Those Who Conceal Their Good Works

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Gregory the Great, throwing my... well, if not my knickers, then at least my high regard onto the rock-star stage of his work, "The Book of Pastoral Rule." (But everyone feels that way about 6th century popes, no?) A central premise of Gregory's Book is that different people require different sorts of pastoral care.  Sounds basic, but I don't hear it discussed much, and I love it.  (It is, in fact, part of why I find the Enneagram useful-- how I screw up, and where I can grow are different than they are for you.) Gregory sets up a number of binaries, and explores how to minister to each-- rich and poor, loud-mouthed and timid, givers and thieves, etc.

After this dark week, after this election, I'm thinking of this guidance Gregory gives to people whose only good work is done in private:
"For anyone who is able to suppress the lust for praise is, in effect, guilty of a bad example if he hides the good that he does."

I need to see the good that you're doing right now.  I need your good example.  In the language of Fred Rogers, I need to be able to see the helpers.  I need to know that we're together in the tasks ahead of us.  

Of course there's danger of bragging, and of words instead of action (Gregory addresses them in the same chapter), but I want you to know: I need heroes.  I need historical ones, I need literary ones, but I also need the ones who have their sleeves rolled up right now all around me.  

So please come to my door, tell me about your work and the work you see being done by others.  I have great hope for what we can do together.

No comments:

Post a Comment

"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins