Your brother B., and whoever may succeed you as Prior, must always keep in mind and put into practice what our Lord said in the Gospel: Whoever has a mind to become a leader among you must make yourself servant to the rest, and whichever of you would be first must become your bondsman.
Rule of St. Albert, No. 22
Because of the authority, power and responsibility that some people are privileged to have been lent with, they sometimes forget that such authority, power, and responsibility must be exercised with the humility of a servant, just like Christ, and not as a king like Herod or the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’s time.
A brother once came to me, distraught and disturbed. When he called a community of missionary sisters catering to migrant workers, asking permission to pray in their chapel for a few minutes, he was greeted by a very warm and grandmotherly voice, happy to hear that a group of brothers would visit them. She said she’d ask permission from their superior first, a common protocol among religious communities. The line went silent for a few minutes, but a few minutes later, he said that he was surprised to overhear a very angry lady shouting to the top of her breath. She was telling someone to lie and say that their chapel was under renovation. The brother who overheard the conversation, did not know what to do. He did not know how he should react, knowing that it was the sweet grandmother who was scolded by the angry lady.
A few minutes later, the comforting voice on the other end of the line came back, apologizing, saying that their chapel was being repaired. He wanted to console the person on the other line, believing that he must have caused the nice old lady sorrow, but he decided to just thank her and placed the phone down.
What really bothered him was when he heard that a few days later the nun superior of that congregation reprimanded his superior because he intruded their convent and that he called at a very unholy hour of the night. Allegations which he said were not true, because as a religious himself, he knows that the nuns have schedules to follow, especially when it comes to prayers.
All of us have issues to face, but when we are placed in the position to be the first among our brothers or sisters, that does not give us the right or the authority to lord over our brothers and sisters, so much more, on others who has nothing to do with us, except perhaps for an occasional crossing of paths. And definitely, it is just not right for us to use the influence being afforded to us, just to satisfy whatever issues we may be facing at the moment.
How much of a brother/sister have I become for others?
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Lord, grant me a humble heart, one with the desire to serve my brothers and sisters with an ever grateful and happy heart. And allow me to understand others who are in pain. Amen.