“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
~ Luke 14:11
The teachings of Christ have always been counter-intuitive, very contrarian to accepted and popular wisdom:
- The last shall be first and the first shall be last.
- Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.
- Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
- Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
- Do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.
- Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
And yet, the wisdom and truth of the words of Jesus have been proven down the ages, in the lives on many holy men and women, in communities that have seriously heeded his call. St. Ignatius advises us, “Agere contra.” Act against. Do the opposite. Salmons have to swim against the current to get to their spawning grounds so that the next generation of salmons can be born. Kites and planes fly against the wind in order to take flight. Ans so must we, in order to soar and become.
There is a time to go with the flow and there is a time to fly against the wind. The time and the manner to discern is what prayer is all about. In prayer, we ask for the enlightenment to know when, for the courage to go against or to go with, and the strength to carry through.