Friday, October 20, 2006

Leadership free from the desire to dominate

I presented a lecture yesterday on the model of Spiritual Direction used by the Desert Fathers and Mothers in the third and fourth centuries of the early Church. I was struck once again by the ethical and moral foundation of leadership presented by these wise Spiritual Fathers and Mothers. The following excerpt from the Philokalia underlines this perspective and approach to leadership:

Amma Theodora said, 'Let us strive to enter by the narrow gate, Just as the trees, if they have not stood before the winter's storms cannot bear fruit, so it is with us; this present age is a storm and it is only through many trials and temptations that we can obtain an inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.' The same Amma said that a teacher ought to be a stranger to the desire for domination, vain-glory, and pride; one should not be able to fool him by flattery, nor blind him by gifts, nor conquer him by the stomach, nor dominate him by anger; but he should be patient, gentle and humble as far as possible; he must be tested and without partisanship, full of concern, and a lover of souls.