By: Rick Hernandez
I was spending time with my youngest son, and I asked him what he thought would make a good king. If we assume competence as a given, my son’s answer was three things: kindness, wisdom, and charisma. These are three excellent Catholic words. I specifically like that all three are obtainable via our relationship with the Holy Spirit.
Charism is defined as a spiritual gift, a special grace given by the Holy Spirit that benefits the Church. Amongst the “kingly charisms” are administration, governance, and leadership. For a king, these charisms benefit his kingdom. For us, domestic kings, heads of our households, these charisms benefit our families.
Wisdom is a gift of the Holy Spirit and is sometimes defined as “the perfection of Faith.” It makes the soul responsive to God in the contemplation of divine things. Wisdom is the jurisdiction of the wise; it provides direction, helps with all discernment. For a king, wisdom aligns all actions with the will of God, allowing him to govern the kingdom rightly and justly. As heads of our household, wisdom enables us to guide our charges towards the will of God.
The word kindness is different from the other two. Charism and wisdom are not actions but capabilities. You may have wisdom, and you may have many charisms; however, you cannot have kindness. Kindness is defined by choice and action.
The word kindness comes from the old English word kyndnes, which means “to nurture or increase a nation.” It was related to the words kin (family) and kin-der (children). In this context, kindness means “all the noble actions required to help raise a young inner-circle or blood-related person.”
Therefore, for a king, to be kind is to help nurture the members of his kin, help raise them correctly and point them towards truth, for they are to help strengthen and continue the kingdom. For the head of the household, the domestic king, kindness is the fruit of the Holy Spirit that helps nurture our charges, strengthen the family.
To be a nurturing king requires effort. The king has to work diligently and humbly towards obtaining the capabilities to rule well because the kingdom depends upon the king. We must acknowledge that this can be hard upon us, domestic kings.
We may believe that our kingship is difficult and even lonely, a responsibility that separates us from the ones under our charge. We may even think for a bit that we are meant to do all this just by ourselves, but the Lord is there to remind us that we are all subjects of His Kingdom. He is our High King, the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Revelation 19:16); he nourishes and provides for us; we just have to keep depending on him. That humility in our part, that poverty of spirit, is part of our acknowledgment that He is our rock, our support, our Lord, the one whom we love, and the One who loves us.
So, how do we become nurturing kings, the kind of kings that are kind, wise, and charismatic?
We follow the examples set before us by the life of Christ Jesus and his many saints. We immerse ourselves in His Word and participate in His Eucharist. We read of the lives of the saints. We accept His love for us and live His love for others. We start looking at our responsibilities as a gift and take them seriously. We offer our suffering and our iniquities to our Lord. We ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all that we do. But most of all, we offer Him who we are that He may help us become the kings we are called to be in His stead.
If we are to follow in our Heavenly King’s example, we must work towards wisdom, hone our charisms, and practice kindness. All of these are parts of our kingly call. It is work that requires constant effort, but with God’s help, are we willing?
Let us pray: Dear Lord, you are the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. You have given us your most precious people to love and nurture. Help us then to show our charges the way to You, that they may grow to love You and cherish You the same way that You love and cherish us. Help us to grow in virtue and grow in capability, that we may do this kingly job well, that it may glorify You and Your Kingdom forever. Amen.