Not through his success.

There is beauty and strength in vulnerability. From the cross, Jesus, the most perfect example of love, shows us how beautiful vulnerability can be. At the moment when Jesus was most vulnerable, when he was alone, beaten, stripped of everything, and hanging on a cross, he revealed the incredible strength of his love. If Jesus had been seeking success, he could have easily risen to power as king and forced the will of God upon people. Instead, he consistently chose vulnerability. We see it in his crucifixion, and we see it when our mighty God comes to be with us in the form of simple bread and wine in the Eucharist. Jesus freely chose to share in our daily human suffering, and in doing so he became united with us through his vulnerability—not through his success.

~ Claire McGrath, Redefining Sucess: The Beauty in Vulnerability | Catholic How

The Pope’s briefcase

Pope Francis’s engagement with the Divine Office is an inspiring example of the fruitfulness that comes from a patient and faithful participation in the liturgy of the Church. Let us pray that more people may move beyond their fascination with the Pope’s briefcase, and come to know the treasures that lie within.

~ Br. Innocent Smith, O.P., The Pope’s Well-Worn Breviary | Dominicana Blog

The acts of charity that you do not perform

It’s not easy to determine the best ways to act with kindness and mercy. Of course St. Basil the Great, of the fourth century, saw less grey area. He put it quite simply: “The bread which you do not use is the bread of the hungry; the garment hanging in your wardrobe is the garment of him who is naked; the shoes that you do not wear are the shoes of the one who is barefoot; the money that you keep locked away is the money of the poor; the acts of charity that you do not perform are so many injustices that you commit.”

~ Kerry Weber, Mercy in the City: How to Feed the Hungry, Give Drink to the Thirsty, Visit the Imprisoned, and Keep Your Day Job

The God we need

Yet, I think we could all be forgiven if we miss the greatness of Jesus’ message; most of the people of his time certainly did.  The Israelites didn’t want light: they wanted freedom; they didn’t need a wandering preacher and miracle worker, they wanted a politician who could pull it all together; they didn’t need a man who got rag-tag fishermen to follow him, they wanted a strong leader to throw the Romans out!

But in Jesus, we don’t get the person we want, we get the God we need!

We don’t get the Jesus who approves of everything we do, but the one who calls us to be better than we thought we could be.

We don’t get the Jesus who fights back for what is rightfully his, but the one who turns the other cheek right up to the Cross.

We don’t get the Jesus who turns on the lights so that we have an easy path, but we do get the Jesus who is himself the light!

~ Matt Janeczko, OFM Cap, “The Jesus We Need, Not the One We Want”, Catholic How

You must further cleanse your heart

Be sure, my daughter, that if you seek to lead a devout life, you must not merely forsake sin; but you must further cleanse your heart from all affections pertaining to sin; for, to say nothing of the danger of a relapse, these wretched affections will perpetually enfeeble your mind, and clog it, so that you will be unable to be diligent, ready and frequent in good works, wherein nevertheless lies the very essence of all true devotion. Souls which, in spite of having forsaken sin, yet retain such likings and longings, remind us of those persons who, without being actually ill, are pale and sickly, languid in all they do, eating without appetite, sleeping without refreshment, laughing without mirth, dragging themselves about rather than walking briskly.

~ St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life via a minor friar blog

That continues to wreak havoc

In Francis’s time the renouncement of power for which he is best known takes the form of rejecting the economic or monetary system of his day. Surely this remains an important element of the Franciscan disposition toward the world today. Franciscan men and women are, at least in part, supposed to live prophetically as people committed to speaking out against the systemically sinful nature of capitalism and unbridled consumption that continues to wreak havoc in our nation and world.

~ Daniel Horan OFM, Francis of Assisi and the Future of Faith