October 12, 2016 at 9:31 pm #3365
First, I suggest authenticity and what it implies: honesty, truthfulness, integrity, or – a word favoured by Ignatius – probity.
Jesus teaches by word and example, and what he says and does are in perfect harmony with who he is. Jesus is truth, Jesus tells the truth and, while he may not distance himself from hypocrites, the gospels time and again show him distancing himself from hypocrisy. He does not twist or manipulate the truth.
President Eisenhower claimed that ‘the supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity’. More informally, the jazz musician Charlie Parker said, ‘If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn’. With words that still speak volumes to us today, Pope Paul VI wrote in 1975: ‘Especially in regard to young people it is said that they have a horror of the artificial or false and that they are searching above all for truth and honesty.’
Forty years on, it is even clearer that manipulating or stifling the truth can do immense harm, both because it does not work and because it is a contradiction of Christianity. It is not the way of Jesus. It rings true when Jesus says, ‘If your eye is clear, your whole body will be filled with light’ (Matt 6: 22).
Jesus’s gaze is on God, he refers all to the Father; his leadership therefore is not self-regarding. His disciples and companions, too, will be true and honest if they focus on God rather than self. That will require sincere prayer, prayer in which we give God the freedom to show us the opposite of what suits our convenience, the freedom to shatter our preferences. And, to use an Ignatian word, the heart of our prayer needs to be conversation or colloquy that is sincere: I need to be willing to look God in the eye, to meet God’s gaze.
When Peter cures a cripple he tells him, ‘In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, walk’ (Acts 3:6; earlier, perhaps, he might have been tempted to garner the credit). Likewise, the Christian community always gathers in the name of Jesus, not in its own name. A Christian community that does not focus on Jesus soon begins to become its own master, to use others for its own convenience and to descend into hypocrisy: it is not authentic.
Jesus breathes dignity, but without seeking it. He attracted his companions with honesty, not by concealing the challenges but by stating them clearly. ‘Whoever does the truth comes out into the light, so that what he is doing may plainly appear as done in God’ (Jn 3:21).March 26, 2017 at 7:04 pm #3550
He was the best leader that humanity ever saw
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