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On Not Pointing Fingers
Diane M. Houdek
Source: Bringing Home the Word
Published: Sunday, December 16, 2012

Francis lived the Gospel in a literal and uncompromising manner. One of the things that sets him apart even from many other saints was the way he embraced the message of Jesus and walked so closely in his steps that he ended up bearing the wounds of the crucifixion in his own flesh. But throughout his life, he felt and showed a deeply joyful attitude not only toward God but toward all of creation. And that, too, is part of what it means to live the Gospel to the fullest extent possible.

He emphasized to his followers that they were to examine their own lives rather than pointing fingers at others. In his Rule of 1223, the rule of life that still governs Franciscan life today, he said, “I warn all the friars and exhort them not to condemn or look down on people whom they see wearing soft or gaudy clothes and enjoying luxuries in food or drink; each one should rather condemn and despise himself.”

Like John the Baptist preaching to the soldiers and tax collectors, like Jesus preaching to the sinners, Francis knew that the best way to bring people to God was to love them with divine love.

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