Friday, March 27, 2009

Rectitude of Intention


As any good Christian, I try to live my life in a way that would make God happy.  You really never want to get God angry.  We don't want to bring back any of that Old Testament wrath.

About the time I really started taking my faith seriously, I began studying Samurai warriors.  I guess the little kid in us never dies.

Samurais were thought to “live by the sword and die by the sword”. But as I did more research into them, I began to see that Japanese warriors shared many of the same qualities as the Medieval European knights!   Despite what Hollywood would rather show, their lives were not just about shear bloodshed. There is honor and pride, a love of people that most certainly masks “brute power”.

Bushido is the code of the samurais.  It is the "Way of the Warrior".  The Bushido code is typified by seven virtues:
  • Rectitude ( gi)
  • Courage ( yuu)
  • Benevolence ( jin)
  • Respect ( rei)
  • Honesty ( makoto or 信 shin)
  • Honor ( yo)
  • Loyalty ( chuu)

Over the next few Prayer Warrior blogs I want to discuss these seven tenets. 

Gi: this refers to rectitude, or justice. <Rightness of principle or practice; exact conformity to truth, or to the rules prescribed for moral conduct, either by divine or human laws; uprightness of mind; uprightness; integrity; honesty; justice.> For the Samurai , it is the power of deciding upon a certain course of conduct in accordance with reason, and without wavering; that is to die when it is right to die, to strike when it is right to strike. This principle also held the warriors responsible for choosing at all times, the correct decision from the heart rather than from the mind.

Let's relate this to Christian life and prayer.  ‘Rectitude of Intention’ means having the correct intention in all that we do – in our daily work, our recreation, our civic obligations, and our religious duties – however, not for our glory but all for the glory of God.  Rectitude of Intention is the antithesis of ‘political correctness.’  It helps us do what we ought to do, not what society or culture want us to do.

"Don't ever lose the supernatural point of view.  Correct your intention as the course of a ship is corrected on the high seas: by looking at the star, by looking at Mary.  Then you will always be sure of reaching harbour," wrote St. Josemaría Escrivá.

When we pray we need to be praying for God's will to be done - my favorite line of the Lord's Prayer.  We are Christians - we are Christ-like.  We need to pray as Christ would pray.

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be 
Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, 
on earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our 
daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we 
forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us 
not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

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