Let me begin by expressing my heartfelt solidarity with my dear Iowa friends and acquaintances as our New Orleans temp has plunged this a.m. to near the unthinkable 32°F mark. It’s brutal, especially for the Hibiscus shrubs blooming in our front yard. Y’all?
Ok, on to theology…
I personally find Pope Francis’ homey and practical preaching and teaching style very refreshing and personally challenging. Almost every time I read something he’s said or written, I want to print it and put it in my “re-read” file. Here is a superb thematic compilation of Franciscan quotables assembled by a Filipino author who organized them as 10 resolutions that all of us should try to keep. Note that the words that are highlighted in color are hyperlinks to relevant articles and such. I offer here the first few paragraphs, but link you to the full article at the end.
He preaches against gossip, reminds us to finish our meals, and even tells us not to fear marriage.
Described as the “world’s parish priest,” Pope Francis goes beyond abstract theology, and gives us advice we can use daily.
What lessons from him can we bring into 2014?
Rappler compiles 10 of the Pope’s most memorable quotes in the form of New Year’s resolutions. This is the Pope Francis list.
1. Don’t gossip.
It’s one of our hobbies. For Francis, it’s also one of the most evil activities.
The Catholic leader denounces gossip as “murder.”
He feels so strongly about it that in less than a year as pontiff, Francis has preached against gossip in at least 6 different instances. Read the following homilies by Francis as well as a recent speech:
- “Never speak poorly of others,” March 27
- “The temptation to gossip about others,” April 9
- “No gossip, no fear,” April 13
- “The threat of gossip,” September 2
- “From gossip to love of others,” September 13
- “Presentation of the Christmas greetings to the Roman Curia,” December 21
He says when we gossip, we “are doing what Judas did,” and “begin to tear the other person to pieces.”
“Every time we judge our brother in our hearts or worse when we speak badly of them with others, we are murdering Christians,” Francis says. “There is no such thing as innocent slander.”
2. Finish your meals.
No leftovers, please.
Named after a 12th-century saint who lived in poverty, Francis slams a “culture of waste” that neglects the plight of the hungry. (READ: Pope: Wasting food is stealing from the poor)
The Pope says: “We should all remember… that throwing food away is like stealing from the tables of the poor, the hungry! I encourage everyone to reflect on the problem of thrown away and wasted food to identify ways and means that, by seriously addressing this issue, are a vehicle of solidarity and sharing with the needy.”
3. Make time for others.
Tending to 1.2 billion members, Francis seems too busy for anything else.
That is, until he calls up strangers. Or entertains a random biker. Or sends a handwritten letter to a Jesuit he has never met.
The Jesuit who got the letter, Fr James Martin, says Francis inspires him “to be more generous in my own life with my time.”
Martin says: “If the Pope can find time to be kind to others, if he can pause to say thank you, if he can take a moment make someone feel appreciated, then so can I. So can we.” (READ: Making time for others: the Pope’s way)