Friday, March 15, 2013

In the Footsteps of St. Francis?

St. Francis of Assisi
While far from being Roman Catholic, I find a lot to like about Jorge Bergoglio, the 76-year-old Argentinian cardinal chosen as the first pope ever from the Americas.

What I appreciate most is that this Jesuit scholar chose to live in a modest apartment in a poorer section of Buenos Aires instead of in the archbishop’s palace. He also used public transportation instead of the church limousine to which he was entitled.

In that sense he has chosen to follow in the footsteps of one of my favorite Christians, St. Francis of Assisi. I take heart in the fact that
Bergoglio chose to be named after someone who took Jesus' teachings and example seriously when it came to serving and living among those in need.

What impact could we make in the world if all believers--leaders, lay persons, academics, professionals, business persons and blue collar workers alike--would strive to follow Jesus' examples in this way?

In a 2007 meeting of Latin American bishops, then Cardinal Bergoglio said, "We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least," according to the National Catholic Reporter. "The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers [and sisters]."

That's the kind of message even an agnostic could understand. 
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