St. Francis, like no one before or since, captured the essence of what it meant to follow the example of Jesus Christ. Jesus commanded and St. Francis, more than any other human being, attempted to fulfill his simple yet unachievable demand.
On the surface, the death of Rabbi Hartman and the resignation of Pope Benedict occurring at the same time was a mere coincidence, two separate news items in two separate parts of the world, affecting two different religious communities. But there are lessons to learn from both men.
I looked at her ballet slippers on a shelf -- the ones she wore when she was 3 of 4. When her biggest concerns were which book we'd read before bed. I felt old. Worthless. Uncertain. And pretty uncomfortable as I lay there in silence. Until she spoke three words.
Because we are still near the beginning of a new calendar year, it's not a bad thing to listen to Francis' wisdom and consider the ways in which we might better live out our Christian lives in a spirit of humility.
Although there exist several differences between the two traditions, if we hope to love our neighbors as ourselves, then collectively we need to make an attempt to cross these bridges instead of just standing on one side looking across.
No politician can heal our nation. It's going to require a much more tremendous transformation than that. If Christians become the people of humility and repentance that Jesus died to make us, then we will be able to contribute to the transformation that is necessary.
When I read Cardinal Dolan's budget deficit message, I wept for St. Francis. Cardinal Dolan has domesticated this great Saint, tamed this wild man, reduced him from a radical, destabilizing force of nature into the patron saint of household pets.
By the time we get to the Seventh Step in the Twelve Step recovery process, our denial has been ripped away and we've done some very deep soul-searching. We come to the Seventh Step in a vulnerable state.
I think we could all learn something significant from dogs regarding the nature of not just giving, but receiving. There seems to sufficient conversation around the need to be a good giver, and appropriately so, but there is little talk about the other end of the stick.
We believe we are right and are, therefore, the wronged one. But are there benefits to being wrong? Can we turn such a situation around so that we can learn more about ourselves? Imagine how boring it would be if we were all always right!
Just as a sponge can only take on water after being wrung out, so too must we be able -- regardless of our experience or education -- to continually renounce our own fullness, lest we become bloated and stale.
It is one thing to talk about humility and entirely another to practice it. How do you bring humility to your interactions with your people? What about with your boss? Your customers? These 9 practices can bring out the strength in humility and open pathways to connection and growth.
The would-be prophet cowers before the throne and whimpers, "Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips." No posturing. No preachiness. No self-righteousness.