Or president, prime minister or CEO
Mankind … feels the need to be led by someone who would take upon himself all the glory and the even greater burden of authority and responsibility for the happiness or unhappiness of his subjects: someone who would be responsible to the subjects, to neighboring countries, and what is more dreadful, to God.
Because it is true that crowns and social pre-eminence, whichever they may be, are granted by men, but they are allowed by God, without Whose condescension no human power can be imposed. Which explains the sudden unimaginable changes of dynasties, which were considered everlasting and of powers which seemed untouchable, and which, when they overstepped the limit in punishing or trying people, were overthrown by the same people, with God’s permission, and became nothing but dust or, at times, sewer filth.
I said: people feel the need to elect someone who will take upon himself all responsibilities towards his subjects, towards neighboring nations and towards God, which is the most dreadful of all. Because if the judgement of history is dreadful and the interests of people endeavor in vain to change it, because future events and people will restore it to its original terrible truth, God’s justice is even more relentless, because it is not affected by any pressure whatsoever, neither is it subject to changes of humor or opinion, as men too often are, and above all it is not subject to wrong judgement. Those, therefore, who are elected leaders of peoples and makers of history ought to act with the heroic justice of saints, in order not to become ill-famed in future centuries and be punished by God for ever.
[The trees of the forest wanted to have a king. So they first approached the olive tree.] … being a sacred tree and consecrated to supernatural use because of its oil that burns in front of the Lord and is a predominant element in tithes and sacrifices, and forms the holy balm to anoint altars, priests and kings, and for its properties I would say it is almost thaumaturgic and as such is used both on healthy and sick bodies, the olive-tree replies: “How could I fail my holy supernatural vocation to degrade myself in worldly matters?”
Oh! How gentle was the reply of the olive tree! Why is it not learned and repeated by all those whom God elects to a holy mission, at least by those? Because in actual fact it should be pronounced by every man as a reply to the suggestions of the demon, because every man is king and a son of God, gifted with a soul, which makes him a regal divine son, called to a supernatural destiny. His soul is an altar and a house. The altar of God, the house where the Heavenly Father descends to receive the love and reverence of His son and subject. Every man has a soul, and as each soul is an altar, every man is thereby a priest, a guardian of the altar and in Leviticus it is written: “The Priest shall not profane himself.” Man, therefore, ought to reply to the temptations of the Demon, of the world and of the flesh: “Can I stop being spiritual and busy myself with material sinful matters?”
The trees went then to the fig-tree, inviting it to reign over them. But the fig-tree replied: “How can I forego my sweetness and my excellent fruit to become your king?”
Many apply to a meek and kind man to have him as their king. Not so much because they admire his kindness, but because they hope that by being very kind he will end up by being a king they can make fun of, from whom they can obtain anything they wish and whom they can abuse as they like. But kindness is not weakness. It is goodness. It is just, intelligent, firm. Never mistake kindness for weakness. The former is virtue, the latter a fault. And because it is a virtue it gives those who possess it a righteous conscience, which enables them to resist human solicitations and allurements, aiming at bending them towards worldly interests, which are not the interests of God, remaining faithful to their destiny, at all costs. A kind-minded man will never repel reproaches with bitterness, neither will he ever harshly reject those who ask his help. On the contrary, smiling sympathetically he will always say: “Leave me to my peaceful destiny. I am here to comfort you and help you, but I cannot become king, according to your expectations, because I am interested in one regality only, for the welfare of your soul and mine: spiritual regality”.
The trees went to the vine and asked it to be their king. But the vine replied: “How can I forego being mirth and strength to come and reign over you?”
To be king always leads to spiritual gloom, both because of responsibilities and of remorse, because a king who does not commit sin and does not cause himself to feel remorse is more rare than a black diamond. Power allures while it shines from afar like a lighthouse, but when one reaches it, one realizes that it is not a star but only the faint light of a firefly. Furthermore, power is but a strength tied with the multitude of ropes of thousands of interests stirred up around a king: the interests of courtiers, of allies, of relatives and personal ones. How many kings swear to themselves while being anointed with oil: “I will be impartial” and later are unable to be so? Like a strong tree, which does not rebel against the first embrace of flexible or thin ivy saying: “It is so slender that it can do me no harm”, on the contrary it is pleased to be decked with it and to be its protector supporting its climbing, so a king, very often, I could say always, yields to the first embrace of the interest of a courtier, of an ally, or a personal one or of a relative, who applies to him and he is pleased to be their munificent protector. “It is such a trifle!” he says, even if his conscience warns him: “Be careful!” And he thinks that it can harm neither his power nor his good name. Also the tree believes that. But the day comes when the ivy, growing in strength and in length, more and more voracious in sucking the lap of the soil and more and more anxious to climb up and conquer the sun and light, embraces, branch after branch, the whole big tree, overwhelms it, chokes it and kills it. And it was so slender! And the tree was so strong!
The same applies to kings. A first compromise with their mission, a first shrugging of shoulders at the voices of their conscience, because praise is pleasant and it is delightful to be a sought-after protector, and the moment comes when the king no longer reigns, but the interests of other people have taken over and imprison the king, they gag him and suffocate him, and if they have become stronger than he is, they kill him when they see that he is slow in dying. Also a common man, who is still a king in his spirit, is lost if he accepts a lower regality out of pride or greed. And he loses his spiritual serenity that comes to him from his union with God. Because the Demon, the world and the flesh can give an illusory power and joy, but at the cost of the spiritual cheerfulness that comes from the union with God.
O cheerfulness and strength of the poor in spirit, you really deserve that man may say: “How can I accept to become king in the inferior part, if by forming an alliance with you, I lose my internal strength and joy, Heaven and its true royalty?” And those blessed poor in spirit, who aim at possessing only the Kingdom of Heaven and despise all other riches not pertaining to that Kingdom, can also say: “How can we fail in our mission, which is to yield ripe fortifying juices and joyful juices for brotherly mankind that lives in the arid desert of animality and whose thirst is to be quenched so that it will not die and has need to be nourished with vital juices like a child without a nurse? We are the nurses of mankind that has lost the breast of God, and wanders barren and sick and would die of despair or tortured by the darkest skepticism, if it did not find us who, with the good-humored activity of those who are free from every earthly tie, could convince them that there is a Life, a Joy, a Freedom, a Peace. We cannot forego such Charity for the sake of an interest that is miserable”.
The trees then went to the thorn bush, which did not reject them.
But it imposed severe terms. “If you want me as your king, you must come under me. But if after electing me, you will not comply, I will make every thorn of mine a burning torture and I will devour you all, including the cedars of Lebanon”.
Such is the regality that the world accepts as true! Arrogance and ferocity are mistaken by corrupt mankind for true royalty, whereas meekness and goodness are considered foolish weak sentiments. Man will not submit to God, but he submits to Evil. He is seduced by it and consequently he is burnt by it.