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"Why After You?"
Diane M. Houdek
Source: Bringing Home the Word
Published: Sunday, September 15, 2013

People responded to Francis in ways that nothing he said or did can adequately explain. Even one of his closest followers, Brother Masseo, asked him once, “Why after you? Why does everyone follow after you?”

He had a certain charisma, but he didn’t like being a leader and wasn’t looking for followers, just companions. The simplicity of his lifestyle may have been attractive to some, but in his day as in ours a lavish lifestyle was always more desirable than the subsistence living of the “little poor man.” He was a model of compassion.

Even more, he was a nearly perfect model of the Gospel life. In doing so, he allowed the light of Christ to shine through all that he said and did, all that he was, in a way that has rarely happened in all of human history. And so people responded to him in the same way people responded to Jesus.

In following Francis, people knew they were following Christ. It’s no accident that the cross is at the center of the lives of both Jesus and Francis. It is the ultimate symbol of letting go of everything that gets in the way of a life lived for God and God alone. The power of that sign is unmistakable.

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