Wednesday, 27 June 2012

0. Judgment - Definition


The essence of effective leadership. 

It is a contextually informed decision-making process encompassing three domains: 

people, strategy, and crisis

Within each domain, leadership judgments follow a three-phase process: 

preparation, the call, and execution

Good leadership judgment isupported by contextual knowledge of 

oneself, social network, organization, and stakeholders.

Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls

1. Judgment and Leadership

Judgment and Leadership

--> Making judgment calls is the essential job of a leader
                  - With good judgment, little else matters
                  - Without good judgment, nothing else matters

--> Long-term success is the sole marker of good judgment
                  - Good leadersort the important from the trivial
                  - They focus on getting the important calls right

--> Leaders make the calls and see to their execution
                  - They manage relationships with key constituencies
                  - They align and mobilize team members for support

Monday, 25 June 2012

The 30 step Ladder of Divine Ascent - St. John Climacus

St. John Climacus Ladder of Divine Ascent 

Step 1: Renunciation

"But to secure a rocklike foundation, those with a mind for the religious life will turn away from everything, will despise everything, will ridicule everything, will shake off everything. Innocence, abstinence, temperance - these make a fine thrice-firm foundation."

Step 2: Detachment

"No one can enter crowned into the heavenly bridechamber without first making the three renunciations. He has to turn away from worldly concerns, from men, from family; he must cut selfishness away; and thirdly, he must rebuff the vanity that follows obedience."

Step 3: Exile

"Exile is a separation from everything, in order that one may hold on totally to God. . . Exile is a disciplined heart, unheralded wisdom, a hidden life . . . unseen meditation, the striving to be humble, a wish for poverty, the longing for what is divine."

Step 4: On Blessed and Ever-Memorable Obedience

"Obedience is unquestioning movement, voluntary death, a life free of curiosity, carefree danger, unprepared defense before God, fearlessness of death, a safe voyage, a sleeper’s progress."

Step 5: Repentance

"Repentance is the voluntary endurance of all afflictions. A penitent is the inflictor of his own punishments."

Step 6: On Remembrance of Death

"It is impossible, someone says, impossible to spend the present day devoutly unless we regard it as the last of our whole life."

Step 7: On Mourning

"Mourning which is according to God is a melancholy of the soul, a disposition of an anguished heart that passionately seeks what it thirsts for, and when it fails to attain it, pursues it diligently and follows behind it lamenting bitterly."

Step 8: On Freedom From Anger and On Meekness

"The first step toward freedom from anger is to keep the lips silent when the heart is stirred; the next, to keep thoughts silent when the soul is upset; the last, to be totally calm when unclean winds are blowing." 

Step 9: On Remembrance of Wrongs

"Some, for the sake of forgiveness, give themselves up to labor and struggles, but a man who is forgetful of wrongs excels them. If you forgive quickly, then you will be generously forgiven."

Step 10: On Slander or Calumny

"He who wants to overcome the spirit of slander should not ascribe the blame to the person who falls, but to the demon who suggests it. For no one really wants to sin against God, even though we all sin without being forced to do so."

Step 11: On Silence and talkativeness

"He who has become aware of his sins has controlled his tongue, but a talkative person has not yet come to know himself as he should."

Step 12: On Lying

"A lie is the destruction of love, and a false oath is a denial of God."

Step 13: On Despondency

"Despondency is being languid in singing psalms, weak in prayer, like iron in service, resolute in manual labor, reliable in obedience."

Step 14: On That Clamorous Mistress, the Stomach

"Stint your stomach and you will certainly lock your mouth, because the tongue is strengthened by an abundance of food. Struggle with all your might against the stomach and restrain it with all sobriety. If you labor a little, the Lord will also soon work with you."

Step 15: On Incorruptible Purity and Chastity

"The good Lord shows His great care for us in that the shamelessness of the feminine sex is checked by shyness as with a sort of bit. For if the woman were to run after the man, no flesh would be saved."

