“Outstanding people have one thing in common: an absolute sense of mission” – Zig Ziglar
Last week, I was completely floored when I heard President Raul Castro say that he will start praying and return to church because of Pope Francis. A staunch communist will return to the Church after nearly 60 years!
Since I heard the news, I have been thinking about it. The courage for President Castro to make that statement has made made think more about who Pope Francis is and how he is impacting lives.
The 1959 Revolution, virtually eliminated the Catholic Church from Cuba. At the time, over 85% of it’s residents claimed Catholicism as their faith. President Castro and his brother Fidel Castro kept an entire country under communist rule even after the fall of communism in the European countries. If you look at any pictures of Cuba’s city life, it’s like a time warp 1950’s movie with the old cars.
This isolation of political ideology and economic embargos with the US has kept 11 million people in impoverished conditions. The few nuns and priests that have remained keep their mission of clear and focused mission of feeding and educating “the poorest of the poor” according to Al Jazeera’s, Robert Kennedy.
Some believe it is Pope Francis’ common Latin background, both in language and culture (BBC News) that has reached the sensibilities of President Castro. After two years, I think it’s safe to make a definite conclusion that it is the Pope’s credibility. He doesn’t waste a moment, Pope Francis’ words are intentionally aligned by his actions.
It obvious that he keeps his ego in check and the mission of peace is paramount. The ability to act with his strengths of compassion, humility, accountability and commitment, have allowed Pope Francis to transcend ideologies.
I guess the challenge is really in President’s Castro court now. Apparently, his statement about praying and going to church was not printed in the Cuban newspapers. The courage is knowing what’s true and acting upon it. It’s easier said than done. Again, it’s all about the alignment of words and actions.
I’m looking forward to know a little more about how President Castro will be preparing for the Pope Francis’ visit to Cuba this September.
What does the relationship between the two men say to me about working with someone who seems to be adversarial? Can we find a common mission to work from?