Required Reading, 1st Week of October 2015

Throughout the week, I read a LOT of online articles. What follows are the two I found most interesting:

How Pope Francis Became the People’s Pontiffvia Vanity Fair—a glimpse into the background of the mysterious and inspiring Pope Francis. His shrugging off of the trappings of prestige is unheard of these days:

Francis is the first Pope in 110 years who hasn’t lived in the palace, and he has shaken off many monarchical trappings. Up in that window, he isn’t a ruler condescending to look down on his subjects. The window isn’t a portal to the divine; it’s just an ornate window in a city full of them.

And what is he? He is a free man, that’s what he is. Somehow he has stayed true to himself and to the core Catholic message and has kept free of the pomp of the papacy, the crush of celebrity, and the expectations of the global Church. “He doesn’t ‘play’ the Pope,” says Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, head of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. “He is who he is.” He’ll ride in the Popemobile with the protective glass down, no matter the security risk. He’ll establish a shelter for homeless people near St. Peter’s Square. He won’t stop speaking off the cuff and he won’t insist that all the cardinals agree about everything. With 1.2 billion members, the Church is a tumultuous household, and he isn’t going to worry about a few flying dishes.

Perspectives on Insomniavia The Book of Life—leave it to Alain de Botton to make you reconsider what’s important in life. His writing makes me feel less alone. It conveys an understanding of what it means to be human and the compassion that says, “it’s okay. You aren’t crazy.”

Lately, I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night with an abundance of ideas and pent up energy. While I worry about my sanity, de Botton reminds me to enjoy it:

Insomnia may also provide the perfect occasion on which to think. It’s easy to forget how little strategic thinking ever gets done in the day. Judging by the ideas generated there, our beds have more of a right to be called our offices than our offices. Insomnia is the revenge of the many big thoughts one hasn’t had time to nurture in the daylight hours.

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