Today, my daughter sent me a link to a video from an unlikely source: Arnold Schwarzenegger. She said the thing that struck her immediately was the Governor’s use of the phrase, “a servant’s heart.” I think she is absolutely right. I am passing along his video, not as a political act, or to condemn or criticize anyone. But as a career Naval officer, I watched with horror and growing anger the events of last Wednesday — the feast of the Epiphany of all days! — as our US Capitol was attacked and sacked. Like all military officers, I swore an oath that never expires, to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic.” And here was the secular temple of that Constitution being ransacked, with innocent staffers, visitors, members of Congress and even the sitting Vice President, assaulted and terrorized for several hours by fellow Americans. How can begin to move forward — together — as Americans?
As we all consider our next steps, the Epiphany reminds us that, whatever our perceived grievances, THIS is not the way to address them. This is not how a People, under God, treat each other. For Christians especially, who believe that God took on human nature in Christ out of love for us, what we saw was the antithesis of God’s will for humanity. At a Catholic Mass, the deacon adds a little water into the wine which will be consecrated and offered to God, and says, “Through the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” What happened on Wednesday was the farthest thing from sharing “in the divinity of Christ.”
Instead we need to heed the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. . . .” (Philippians 2:3-5). Imagine if each and every one of us took these verses to heart and acted on them! Not in conceit and pride, but putting the interests of others ahead of our own. These are not only religious truths: they apply to many forms of servant-leadership. In my years of Navy service I served with many such women and men. As a deacon I continue to serve with many such women and men, who constantly put themselves and their own needs last. That is the heart of the servant, the heart “that was in Christ Jesus,” the heart that should be in each of us.
The Governor is correct: what is needed now is a servant’s heart. Think what you will of the rest of the video. Don’t fixate on the cheesiness of using Conan’s sword as a prop. Rather, listen to his insight about a servant’s heart. On that, he is right on point.