Father Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who recently became Pope Francis, has been a truly open-minded and tolerant leader for the Christians around the world. He has shown exemplary compassion and has taken steps that his predecessors wouldn’t have even considered. The Pope recently offered a few simple guidelines to life. These tips, or “religious life hacks,” are based on his personal life and experiences that he had throughout his life.
Speaking in a very candid interview, which was later published in the Argentine weekly Viva, Pope Francis shared his own lifestyle guide with a humble, anti-consumerist twist. The Pope confirmed he drew on his personal experiences to come up with a wholesome recipe for a happy, more fulfilled life.
The guidelines aren’t complicated, and focus primarily on increasing interactions with families and near and dear ones. The highlights include a call to families to “turn off the TV when they sit down to eat because, even though television is useful for keeping up with the news, having it on during mealtime doesn’t let you communicate with each other,” according to a Catholic News Service translation of the interview.
May each family rediscover family prayer, which helps to bring about mutual understanding and forgiveness.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) July 31, 2014
Perhaps Pope Francis’ most profound advice was about communal harmony when he said people will also be much happier when they stop trying too hard to bring others around to their way of thinking — including on religion. The number one piece of advice actually came in the form of a slightly clichéd Italian expression, roughly translated as: “Move forward and let others do the same”, the English equivalent of “live and let live.”
The entire list is listed below:
1. “Live and let live“: Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, “Move forward and let others do the same.”
2. “Be giving of yourself to others“: People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”
3. “Proceed calmly in life“: The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist — gaucho Don Segundo Sombra — looks back on how he lived his life.
4. “Have a healthy sense of leisure“: The Pope said “consumerism has brought us anxiety,” and told parents to set aside time to play with their children and turn of the TV when they sit down to eat.
5. “Sundays should be holidays“: Workers should have Sundays off because “Sunday is for family,” he said.
6. “Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people“: “We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs” and be more vulnerable to suicide, he said.
7. “Respect and take care of nature“: “Environmental degradation is one of the biggest challenges we have,” said Pope Francis. “I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is, ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?'”
8. “Stop being negative“: “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, ‘I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,'” the Pope said. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”
9. “Don’t proselytize; respect others’ beliefs“: “We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyses: ‘I am talking with you in order to persuade you,’ No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing.”
10. “Work for peace“: “We are living in a time of many wars,” said Pope Francis, and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive and dynamic”.
Pope Francis certainly is one of the most popular religious leaders in the modern world. Having dared to bring in much needed modernization to the surprisingly archaic institution, Pope Francis appears to have much more wisdom to offer. But, his health should support him.
[Image Credit | Gregorio Borgia / AP]