Jesus Christ says: The one, who wants to be served, namely, one who wants authority, shall be the servant of all (Cf. Mt 18:1-5; Mk 9:33-37; Lk 9:46-48). It is in the same spirit that Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. During the end of 6th Century, Pope Gregory the Great took a title keeping this idea in mind, namely, servus servorum dei i.e. servant of the servants of God. We do not know in what spirit his followers understood the title. Yet that title speaks of the true sense of internal authority.
Authority comes through sincere service. If some one works sincerely and silently in an office for a long time and the boss notices it, that person will be given more responsibilities. Slowly a heap of responsibilities accumulate upon and that person becomes an authority by him/herself. After some time, that office would find it very difficult to function smoothly without that person. Even the boss may not be able to take effective decisions without that person. In other words, he/she becomes an expression of authority within that entity.
Authority gets accomplished through a meticulous knowledge of languages and symbols, experience, analytical power, articulation and hard work as well. All these aspects demand in their true sense clarity of thought and precision of expression. Abraham Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg only for three minutes. However, those three best minutes in the history of oratory were to establish the authority of Abraham Lincoln in the then situation of utter confusion on freedom to slaves in the United States of America. There are thousand and more situations in the pages of history to cite to cement the said fact.
Authority emanates from truth, virtue and morality. That which is true, virtuous and morally correct can not be destroyed. Truth, people say, is apparent. Value and morality are said to be more apparent. Now what shall one say on situations to decide upon whether something is true or morally right? In order to decide to what extend truth and morality are apparent, the doer needs conviction from within. Conviction comes only from clearly defined parameters, namely, what do I, we, my organization, my instance, my family and my initiatives etc. want to achieve. Once that is clear, the conviction is there and therefore, a better chance to be authoritative. Yet to be morally correct, the goal that one wants to achieve must also be reasonably justified with beauty, with holistic goodness or in short, with truth!
Finally success also affirms authority. We can conclude this short treatise like this. Authority, if it is true, is internal and divine. If it is garlanded with responsibility, will to serve, sincere hard work, clarity of thought, expression and deed, truth, approbated by the value system, universal goodwill and moral correctness, it cannot be countered. In other words, it becomes absolute and unchallengeable authority or divine authority and it will radiate its fragrance of love, truth and moral correctness. Only such authority will survive. If we accept this challenge, we move forward in the positive, like Jesus Christ, like Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, Mahatma Gandhi, Mar Gregorios of Parumala, Mar Dionesius Vattasseril and the list goes on. May ‘la lotta continua’!
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