his teaching and writing to an end.. Read more.

Leadership: Keeping our Role and Soul Connected

One of the most important tasks for us as leaders is to keep our roles and souls connected. How much of your life is divided or involves pretending? How much of your life is wearing other people’s faces? Ananias and Sapphira were disconnected internally and, for all intents and purposes, stopped the great move of God in the book of Acts (see Acts 5:1-11). How do we live faithfully to our God-given, true selves when enormous pressure comes at us to put on a “pretend” self? In this message on “The Holy Spirit and Your Integrity,” I unpack this theme. At the end of this message I talk about our need for 3 things: 1. Space. We need times of letting go of our roles and our work life in order to listen deeply to our true selves in God.  Nobody can do that inner work for us. 2. Suffering. Richard Rohr reminds us that. Read more.

Self-Leadership and the Battle of the Bulge

How you and I handle our anxiety in the midst of setbacks is one of the critical tasks of leadership. For ten days, during the Battle of the Bulge, American troops were badly beaten by Hitler’s armies in Europe. American casualties were brutal – with 19,000 killed, 48,000 wounded and 9000 others forced to surrender. The US Army was in full retreat. The pressure on Franklin Roosevelt (FDR) to blame his generals for the disaster was immense. Imagine! He did not. Henry Stimpson, his Secretary of War, wrote in his dairy: “He has been very extremely considerate. He has exercised great restraint, for the anxiety on his part must have been very heavy.” This was the fruit of his 12 years of serving, and suffering, as President during the Great Depression and World War II. May it be ours.

Trusting God amidst Great Evil- Newtown, CT

I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me.  (Ps. 69:1) I remember John Milton’s Paradise Lost as I looked at the pictures of the twenty 6-7 year old children who were killed last Friday. He compares the evil of history to a compost pile – a mixture of decaying substances such as animal excrement, vegetable and fruit peels, potato skins, egg shells, dead leaves, and banana peels. If you cover it with dirt, after some time it smells wonderful. The soil has become a rich, natural fertilizer and is tremendous for growing fruit and vegetables – but you have to be willing to wait, in some cases, many years. Milton’s point is that the worst events of human history that we cannot understand, even hell itself, are only compost in God’s wonderful eternal plan. Out of the greatest evil, the. Read more.

Sorrow that Transforms – Newtown, CT

We join the families of those twenty children as we watch their funerals – two yesterday and, probably, more today. Jeremiah wrote a book called Lamentations in the midst of his unspeakable horror. David wrote two-thirds of the Psalms out of his pain. Consider the words of Gerald Sittser. May they serve you as they have served me. In A Grace Disguised, after the horrific loss of his daughter, wife, and mother in a car accident, he wrote: “Catastrophic loss by definition precludes recovery. It will transform us or destroy us, but it will never leave us the same. There is no going back to the past…It is not therefore true that we become less through loss – unless we allow the loss to make us less, grinding our soul down until there is nothing left…Loss can also make us more. I did not get over the loss of my loved ones; rather, I. Read more.