I can still remember the day when as a seminarian I discovered these words in the Letter of St Paul to the Philippians; “Do all that has to be done without complaining or arguing and then you will be innocent and genuine, perfect children of God among a deceitful and underhand brood, and you will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the word of life.” (Phil 2:14-15)
Those words had a powerful impact on me back in 1971. I have been conscious of them ever since and have always tried not to complain or argue, but have not always succeeded!
I was reminded of those words of St Paul when I read an article on Rome Reports a few days ago about the poster which Pope Francis had posted on his door in Casa Santa Marta.
The Rome Report read: ‘Pope hangs a sign on the door of his room: “No Whining”’ It then went on to say that the Pope put the poster on his door either because it’s the summer and the Pope is in a good mood, or because he is tired of hearing people turn complaining into a sport. Under the Italian heading VIETATO LAMENTARSI the words read:
“Offenders are subjected to syndrome of victimization that lowers the mood and the ability to solve problems.”
It goes on to say that “sanction is doubled if the offense is committed in the presence of children” and concludes with a hopeful message: “To become the best version of yourself, you must focus on your own potential and not on your own limits, so stop complaining and act to change your life for the better.”
Evidently Pope Francis was given the poster a month or so ago after one of his General Audiences in St Peter’s Square by the psychologist Salvo Noè. I believe that this is a message that summarizes Pope Francis’ thoughts, and highlights the way he runs his pontificate.
When I read this particular Rome Report I knew that this was a good lesson for me, and maybe it is a good lesson for all of us.