LENTEN DEVOTION for Saturday, March 3


God my guide, lead me in the way of truth and justice.


Amma Theodora said that a teacher ought to be a stranger to the desire for domination, vain-glory, and pride; one should not be able to fool her by flattery, nor blind her by gifts, nor conquer her by the stomach, nor dominate her by anger; but she should be patient, gentle and humble as far as possible; she must be tested without partisanship, full of concern, and a lover of souls.

Paul says, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23a) 


Do not control or be controlled. This is the essence of Amma Theodora's teaching for today. Do not seek to control others by manipulation or domination. Do not use people according to your own ends. Do not view other people as opportunities for advancement or as instruments of your own welfare.

In the same way, do not let yourself be controlled. Don't be manipulated by high-praise. Do not be persuaded by gifts. Do not let your desires and appetites control your life. Do not cower before another's anger. Don't let fear sway you.

Those who seek to dominate, manipulate and thus control others have no regard for others. They do not respect the inherent freedom, dignity and worth of others. To be controlled--whether by others or other things--is to lose something of that intrinsic value all human beings have.

Rather than be controlled or be controlling, Amma Theodora advises her students to be patient, gentle, humble, nonpartisan, caring and loving of that which is given to all humanity. Simply, Amma Theodora bids us to be curious. A curious person is not controlling because they are genuinely interested in the other. A curious person is not controlled because they question all that attempts to lay claim on their life.

The curious are intrigued and inquiring. They know there is always more to know and love about another person. The curious examine their own lives in order to be free for God and others. Freedom for God and others is, after all, central to what it means to be human. 


God of freedom, make me curious about life. May I relinquish any claim over others. May I be free of anything that claims me. Fill me with wonder at all you have made. Amen.  

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