How Do You Model the Way – Check out the new Pope!

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Friends,

Have you been watching the new Pope? Like all great leaders — would that be YOU??? — he demonstrates a powerful sense of symbols to  model a way for others.  His actions remind me of the line attributed to the awesome spiritual leader, Mahatma Gandhi, “be the change you hope to see in the world.”*

The pope has so far turned away from the gold cross to an iron cross, rejected a platform which raised him above the other cardinals, turned down the papal apartment for a humbler bishop’s apartment, rejected the covered pope mobile for an open vehicle; and celebrated Holy Thursday services not at the grand Basilica at St John’s Lateran at the Vatican but in a chapel in a youth detention facility, where he washed the feat of detainees, including women – a major break from tradition. He is the first to take the name of Francis (of Assisi), who was not a cardinal, not a bishop, not even a priest; and who was legendary for his outreach to the poor.

When he DOES these things, it multiplies the power of what he TELLS others to consider.  Here is an excerpt from a powerful account of his first Holy Thursday Chrism Mass, to which he addresses the priests of the Church:

Priests, he said, need to go the “outskirts” where there is “suffering, bloodshed, blindness that longs for sight, and prisoners in thrall to many evil masters.” He added that God is not encountered “in soul-searching or constant introspection.”

“This is precisely the reason for the dissatisfaction of some, who end up sad — sad priests — in some sense becoming collectors of antiques or novelties, instead of being shepherds living with “the smell of the sheep”,” the Pope explained. “This I ask you: be shepherds, with the “odor of the sheep”, make it real, as shepherds among your flock, fishers of men.”**

If you’re a champion of change, or if you passionately believe that there is a powerful “way” to work, live and lead, then I ask you:

How might you EMBODY your way?  How might people look at you — as many of us, some of us prone to skepticism look at this new pope — and say, “Wow. She or he has a viewpoint, a way, and they are really WALKING the walk; they’re not afraid to put it out there, to break with tradition, or with social expectations!”  Can they see it in: the way you dress, where you hold your meetings, where you spend your time, how often you get out of the office, take risks, apologize; give away your time, your trust, your skills, your knowledge, your attention?   What do your kids see?  Your staff?  Your boss?  Your aging parents?  The lady at the checkout counter?

Pope Francis is hearkening back to St. Francis and to Jesus, in focusing on those excluded.  He’s causing me to ask myself:  Where am I spending my time and energy?  Do I have the “smell of the sheep” about me or am I too safe, too comfortable, too caught up in my little world?

How might you model the way and thus:

Lead with your best self!

Dan

* It turns out there is a super-lively discussion of whether Gandhi ever said this precise line; there is no clear documentation of him saying or writing this.  However, he LIVED it and said things that were quite close (although more wordy and philosophical).  If you’re curious follow this link: http://www.gandhitopia.org/forum/topics/a-gandhi-quote.

** Edward Pentin, “Pope Urges Priests to be Like Shepherds ‘Who Smell Like Their Sheep,'” Newsmax, March 28, 2013, accessed on March 31, 2013 at: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/pope-francis-chrism-mass/2013/03/28/id/496806.

10 responses to “How Do You Model the Way – Check out the new Pope!

  1. Dan,

    In watching Pope Francis demostrate his new leadership, it is comforting to know that “he gets it” by practicing the Law of Love ( http://www.lawoflove.com ) in every public appearance.

    We can all learn to give to each other better by following the new Pope’s example and giving to others in our work and personal lives. More at: http://www.coachingtip.com/2013/04/organizational-psychology-has-long-concerned-itself-with-how-to-design-work-so-that-people-will-enjoy-it-and-want-to-keep-doi.html

  2. Absolutely fantastic post Don. May be your best ever, and that is saying something. Congratulations and keep up the great work.

  3. What’s most inspiring to me (not a Catholic) is that Pope Francis appears to be acting in accordance with his beliefs. Whether we agree with his actions, we are clear about his authenticity (so far). You’ve written about this topic of being real for years and Pope Francis has given another platform for your message.

    And you’re clear about your enthusiasm for his actions!

  4. Even though i am not Catholic, I have been (and remain) very impressed by Pope Francis living his commitment to equality and justice. I have, however a concern about the foot washing in a detention center.
    I have not read how the participants were chosen, and it said some other than Catholic were chosen. I do hope they had full freedom of choice, but in a detention center, I wonder? if they were asked, did they feel like they could refuse? I am sorry to say this, and as sensitive as Pope Francis seems to be, it is generally older men who do not ‘get’ how they impose on others. I hope the washees were not imposed upon, and indeed were moved and blessed as I have been by his choices, but this one left me uncomfortable.

  5. Thank you Dan for this post. I, too, am blessed by the actions of Pope Francis I. Raised Catholic, I moved to the Episcopal Church years ago, never looking back. I seek those who preach the gospel of love by their actions, using words occasionally. Pope Francis has already become a great world leader by his work among us. May he, you, and all of us who seek to serve be blessed today.

  6. The amazing role that Pope Francis has written for himself in this first act has been the perfect platform for the Easter holiday. In a time when we look for rebirth and personal resurrection, the Pope has given us the most humble (yet powerful) example of Catholic relevance in the modern era.

  7. Not an exact quote, but the moment Jesus said that he who helps the least of us helps me, is what I thought of as I read that Pope Francis said that priests needs to go to the outskirts where there is suffering and bloodshed . . .

    There are the people who ask why God does not answer the cries of the suffering, of babies staving and the weak without help, the destitute. There are others who understand the cries of humanity are the cries of Christ, of God of our common spirit, and that is is we who are not answering the cries of Christ, of God, of our common body.

  8. Not an exact quote, but the moment Jesus said that he who helps the least of us helps me, is what I thought of as I read that Pope Francis said that priests needs to go to the outskirts where there is suffering and bloodshed . . .

    There are the people who ask why God does not answer the cries of the suffering, of babies staving and the weak without help, the destitute. There are others who understand the cries of humanity are the cries of Christ, of God of our common spirit, and that it is we who are not answering the cries of Christ, of God, of our common body.

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