Step 16: On Love of Money, or Avarice

"The collector (of money) is stirred by charity, but, when the money is in, the grip tightens."

Step 17: On Permissiveness

“The man who has tasted the things of heaven easily thinks nothing of what is below, but he who has had no taste of heaven finds pleasure in possessions.”

Step 18: On Insensibility

"He who has lost sensibility is a witless philosopher, a self-condemned commentator, a self-contradictory windbag, a blind man who teaches others to see."

Step 19: On Sleep, Prayer, and PsalmodyWith the Brotherhood

"Just as over-drinking is a matter of habit, so too from habit comes over-sleeping. Therefore we must struggle with the question of sleep, especially in the early days of obedience, because a long-standing habit is difficult to cure."

Step 20: On Bodily Vigil, and How to Use It to Attain
Spiritual Vigil, and How to Practice It

"Some stand before earthly kings without weapons and without armor; but others hold staffs of office, or have shields, or swords. The former are vastly superior to the latter, for they are usually personal relations of the king and members of the royal household. So it is with earthly kings."

Step 21: On Unmanly and Puerile Cowardice

"It is not darkness and desolateness of place that give the demons power against us, but barrenness of soul. And through God’s providence, this sometimes happens in order that we may learn by it."

Step 22: On the Many Forms of Vainglory

"When you hear that your neighbor or friend has abused you behind your back or even to your face, then show love and praise him."

Step 23: On Mad Pride

"When the demon of pride gets a foothold in his servants, he appears to them either in sleep or in a waking vision, as though in the form of a holy angel or some martyr, and gives them a revelation, of mysteries, or a free bestowal of spiritual gifts. . ."

Step 24: On Meekness, Simplicity, and Guilessness

"Meekness is an unchangeable state of mind, which remains the same in honor and dishonor."

Step 25: On Humility

"Many have received salvation without prophesies and revelations, without signs and wonders; but without humility no one will enter the marriage chamber, because humility is the guardian of these gifts, and without her they bring frivolous people to ruin."

Step 26: On discernment of thoughts, passions and virtues

"Let us try to learn Divine truth more by toil and sweat than by mere word, for at the time of our departure it is not words but deeds that will have to be shown"

Step 27: On holy stillness of body and soul

"He who is sick in soul from some passion and attempts stillness is like a man who has jumped from a ship into the sea and thinks that he will reach the shore safely on a plank."

Step 28: On Holy and Blessed Prayer

"When you are going to stand before the Lord, let the garment of your soul be woven throughout with the thread of obliviousness to wrongs. Otherwise, prayer will bring you no benefit."

Step 29: Concerning Heaven on Earth, or Godlike Dispassion

"The dispassionate man no longer lives himself, but Christ lives in him, as he says who fought the good fight, finished his course and kept the faith."

Step 30: The Supreme Trinity among the Virtues

"He who says that he loves the Lord and is angry with his brother is like a man who dreams that he is running.
"Mourning which is according to God is a melancholy of the soul, a disposition of an anguished heart that passionately seeks what it thirsts for, and when it fails to attain it, pursues it diligently and follows behind it lamenting bitterly."

John Climacus: The Ladder of Divine Ascent

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Lectio Divina - Fidelity- Why Lectio is difficult

Being successful at Lectio Divina is a struggle. Here are some common reasons why most people find it difficult to follow through with:

1. External difficulties - noise, weather, interruptions, dyslexia, sickness, anxiety, even lack of books. Give yourself to God anyway and make the best of your situation.

2. Work, play and other activities - We all need to work, play, attend meetings, eat, sleep, and socialize, none of which are compatible with lectio divina. Review your priorities and schedule in some lectio.

3. Good habits lost in time of change - Over the last 25 years or so, there has been a big change in societal values, among other things. In this time of change, many people have lost time to progress in good habits such as lectio divina. Most of us would have had certain foundations laid at a younger age; now we must seek them in our old age.

