There are a few people that I have known over the years that possess what we might call gravitas. That is, the ability to ‘draw’ others to themselves. However, for me, it is not an outgoing personality or a ‘cool’ demeanor that draws me in. It is a peace of soul, a comforting presence.
My grandpa died when I was 14. He had the gift of gravitas. His charism was not the gift of gab or the gift of schmooze, but a quietness of heart and soul. His days were spent working for the railroad at 10 cents and hour, his nights were spent with his wife and his 8 children. His mornings were spent with his Bible open in prayer.
I don’t know about you, but I am weary of politics, beauracracy and spin. Give me a man (or woman) who is unpretentious and who just wants to do what is right; a man who knows God. A man like grandpa.
4 thoughts on “Gravitas”
Amen and Amen, Fr. Neo. And I’m not saying that out of a feeling of, ” Oh yeah that’s me….but rather one of “yes, that is something to aspire to…” Even though the word aspire doesn’t feel quite right in relation to your post…
I once heard two learned fellows speak of a common experience they had on occasion as a result of their having been steeped in the Westminster Catechism from their youth. They basically said that they could tell by a stranger’s “presence” or demeanor (as they described it a kind of confidence or aura so to speak) if the person had been reared in the Reformed faith. One of the guys recounted how on a business trip he was walking about town taking in the sights and how he noticed one stranger in particular due to the manner in which he carried himself and that the stranger apparently noticed the same of him. At some point they walked up to each other, and before anything else was uttered, one of the guys said, “What is the chief end of man?” to which the other guy responded, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever.”
I don’t know if that kind of “halo” effect or “presence” is the gravitas of which you speak Padre, but it’s an interesting story. I kind of know what they meant. I encountered a “faithful” Calvinist for a spell, and indeed he emanated a measure of authority in almost a tangible way.
Crazy bastards. It must be some of that “perseverance of the saints,” or as Sproul reconstructs it, “preservation of the saints” spilling out.
My Dad had a kind of aura I felt. He came to faith very late in his life. He was 50, and passed 3 years later. But those three years…wow! I remember coming home from college full of rebellion and looking at my dad and thinking, “I hate christianity, but I can’t deny there is something about my father’s eyes!” After he came to Christ there was a very visible difference. He was not an educated man by today’s standards, so his faith was very simple, but so powerful…
I aspire to have that peace as well. Not so much for others but for myself.
I worry that I take my faith for granted. I don’t devote the time to fellowship with the Father that I should.