Friday, March 15, 2013

Lowly, And Yet Chosen

We have a pope. And he's a Jesuit.

We haven't had a Jesuit pope before. Having graduated from a Jesuit high school, I'm familiar with the rich history of this Catholic order of missional servants. So why has it taken so long for a member of the Society of Jesus to become the Pope? From this clever and informative article at the Jesuit Post:
I’m frequently amused that friends and family members who know zilch about the Jesuits (apart from the fact that our universities have good basketball teams) always seem to remember that “fully-formed” Jesuits take a special vow of obedience to the pope regarding mission.  Our “Fourth Vow” means we are prepared to go anywhere in the world the pope sends us.  We’re servants of the mission; the Pope is the one with the most universal view of the needs of the Church.  However, in addition to that fairly famous vow, we also promise not to “ambition” for any higher office, whether inside the Jesuit order or in the Church at large.  While offices of leadership and responsibility can and do come looking for us, we’re just not supposed to go looking for them.
He wasn't looking for this. He wasn't building a platform for himself, climbing the Catholic corporate ladder, aiming for fame and attention and power. He was quietly serving the Lord, who appears to have chosen him for this great task of leading the Catholic church.

Pope Francis has adopted the motto, "miserando atque eligendo" which means, "lowly, and yet chosen."

Lowly, and yet chosen.

It's a phrase I want to adopt for myself.

As a husband, a father, a pastor, a leader, and a child of God, I am lowly, and yet chosen. 

I am dust, but I am loved.

I am humbled yet confident.

Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor. (Proverbs 29:23 NIV)

Here's the catch: we can't pursue humility. The irony about the pursuit of humility and lowliness is that it is an inherently selfish and prideful act. In trying to be humble--or at least appear humble--we end up arrogant and self-focused. True humility comes from the pursuit of God and seeing my own broken self in the light of His goodness and glory. Lowliness is the natural fruit of a person authentically pursuing the person and ways of Jesus.

Let's walk humbly with our God and gratefully give thanks for the gift of being chosen to be a part of His kingdom.

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