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Compassion and patience are the absolutely unique characteristics of true spiritual authority, and without any doubt are the way both Francis and Clare led their communities.

They led not from above, and not even from below, but mostly from within, by walking with their brothers and sisters, or “smelling like the sheep, as Pope Francis puts it. A spiritual leader who lacks basic human compas­sion has almost no power to change other people, because people intui­tively know he or she does not represent the Divine or Big Truth.

Such leaders have to rely upon role, laws, and enforcement powers to effect any change in others. Such change does not go deep, nor does it last.

In fact, it is not really change at all.

 

Richard Rohr Eager to Love

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