Saturday, September 30, 2017

Parable and Conscience Meditation September 30

Obedience  September 30

A prior, exercising creative leadership in the community, is to help his brothers live and work together in an atmosphere of love, friendship, and unity, and to give them support through his leadership and advice. His responsibility extends to both the spiritual and temporal welfare of all his brothers (Const. 28.2).

It is essentially in the local community that the confreres are to live the charism of the Order.  In Crosier tradition, the evolution of the local community towards becoming a priory is the organization objective.  The priory is the gathering of a sufficient number of confreres capable of functioning with autonomy, having a stable apostolate and the means for self-financing.  The superior of a priory, who is called the prior, is elected by the members of the priory for a great pastoral and administrative responsibility.  He is at the head of all the efforts to develop the community at every level.  He oversees the community of goods, inspires fidelity to the ideals, facilitates fraternal life and accompanies the confreres in their mutual collaboration.  He is the good steward of the Gospel.

If the shepherd is good, the she-goat will give birth to two kids.  (Marka) 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Parable and Conscience Meditation September 29

Obedience  September 29

While his office calls for great kindness and understanding, he must at the same time have steadfast courage in holding his brothers faithful to their vocations (Const. 14.4).

It is not easy to invite someone to the Cross.  This is the experience of the superior who encourages his confreres to fidelity to their vocation.  Despite the glorious reward promised, mounting the Cross is often resisted.  That is why tact is critical in the superior’s repertoire of pastoral skills.  The lack of tact can distance the confrere from a task even more than its disagreeable nature.  A person of tact knows intuitively what is best to say or do to someone to help the person move forward in personal development.  The timing of a remark, the climate for sharing, the words chosen, the gestures and the tone of voice are all details that contribute to the success or failure of a pastoral encounter.  The superior should always keep in mind that the confrere is a son of God to be respected.  But the confrere also has his own history that can complicate his perceptions, judgment and decisions.  Tact can help the confrere be more transparent to himself and, consequently, more responsible.  The lack of tact can close him up and even lead to worse behavior, effects completely different than those intended by a well meaning superior.

A shrill shout makes the wild game flee.  (Shi)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Parable and Conscience Meditation September 28

Obedience  September 28

In a true spirit of collegiality, the superior must avoid every trace of authoritarianism.  He should not seek to subject his brothers to himself (Const. 14.4).

Christian authority is at the service of the mission of the group.  The community forms a team in Christ with various roles for the achievement of its objectives.  As servant of the communal vocation, the superior keeps the mission always before the eyes of everyone and so tries to guide them toward its realization.  In exercising his own responsibility as leader, he searches for ways to influence the decision of the group by efforts at “pushing” toward an option or by “pulling” towards a point of view.  These two methods have nothing to do with imposition, but with persuasion.  Members can be “pushed,” that is, persuaded by the presentation of the facts of a situation or by the force of logic.  Members can also be “pushed” by exposing the expectations of the Gospel, the Church, the Order or society and showing the satisfaction that comes from attending to them.  Regarding strategies of influence by “pulling” members, the superior can make an effort to win their confidence by listening and collaboration, making himself a friend of their proposal.  He can also “pull” by accenting points of agreement already shared and by exciting the members about the possibilities of his own point of view.

If you sweep too energetically, the dust will fly about.  (Banen)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Parable and Conscience Meditation September 27

Obedience  September 27

The unity of our fellowship is to a great extent the burden of the superior. However, . . . it is also the enduring duty of each brother to contribute in idea and initiative to the well being of the community (Const. 14.3).

One immediately sees in a Crosier community the democratic character of the Order.  Each confrere’s dignity is respected.  His rights and responsibilities are sacred.  This kind of respect forms the basis for all democracy.  Everyone is sensitive to the well-being of everyone else so that everyone can be himself and perfect his talents.  There is among the Crosiers a certain ease with regard to authority.  They see their superior first as a brother with a special responsibility for the group.  According to tradition, the Crosier superior is elected by the confreres of the community and not simply appointed by higher authority.  There is not much “ceremony” around the superior.  Obedience is authentic but always in the context of dialogue and the participation of everyone in decisions which touch the life of everyone.  This dynamism is evident in the community chapter where all speak and all are heard in order to arrive at decisions that are communal.  The accent is on the adult participation of each confreres for the common good.  The democratic spirit of the Order is seen at all levels of Order life:  international, provincial, regional and local.

A sorcerer doesn´t come to blows with a crowd.  (Yaka)

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Parable and Conscience Meditation September 26

Obedience  September 26

 (The Crosier) has a frank and spontaneous relationship with the superior and collaborates with him in a transparent, free and adult manner (Profile).

Obedience has to do with the interaction between the leader and the member.  The kind of behavior of both is rooted in the Gospel.  Theologically, Christian leadership is “sacramental,” that is, it makes Christ present as the Head of the Church.  Christian leadership, then, does not exist only to create social order in the community but to represent the authority of Christ, to which both leader and member submit.  Even though Christian leadership is legitimized by God and not simply by the agreement of the community, it is exercised collegially—the leader, as with Christ, is more servant than master.  On the other hand, the response of the member is always a free and adult act in faith—the member responds to the presence of God in the leader.  To obey is an act of Christian dignity because, in terms of the Gospel, the one served is of higher rank than the one serving.  Obedience also expresses the dignity of the person because, as an act of self-emptying, it imitates the Paschal Mystery, the highest vocation of the Christian.  While the leader has the right to direct, the obedience of the member cannot admit of anything immoral in responding—the member is a disciple of Christ before being a collaborator with his representative.  In open and fraternal dialogue, the superior and the member walk, in some sense, as elder and younger brothers to the Kingdom of God.

The squirrel is small but it is not the slave of the elephant.  (Bornu)