Minute Meditations

The ‘Holiness of Negotiation’

Pope Francis says, “Jesus always knows how to walk with us, he gives us the ideal, he accompanies us towards the ideal, he frees us from being locked into the rigidity of the law and he tells us: ‘Do this to the extent that you can.’ And he understands us well. This is our Lord, it is he who teaches us. Allow me to share a term with you which might seem a bit strange, it is the little holiness of negotiation: I cannot do everything, but I want to do everything, I am going to agree with you, at least let us not insult one another, let us not make war and let us live together in peace.”

When we hear challenging passages from Scripture, we might be tempted to say, “What Jesus really meant to say…” and then we change the message to something that sounds more like what we think God wants us to do. For people who pride themselves on sticking tightly to the rules of the Church, messages of God’s mercy and tolerance often seem disorienting. We want to be right more than we want to be reconciled. We want to believe that we’re saved and others are damned. We like our world black and white. For Pope Francis, reflecting on the words and following in the way of Jesus, reconciliation is the better choice, even if it means bending our self-righteousness a bit. There’s an old saying, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” If we focus on finding common ground with one another, we’re less likely to end up in irreconcilable disputes. We might never come around to another’s point of view completely, but both sides may move closer to the middle through what the pope calls “the little holiness of negotiation.”

—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis
by Diane M. Houdek

The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis


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