I love this insight from Richard Rohr on spiritual authority: “Loving servanthood and foundational surrender are the true basis for teaching authority in the Church, much more than title, vestment, role, or office. Such lives have the living authority of Jesus himself, and need no special ordination or public validation. Jesus says to Simon Peter that he, and we ourselves, must first ‘be sifted like wheat,’ and only then are we in a position ‘to recover and in turn strengthen others’ (Luke 22:31-32). Such undergoing is the seminary that finally matters and that changes others’ lives. It was Jesus’ essential and first ‘recovery program.’”
This passage from Luke has been especially poignant in this past year as we have experienced a sifting of sorts. Peter’s experience speaks to the whole of God’s redemptive movement for the world: the people, indeed, all creation. While we are called into a posture of stillness in the season of Lent, it is in this stillness that we have opportunity to reflect on what is true of ourselves. And, what we see is not always the loveliest to behold. Yet, in the stillness, we also have opportunity to see what is true at the core of our being—this self that is uniquely imaging God. And, this is possible because of the work of Christ—his life, death and resurrection—all of it. And, we must know every aspect of that work. It is these days that we sit with that death. Because, for the seed to give birth to life, first it must die….
It is the one who has been sifted that is “in a position ‘to recover and in turn strengthen others.’” So, for now…be covered in the soil, soak in the life-giving water, be strengthened…beautiful.