Setting himself firmly in the footsteps of Jesus, Francis made an uncompromising demand that the brothers also abandon that power which dominates and controls. His insistence that the brothers abandon domineering power are equally as firm as the insistence that they abandon wealth: “Let all the brothers not have power or control… especially among themselves” (ER, V, 9). “None of the brothers may be treasurers or, overseers in any of those places where they are staying to serve or work among others. … Let them, instead, be the lesser ones and be subject to all in the same house” (ER, i VII, 1-3). “The brothers… [who] live spiritually among the Saracens and nonbelievers…[are] not to engage in arguments or disputes, but [are] to be subject to every human creature for God’s sake…” (ER, XVI, 5-6). Like Jesus before him, Francis recognized that power which controls and dominates is incompatible with compassion. The abandonment of such power is an essential precondition for compassionate redeeming love.
Excerpts from Archbishop Cordileone’s Talk at the March for Marriage — June 19, 2014; Washington, D.C
The speech was so inspirational I had trouble picking out excerpts and considered posting it in its entirety here. I strongly encourage you to read it beginning to end. The full text is available on the Archdiocese of San Francisco’s website.
. . .
It is this kind of love and compassion in the service of truth, especially the truth of the human person, that has marked the lives of the holy ones of our own faith tradition and others as well: hospitals, orphanages, schools, outreach to the poor and destitute – giving without concern for getting anything in return, seeing in each human being, especially in the poor and destitute, a priceless child beloved by God, whom God calls to turn away from sin and toward Him, so that they might be saved.
. . .
Let us, then, take our cue from the best our predecessors in faith have inspired, and not humanity’s frequent failings and sins. Like them, we now in our own time need to proclaim and live the truth with charity and compassion as it applies to us today: the truth of a united family based on the union of the children’s father and mother in marriage as the foundational good of society. Every child comes from a man and a woman, and has a right, a natural human right, to know and be known by, to love and be loved by, their own mother and father. This is the great public good that marriage is oriented towards and protects. The question is then: does society need an institution that unites children to the mothers and fathers who bring them into the world, or doesn’t it? If it does, that institution is marriage – nothing else provides this basic good to children.
Yes, this is a foundational truth, and one to which we must witness by lives lived in conformity to it, and which we must proclaim with love.
. . .
But even those from whom we suffer retribution – and I know some of you have suffered in very serious ways because of your stand for marriage – still, we must love them. That is what our ancestors in faith did, and we must, too. Yes, it is easy to become resentful when you are relentlessly and unfairly painted as a bigot and are punished for publicly standing by the basic truth of marriage as a foundational societal good; it is tempting to respond in kind. Don’t. For those of us who are Catholic, we just heard our Master command us in the gospel proclaimed at Mass the day before yesterday: “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt 5:44). We must not allow the angry rhetoric to co-opt us into a culture of hate.
Yes, we must show love toward all of these and more. Love is the answer. But love in the truth. The truth is that every child comes from a mother and a father, and to deliberately deprive a child of knowing and being loved by his or her mother and father is an outright injustice. That is our very nature, and no law can change it. Those with temporal power over us might choose to change the definition of marriage in the law even against all that we have accomplished through very generous participation in the democratic process, but our nature does not change. If the law does not correspond to our nature, such that there is a conflict between the law and nature, guess which will prevail? And people will figure it out.
. . .
So take heart: the truth spoken in love has a power over the human heart. We are here today to March for Marriage, to pick up the torch, and pass on to a new generation the truth about marriage, not just the abstract truth, but the lived reality that makes a difference in children’s lives. So, my friends, we must not give up: the truth will not go away, and we will not go away. Let us take heart from the legacy we have received, let us place our trust in God, and let us go forth to build a civilization of truth and love.
It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.
– – St. John Paul II via Tom O.F.S.
From the hills and plains, from cities and farms, they come in every age; clergy, religious, laity, treading the road to holiness in the footsteps of the little poor man of Assisi. Working together in love and mutual support, they throw the meaning of Christ’s love into those corners of the marketplace where huddle the poor, the friendless, God’s little neglected ones.
Franciscans are simple people whose many-faceted lives are directed toward “becoming like little children.” Working hour by hour, at varying tasks under various conditions, they seek only to stand as a diversion from the pettiness of the world, and by their living the gospel life after the manner of Francis, encourage others to follow.
What does the rule ask of us? To be in the forefront in promoting justice by the testimony of their human lives and their courageous initiatives. We are not bystanders any more. Franciscans get involved. We involve ourselves in wise ways, observing, judging, acting. We use common sense. We get help if that is needed. We seek trained help if that is needed. We seek training if that is needed. We support professional help if that is needed. But doing nothing is no longer a choice for us.
We already know some crosses: a parent stricken with cancer, a brother in trouble with the law, a spouse who loses a job. These are the crosses that we can expect. The truly revolutionary moment in our Christian lives, however, comes when we begin to seek out the Crosses of others: to search to enter into the messiness of the lives of people we don’t take care of because of family ties or the loyalty of friendship. Christian greatness is when we find the thieves who hang in public and decide to hang with them: when we get put up on the cross for all to mock, that is the time we ought to have the courage to hang there with them and call out to Jesus, “Remember us, when you come into your kingdom.”
~ Matt Janeczko, New Sandals: “Of Kings and Jesus”
The missionary mandate which the Church received from the Risen Lord (cf. Mk 16:15) has assumed new forms and methods over time, depending on the places and situations where it was realized and various moments in history. Even though proclaiming the Gospel in our day is much more complicated than in the past, the Church’s task is one and the same as from the very beginning. Since the mission has not changed, it can be rightly said that we can make our own, even today, the enthusiasm and courage which characterized the Apostles and early disciples. The Holy Spirit, who moved them to throw open the doors of the Cenacle and sent them forth as evangelizers (cf. Acts 2: 1-4), is the same Spirit who guides the Church today and prompts a renewed proclamation of hope to the people of our time.
~ Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei
Now a Catholic is a person who has plucked up courage to face the incredible and inconceivable idea that somebody else may be wiser than he is.
~G.K. Chesterton, The Well and the Shadows
Migration is not an easy or a pleasant thing for a tiny bird to face. It must turn deliberately from solid land, from food, shelter, a certain measure of security, and fly across an ocean unfriendly to its life, destitute of everything it needs. We make much of the heroism and endurance of our airmen and explorers. Perhaps some day men will rival the adventurous hope of the willow wren and the chiff-chaff; an ounce and a half of living courage, launching out with amazing confidence to a prospect of storms, hardship, exhaustion—perhaps starvation and death. Careful minds would hardly think the risk was worth taking. But the tiny bird, before conditions force it—not driven by fear, but drawn by Hope—commits itself with perfect confidence to that infinite ocean of air; where all familiar landmarks will vanish, and if its strength fails it must be lost. And the bird’s hope is justified. There is summer at the other end of the perilous journey. The scrap of valiant life obeys a true instinct, when it launches itself on the air. It is urged from within towards a goal it can attain; and may reckon the suffering of the moment not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed.
~ Evelyn Underhill, The House of the Soul, via Shirt of Flame
My wish is that all of us, after these days of grace, will have the courage, yes, the courage, to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Lord’s Cross; to build the Church on the Lord’s blood which was poured out on the Cross; and to profess the one glory: Christ crucified. And in this way, the Church will go forward.
~The Holy Father Pope Francis, Homily, Thursday, 14 March 2013