“The impious master therefore delighted in that wicked servant, whom he gorged with blood, enriched with corpses, made merry with continual savagery, and appeased with untamed frenzy, and to sate his hunger for crime filled his camp with his own helpers. He put the worst of men to command the bad, he gave additional authority and power to those who were wickedest in their attacks on the innocent, and promoted over all others those to whom pity was unknown. He spared none of his band who inclined to spare any, left no good deed unpunished, no bad one unrewarded.” (331)
Background: After losing his patrimony a rogue prince becomes enraged by a demoniac who helps him organize a band of pillaging robbers; the band of robbers violently take lands and exceed limits; they destroy churches and kill innocents for egregious claims and desirous land grabs.
Thought: Does this sound familiar? Maybe it is your job description… Just saying. But really, if you are getting a tingling of familiarity then you should be uneasy. The industry of today creates a constant state of dis-ease which is really the disease of our society. Industry is a poison. A malignity that infected the hearts and minds of good people for monetary gain. The funny part is that it isn’t wrong for anyone to want. We have to feed our families, right? Then again, when you asked the Nazi soldier how he felt about throwing jews in the kiln he would reply: “I’m just doing my job and my part. This is what is asked of me.” I love the holidays. Everyone is in such good spirits. Loved ones come together and share and people aren’t working. Yet, as soon as the college bells begin to ring after the new year I’m only too anxious for the hammer to drop and for everyone to go back to hacking at each other with (imaginary) axes.
What is initially appearing as an account of a bad band of robbers starts to glimmer, like sun rays on the water, with a peculiar normalcy. Are these really criminals or a new start-up on the rise, taking what they can like sharks in the deep ocean after the trout? Many corporations want people without a moral compass, because they will do things that companies “need to be productive” without reflecting on the consequence. The amoral people are revered. The behavior of the robbers, who have no consideration for good conduct, acquire wealth without bounds. They break every rule and care not who they oppress in the long run. And these men today, who should be condemned, are even praised by those betrayers. But don’t they no that nothing is more viral and destructive than treason? It is the industry that propels this misery of ill-gotten gains: and it is sure to take the life sap from any young man and make him destitute.
We all want to be enriched with good things and enjoy prosperity. Yet, might we ask ourselves the question: Is what I’m doing good for the people around me? The world? If it isn’t, then I’m selling myself short and gaining misery for cents. We can just as easily do bad things that appear to be good. Sometimes acts that appear really bad turn out to be good too. Sometimes the wolf is in sheep clothing, and he who appears blameless is really like the speckled cow, or the sharp toothed beast who fills his mouth with the blood of the innocents.
Reflection: If you feel like you aren’t sure what is going on right now and your head is buzzing like a vibrating phone than I would advise taking some time for contemplation. Carve out ten minutes every day to ask yourself the questions and discover the truth. I think about how Jesus was often seen by the people as a criminal and betrayer of the community. I recall how he was always on the outer fringes of society, cast out by “reputable people” and was marked as an enemy because of his revolutionary thinking. The people in power hated him because he was right and they were as worthless as cow dung. People were afraid of him because he stood up against the evils of legalism, institutional authority and tyranny. His actions meant more than his words. He fought so ardently that he even died to stand up for the truth.
Intention: Is what I do in my vocation bringing about good in the world? What are the long term consequences of my labour? We can’t predict the future, but can we determine if our vocation is purposeful by the power which it fulfills us?
“Do what you love; you’ll be better at it. It sounds pretty simple, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t get this one right away.”
-ll cool j
“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.”