2013-04-01 John W John W's previous articles
Following Francis' example
Pope Francis is setting an inspiring example for all Christians.
There are four areas of our lives where we can try to follow his example:
A simple lifestyle, concern for the poor, liturgical simplicity, the common touch
1 - A simple lifestyle:
has declined the papal residence, has a history of using public transport, wears
a cheap watch, declines fancy dress, eats in the common dining hall.
Can we downsize our lifestyle? Do we need such a large house, such a large car, such an expensive watch, such a large TV, the latest mobile,
so many clothes and shoes, so many visits to expensive restaurants?
2 - Concern for the poor:
shows a genuine "preference for the poor". He wants the Church to show
more concern for the poor.
What do I do for the poor each week? Do I have any real contact with poor people each week? Does concern for the poor ever get a mention in my conversation, in my family? The meetings I attend - parish council meetings, teachers' meetings, community gatherings, small group meetings - does concern for the poor ever get on the agenda?
3 - Liturgical simplicity:
shortened the Easter ceremonies, preferred Holy Thursday in a prison to the
glamour of St Peter's, and has eschewed "pompous" ceremonial dress.
Can we make our Masses more meaningful for the people? More like a close-up family gathering rather than a long-range opera performance?
4 - The common touch:
has the ability to communicate well with, be friends with and understand
ordinary people. e.g. the way he paid his hotel bill, the way he phoned his news
vendor to cancel his newspaper subscription, the way he greeted the cardinals
standing rather than seated on a throne, his simple and friendly style of
Can we do more to avoid standing on ceremony, more to avoid looking down on people, more to go to people rather than expecting them to come to us, be more willing to speak to people rather than snubbing them, be as willing to mix with ordinary people as we are to mix with important people, speak more simply rather than trying to impress with fancy speech? Are my homilies/talks/conversations/classes way over the heads of my listeners?