These past weeks, daily mass goers have heard large portions of 1 and 2 Samuel, narrating the story of the election of David as King of Israel, his subsequent victories and defeats, his sins and God’s forgiveness. Whenever I reflect upon King David (or Moses for that matter), I’m always left with more or less the same thoughts: if these two people, who had experienced God so profoundly, couldn’t stay on the straight and narrow, what chance do I have?
I think that this sort of prayer and reflection ought to sit at the very nub of any ministerial endeavor: to place one’s self in a position where he or she is, at least to some extent, responsible for the spiritual welfare of the people of God, requires a certain sort of humility and recognition of our own frailty.
At the same time, I recall a story often told by one of my older brothers in religion: One of the friars in a community always said that he couldn’t this this thing or that task, because he was “Only a poor religious.” One of the older men in the community, having had enough of this, exclaimed, “You are a poor religious.”
What, then, is one to do? I’m not particularly certain (hence this post), but I think I have the beginning of a thread of an idea. I just recently finished NT Wright’s recent book The Case for the Psalms.
The books contains several pearls of wisdom, but one, I think, at least in reference to the above question stands out. Wright, late in the book, reflecting on the difference between God and humans, writes:
God created us to be precisely other than God because that is what love – the divine love – is like (p. 136).
It has been en vogue in recent times to speak about, talk about, reference the other. Perhaps we’d be well-served, in reflecting on our own frailty to look at the Lord and consider how other we are, when compared to the Almighty.