When I saw this as a Facebook post by my friend, Lisa Brock, I knew I had to have it. Lisa was a former “competitor” of mine when I did consulting in Tampa years ago, although, really, I don’t strictly believe in “competitors” nor, do I think, does she. But I got to know her better when we both taught at the University of Tampa and I grew to admire her. And then, of course, there is Facebook and there, I got to really appreciate her thought process. Lisa always teaches me a little something and sometimes a big something. Her point of view is so well-reasoned and heart-felt–she’s a person of integrity in world where it’s in short supply.
What I love about this piece is that it goes beyond “The Pope isn’t doing enough” or “isn’t the church paternalistic” and it gets right down to the nitty-gritty, and that’s LOVE.
Pulling for the Pope and for Love
by Lisa Brock
I am not a Catholic but I have fallen in love with this Pope.
I believe he epitomizes the best that any religion can offer – and that is the transcendent power of love. I know people of many faiths and that has been a blessing to my life. I know good Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus. I know good Bahais, Taoists and Sikhs – even atheists. And because of this, I have a sense of faith that is not driven by any particular doctrine or that has gone unchallenged nor have I learned in a vacuum.
But what I have mostly learned is that religion aside, we, meaning humanity in general and across race, culture and socio-economics, are pretty much the same with very similar aspirations. We want to have meaning in our lives, some sort of purpose and some kind of a family life. And we all want to be – need to be – unconditionally loved. And this is something that is lacking for many.
Religion, like politics often divides us but if we can set the differences aside – and focus on the love part – we can in fact get along. We can find common ground. And that is what the Pope did. He didn’t choose to see or meet just Catholics while he was here. Or the wealthy or dignitaries. He served as an example to ALL – regardless of religious belief – or non-belief. He sought out in the crowds, those with no agenda – because children, the homeless, those in wheelchairs with different abilities and those who have been victimized by church leaders have very little power. But they DO need love. I mean – we ALL need love.
As I was listening to what Ben Carson had to say about a Muslim President it became clear to me that he has probably never known a Muslim or at least not well. Of course there are ‘bad’ ones but we HAVE to wake up. There are some pretty bad behaviors attributed to Christians too. Every group you can THINK of has good and bad as part of the whole. It is more like human nature than it is the attribute of any given group. Or any religion. We have to stop being afraid to know people who are different from us. And we have to be open to learning.
As I watched the Pope work his magic, I worried more about the vacuum of leadership in our country. About a Congress who tried – purely on the basis of politics – to make his visit something that was wrong or bad. I worry about the lack of humility, the arrogance, the unyielding desire to win at all cost and to look the other way when wrong choices are made.
Whether it is Tom Brady using the legal system to win – though clearly he did something wrong, or Carly Fiorina overstating her success or Hilary Clinton dragging out the truth about her emails – I really do wonder – when did it become okay for our leaders to lie? To cheat? To use the legal system to absolve the truth of personal responsibility? Where is the leadership? But then I SAW it in Pope Francis.
I hope that people everywhere who heard or saw him will ponder the message of the Pope and examine what his visit symbolizes. That we can and must do better. That like he did with sexual abuse victims – we have to take responsibility and stop blaming others for our own transgressions. That every life must be respected and every choice, closely examined through the lens of love. That even those who make egregious mistakes be treated humanely and with love. Even his message about women as Priests struck me in an interesting way. Perhaps he is saying that we denigrate the role of women by not valuing the many contributions already being made by Nuns everywhere? He made me wonder…why are their efforts less important or worthy? Is it because they are not Priests or is it because they are women and women’s work is somehow not as valued?
I admit that it troubles me still but again…I love that he did not duck it and he answered the questions before him. Life can be complicated and even though I may differ with him here or on other issues, I admire anyone who walks their talk in the humble way that he does. (As opposed to that way that say Trump or Ted Cruz walks his…)
THAT is how we teach and build character. That is how we become a ‘great’ country again to borrow a VERY overused phrase by our country’s Republican front runner. I hope and pray that Congress heard his message, saw his example and will feel pulled to re-examine what their leadership means. That truly would be an act of God.
I am pulling for Pope Francis. And especially for his message of love.
I’d love for you to comment on this post. And if you are inclined? Share it. Everywhere. Thank you.