After wallowing in the mire of politics over the last twenty-four hours I need to immerse myself in something morally uplifting. Today I listened to Parts III and IV of Cardinal Arinze’s discussion of Deus Caritas Est. I had listened to it before but there was a section I needed to hear again. Cardinal Arinze discussed the idea of ascending and descending love. Pope Gregory the Great used the imagery of Jacob’s ladder to explain this. We must ascend the ladder towards heaven as we reach for God. Then we descend the ladder to give to others what we have received. If one is to lead others, he must first present himself to God. He must establish a prayer life that lifts him up to God. Moses entered the tabernacle time after time to spend time with God before he led the Israelites.
My oldest is in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M. He plans to enter the Army when he graduates in a little over one year. Leadership is an integral part of his college education and experience. I had to share Cardinal Arinze’s thoughts with him. If he expects to lead others, he must first present himself to God. He must keep is spiritual life in order if he expects his leadership to be rooted in firm, morally righteous ground. His leadership must be a conveyance of God’s power, not his own.
Perhaps that is why there is so much cynicism associated with the current political scene. We need statesmen who lead not for their own power but for a cause much greater than themselves. Instead we have an overabundance of politicians who are completely focused on popularity and poll numbers.
I highly recommend the Cardinal Arinze podcasts. You can subscribe to them here.