Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Wisdom and Night driving

From Benedictus to Magnificat — Today’s the Day everything changes gear. O Sapientia, 17 December, is named after the first of the great sequence of antiphons before the Magnificat, marking our final approach run to Christmas.
In the old money —
O Sapientia, quæ ex ore altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter,
suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiæ.
I love what this says — its depth and insight into how things really happen:

O wisdom that proceeds from the mouth of the most high, reaching powerfully from end to end, sweetly (elegantly, smoothly, gently) ordering everything: Come teach us the way of good judgment.

Much of today was a diocesan staff meeting. We’ve always been reasonably well-mannered and efficient, but I notice we’re working together more freely and joyfully. I put it down to a greater commitment to working at our relationships, and more time going beyond the shopping list of business items. In any enterprise there are things that need doing, and one strategy is to fixate on them until entirely functional and task driven. Do that and people try their best, but there’s always an x factor missing — harmony and understanding that comes from real working friendship, sincere ownership with open eyes.

You can only achieve corporate goals fully at a pace that matches your knowledge of each other. Like night driving, it’s only safe within your headlights. You may well get away with going faster, but output will be less than the group’s best, and everyone will have niggling doubts about it that they don’t want to own up to for fear of seeming to slow things down. It’s one mechanism that leads people to pretend things are better then they actually are. The same old niggling doubts surface and resurface ages after you thought the group decision had been taken. Better to trust God’s sweet ordering of everything, and invest more time in the people and their relationships — drive within the group’s headlights, not faster, and you actually arrive at a better place, possibly even sooner.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a lovely illustration of why parish leadership should work together - and (I say with feeling) leadership within groups of small rural parishes too.

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