“O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of idleness (ἀργίας), despondency (περιεργίας), love of power (φιλαρχίας), and idle talk (ἀργολογίας).” (Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem, Part 1)
It is not sane to “love“ power or authority over others, although it is vital that some people exercise it, as their God-given vocation, – either as parents, or as political, military, or Church-leaders, or as teachers/professors, or as business-managers or executives. As St. Paul reminds us, “there is no authority except that which is from God. The authorities that exist have been appointed by God.“ (Rom 13: 1) The response-ability (or “ability to respond“ to the call/vocation) of power is humbling and often painful, for example, when one must “parent“ a misbehaving child while wanting to be a “friend“; or when a teacher must give a student a failing grade; or when a political leader must implement an unpopular policy; or when a business-manasger must offer criticism to, or even fire, an employee. Nonetheless, either avoiding or “loving“ this responsibility would be self-centered and “sinful,“ i.e., “missing the mark“ of one’s God-given service to others.
Today, on this second Tuesday of Lent, let me pray for those in positions of authority, and also not shy away from it myself, in the small ways I may be called to it in my workplace. God humbles us, in sharing His power and authority with us in various ways, that we may get a small glimpse of the cross He bears in loving, parenting, disciplining and guiding us, in His Self-offering, sometimes “unpopular,“ authority. Today let me love You, Lord, and Your power, rather than any self-centered “power,“ divorced from Your Self-offering Spirit. “For Thine,“ and not ours, “is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever.“ Amen!