4. Overexposure to words - There is so much talk, so much paper, in society. Even the Church is at risk of this in the Liturgy. Too many words can obscure meaning from many of us. To withdraw from "wordiness" is seen as a "mature" and "spiritual" faith--a faith of silence. Lectio divina is not "wordiness", but it is neither silence! Lectio divina is cutting through to perceive the real meaning of the words, not getting lost in them, and finding God there--the same God in silence.

5. Lack of training - When a person reaches a roadblock in lectio divina, he often chooses to give up. This is mostly because he does not know where to turn next.

6. Boredom - Dissatisfaction with results of lectio divina, due to lack of training, often results in boredom with Scriptures. Boredom can also come when one is eager to finish lectio so they can get on with something else "more important". 

7. Negligence - Some difficulty in lectio divina is caused by our own laziness. Laziness, acedia, and fantasy all lead to negligence.

8. Duty - We can be consistent in lectio divina, but let the words just pass us by. This happens when lectio divina becomes routine. We must let the words of Scripture penetrate our hearts and minds, affect our consciences, lead us deeper into being. Your sense of duty is good, but let it lead you deeper into God.

Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Lectio Divina - Integrity of Text - How to NOT do Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina, or Spiritual Reading, is a Benedictine Tradition of reading the Bible. Lectio Divina has FIVE basic characteristics which set it apart. The first basic characteristic is "integrity of text".

Integrity of Text refers to considering the entire Bible's consistency, stability and deepness when reading it. It means to rest with a single book of the Bible for a long time. It requires patience, attentiveness, sobriety and humility.

Here are 5 ways of reading he Bible that are NOT lectio divina:

1. The Bible as medicine chest - Flipping through the Bible and using Bible passages to "diagnose" and cure certain problems. Feeling alone? Read this passage. Limits God's word to a merely instrumental role.

2. Cutting the Bible - Letting the book of Scriptures fall open at a random page and reading the first passage that comes to your eye. The "responsibility" for what is found and read is attributed to God.

3. Grazing - Aimless meandering, flipping, skipping through the Bible. Sometimes this gives spiritual fruit, but often leads to boredom.

4. Liturgical reading - Sticking to a daily schedule of reading Biblical texts in the liturgy. Choice of passage is up to the liturgy itself, which is a good thing. Many of the same effects of lectio divina can happen through liturgical reading. A restricting aspect of liturgical reading is that only certain Biblical texts are chosen and the fluidity of scripture is missed. Liturgical reading is good, but it is not the same as lectio divina.

5. Texts in sequence - Some retreats choose texts of a specific series, often based on what the retreat participants are likely going through during the retreat. Although this too can bear spiritual fruit, it may seem manipulative for some people. Furthermore, it does not highlight the integrity of the Bible as a whole: a singly book.

Lectio Divina, by contrast, is letting yourself be led to God by the author of the particular book. You must drink the author's spirit. Spend one entire month with only one book of the Bible. The Word of God is soft and our hearts are hard. One who hears the word of God often will have his heart opened.

From "Sacred Reading - The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina" - Michael Casey
Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina

Friday, 8 June 2012

The Little Mandate of Catherine de Hueck Doherty (Madonna House)

Arise — go! Sell all you possess. Give it directly, personally to the poor. Take up My cross (their cross) and follow Me, going to the poor, being poor, being one with them, one with Me.
Little — be always little! Be simple, poor, childlike.
Preach the Gospel with your life — without compromise! Listen to the Spirit. He will lead you.
Do little things exceedingly well for love of Me.
Love... love... love, never counting the cost.
Go into the marketplace and stay with Me. Pray, fast. Pray always, fast.
Be hidden. Be a light to your neighbour’s feet. Go without fear into the depth of men’s hearts. I shall be with you.
Pray always. I will be your rest.
Photo: Statue of Our Lady of Combermere