Aug 10, 2011

Manners Matter.

St. Francis and the Leper
Some time ago I came across a George Will column titled, Manners and Virtue in a Modern World. One key premise had to do with connections or, more importantly, the lack of them. He says that many of us have no sense of propriety when in the presence of other people, because we are not actually in the presence of other people, even in public. "This is the age of social autism, in which people just can't see the value of imagining their impact on others." Technology enables "limitless self-absorption" which makes us inconsiderate and anti-social. It is important to remember manners are "everyday ethics" and help lubricate social frictions. But this can only occur when there actually is a connection. Secular Franciscans know that proper manners are rooted in our own religious tradition and are much more than grease for social interaction. All Christians know good manners must be habitual if virtue is to become real. This begins with the greatest connection, that between Creator and creature enabling connections between us creatures and multiplying that same gift of grace from God to every sacred moment. When we turn and transform the ordinary interactions of each day into habitual acts of respect surely civility can't be far behind. Take a chance, follow these steps: practice good manners by being the smaller person, finding a leper, paying it forward, and above all, by being a conduit of God's grace today. JMJ. Mick, SFO