Sunday, October 21, 2012

I Will be of Service

"I am the best." A billion-dollar baby, look at me: words of a   Korean pop song, popular and with  many awards. No doubt the words are said mockingly, but the thinking is  not that  rare, opines a journalist of the Catholic Times. "I am the best" is not the kind of understanding of self the  journalist wants to see influencing the world. Focus on the Ego is not what the world needs. Its opposite, service of the other is what Christianity is all about and without humility, one doesn't  go very far in unfeigned service of the other.

We hear the word service often in society. The politicians use it with the voters: a pledge to be of service to those who vote for them. In the Church, it is a topic frequently brought to our attention: Jesus who bent low to wash the feet of the disciples is the unprecedented  example of service. Service to others  is a concept we do not want to reflect on, for at the end of the day we know the outcome.  

Those served, are the ones who will have the hardest time in serving others. This is true, especially in the vertical Confucian society that we have in Korea. To ask those who are on top to serve those below,  without any self-servicing, is not easy: political leaders in society serving  citizens, parents--children, chairpersons-- members, clergy and religious--laity, seniors -- juniors, those who have-- those who don't. The journalist wonders if the words of our Lord about the camel, and the  eye of a needle  would not be appropriate in these cases.

Without being on our guard it is difficult not to serve ourselves. Reflecting on her job and the little authority  she has, she  wonders how easy it is to have it go to one's head. Humility does not come easy, a virtue that we have to work with and ardently desire.

She reminds us of our ancestors in the faith in their struggle against pride and their way of dealing with  it: 'Conquering the Seven'(Chil Geuk). These were the seven virtues used to overcome the seven capital sins: humility, love, patience, alms-giving, moderation, asceticism, and diligence.

One of the dioceses,  celebrating their 50th anniversary, has decided to deepen spirituality: "I will be of service." The clergy, religious and lay people are all to be of service to others. This is the duty of the whole Church. Not by words alone but by our actions, and she concludes, when we all bow our heads deeply to the other, the Church community will be what it is meant to be.                                                                                                     

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