The Call of the King
Imagine someone were to rise to prominence tomorrow, a leader people finally feel they can trust. One day, this leader makes a global appeal for dedicated volunteers, saying that together we will overcome all diseases, all poverty, inequality, all injustices both human and environmental – in other words, all the evils that plague our world – and work to build a better, brighter future for every person on the planet. But whoever wishes to join will have to be content with the same food, drink, clothing, and quality of life that the leader will endure during that time. But after, those who share in the work and the struggle, will also share in the triumph at the end. Who would not want some part in that?
That is a contemporary presentation of the meditation which begins the second week of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. After this inspiring imaginative exercise, the saint tells us to turn and consider Jesus and His call to us, to join His mission to “win over the whole world, to overcome evil with good, to turn hatred aside with love, to conquer all the forces of death – whatever obstacles there are that block the sharing of life between God and humankind. Whoever wishes to join Me in this mission must be willing to labour with me, and so by following Me in struggle and suffering may share with me in glory.”1 Who would not want some part in that?
The word “King” might seem antiquated and problematic today, but we all look to leaders to help us work towards something bigger than ourselves. And we still use the word quite freely unofficially. So who is actually “King” in your life? Who do you look to for inspiration, leadership, guidance, and hope for a better future? Whose “Kingdom” do you actually belong to and spend most of your time and energy working for?
1 Fleming S.J., David L. Draw Me Into Your Friendship: The Spiritual Exercises A Literal Translation & A Contemporary Reading. Saint Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1996., 82 ff.