"And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet: and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian."
What connects genius to humility and forgiveness? If humility is a regular preference for the will of God, if forgiveness is the end of vengeful anger, if genius is such intellectual acumen as one has welded together with others in emphatic discussion of solid ideas, then the element most likely to bring together humility, forgiveness and genius is the old covenantal act of penitence.
In his classic sermon On the Small Number of the Saved, the French cleric Jean Massillon writes, "…a penitent is a man intrusted (sic) by God with judgment against himself…"
Genius is naturally prideful but can never be just arrogant. Hubrisic self-love damns the soul for it can do no other.
Consider penitence. Does it not appear the death of penitence has been the end of the Church? If Heaven, for entrance, requires either innocence (which we do not have) or penitence (which we most often do not practice or preach), is it not fearful to observe this fact; the number of the upright seems to have diminished in direct proportion to the number of mere believers?
Or, is the loss of reverential awe remarkably similar to the dearth of personal regret for one's own sin? Does it not seem our own culture mixes its Christian pretensions with secular corruptions?
If we agree genius is necessary for leadership, what is the spiritual corrective for the natural corruptions that come along with high position and influence? What is there for the good, if not self-judgment, by which we mean the inner ability to judge our own character as God judges me?
No, stop thinking of it. You cannot enter the desert in camel's hair to observe penitence. Penitence is not asceticism. Age, poverty, infirmity; all these may cause me to act less frivolously. A penitent faced with loss or privation does not ask, "Why me?' He assents to the trial as one who knows he has previously ab used his health, his wealth, his world.
Yes, self love is the bete noir of penitence. Narcissism will not allow penitence. The present state of the world will not afford narcissism much longer. Nietzche looked on genius and saw (himself as) super-man. Kierkegaard understood his own genius but sweat drops of blood to be an apostle, not just a genius. Nietzche made himself god, with nothing for which to repent. Kierkegaard made himself a penitent and came closer to God with his repentance than Nietzche ever could with his self love.
Nietzche was right when he saw the world's psychic bond with genius. He erred most egregiously when he insisted greatness so overawed the simple that only sterility could follow in its wake for genius could only exhaust the lesser beings. The life of the Christ proves otherwise. No one has been more a genius. He inspired a pre-scientific age to believe illness could be overcome, a pre-psychological culture to know it was what came out of a man that made him unclean (marked him as unclean, showed him for what he was actually) and reordered a paternalistic age to value both genders. In His life, Jesus, the Christ, and with His death, Jesus ennobled all who came after Him. He was not an exhausting force, but an exalting power.
Jesus, the Christ, the One Person who never had cause for penitence Himself, Himself taught personal penitence. Think of this; every man who thinks of Heaven flatters himself he will not be excluded. Even the man who thinks seldom of Heaven (or never) in some way insists his beloved will somehow be included. Some personal goodness, singular act of charity, stroke of genius, will save him or his beloved when they exit this life to meet the God they have ignored for a lifetime.
Where does this arrogance originate? It must be in the loutish laziness that sees genuine penitence as too hard a work or too far beneath oneself. Yet, penitences should be as natural to the redeemed as breathing oxygen to a land-dweller. We do not redeem violating certain laws. Redemption is conversion. Penitence is conversion in that it marks conversion in us.
Genius is tied to humility and forgiveness by penitence.
Opinions expressed here are mine alone.