22nd June

The Leadership Of The Inner Life

This is what the Lord God, the Holy One, says to you…’In quietness and trust shall be your strength.’ Isaiah 30: 15

Arthur may have looked out from that hill named ‘Arthur’s Seat’ towards the defended cities he had established at Dunedin, Dundonald, Dunbarton, Stirling and Dunpelder. These were the result of leadership of great activity. Yet, if the kingdom of God is to be established in the heart of a people, the leadership of action needs to be complemented by leadership of a different kind that cultivates the inner life.

A fine example of such leadership, working hand in glove with Arthur, is Monenna. She had been inspired by St. Brigid to found a monastery in her native Ireland. Such was its quality that crowds flocked to her. They encroached too much upon her calling to the inner life, so she moved away to Scotland where she had space for a daily discipline of contemplation.

Monenna’s real name was Edana, to which was added the affectionate prefix ‘Mo’. At the summit of the high rock where Edinburgh castle now stands she built herself a prayer cell. The hill became known as Edana’s Hill, later as Dunedin, and much later as Edinburgh. Arising out of her contemplation God led her to match Arthur’s strategy by founding a community of prayer in each of his five defended towns. These two types of leadership ensured that both the outer and the inner life of society was looked after.

Monenna’s type of leadership is still as needed as Arthur’s. We need a brain drain in reverse, a constant stream of people who are ready to leave behind the whirlpool of business and concentrate on the contemplative life. In fact we need both kinds of leadership – the active and the contemplative – as never before. In which direction is God calling you?

Holy Three
Help me to live at the still centre
Of the world’s whirring wheels
Where everything is led by you.