My Dear Friends,
The society we live in is individualistic and democratic – it tends to be suspicious of authority. For political purposes, that can be healthy. But when the individualistic and democratic mindset seeps into our spiritual life, it can wreak havoc. Many people, in fact, refuse to follow Christ because they think it is beneath their dignity to follow anyone at all. In fact, however, since Christ truly is the Lord of the universe, following and obeying him is the wisest and most mature path we can take in life.
There is an anecdote about the great orchestra conductor, Arturo Toscanini, which illustrates this. Toscanini was sitting at his podium before a concert one evening. As the orchestra warmed up just minutes before the performance, a bassoon player approached him in a fearful panic. “Maestro,” he said, “I am very sorry, but my instrument has suffered an accident, and the E-flat will not sound. I am afraid I will not be able to play tonight.” Upon hearing this news, Toscanini went silent and closed his eyes. The bassoon player cowered in fear of his fury. The great conductor put his hands to his head and continued in silence, adding to the poor bassoon player’s agony. At last Toscanini looked up and said quietly, “Do not worry. E-flat does not appear in your music tonight.” Toscanini had played through the entire concert in his mind, reviewing every note the bassoon player would have to play.
We are not the conductors of the universe – Christ is.
We are players in his orchestra, stewards of his gifts, called to trust in him and follow him, and in that way give him the one thing he really wants from us: our friendship.