Pope ‘insisted on waiting his turn’ for medical treatment
But Cranmer is disappointed that the mainstream media have missed the real story in the Pope’s misfortune.
It is reported in passing that when he arrived at the local hospital for an x-ray, he joined the queue and insisted on waiting his turn.
He insisted on being treated ‘like any other patient’.
How many world leaders would do that?
Could you see an injured Barack Obama going to his local hospital and waiting in a long queue of injured Americans haggling with the ER receptionist over their Medicare entitlement? Or Gordon Brown in need of surgery but being content to register on an NHS waiting list only to be summoned on a date which suits them, and then being cancelled two or three times while they deal with a more deserving case?
The Pope manifested an exemplary Christian witness: a true expression of humility; the very incarnation of ‘he who is last shall be first’.
It is widely held that politicians are venal creatures, and religious leaders are largely held in contempt. The example of His Holiness is the precise antidote necessary to heal the patient – not to be engaged in as some superficial PR exercise which ensures that photographs are taken under a convenient ‘Waiting Room’ sign while journalists are briefed on the ‘humble meekness’ line they should take; but a genuine humility authentically expressed from the heart: outward visible signs of inward spiritual sincerity.
George Bernard Shaw once declared: "The Church must learn humility, as well as teach it.” Is it not refreshing that there is one world leader who is seen to possess integrity; who speaks truth from the heart against the zeitgeist? True humility – about which our politicians appear to know very little – is being humble about the right things in the right way and at the right times. As GK Chesterton observed: "What we suffer from today is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has settled on the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself but undoubting about the truth. This has been exactly reversed."
Christian humility has become a hidden virtue. In a vain and boastful world obsessed with the self, the ego, convenience and the pursuit of gratification, God still gives grace to the humble. In humility is wisdom. As TS Eliot glimpsed: "The only wisdom we can hope to acquire is the wisdom of humility.”
But rather like the Mozart sonatas which His Holiness is fond of playing, humility is most understood and best appreciated when it is performed rather than merely scored, defined or preached about. The dictionary may talk of meekness, self-denial, self-deprecation, abasement and self-sacrifice. But these are just black notes on a page.
The symphony of humility is found only it is performance. And those who have time for others, who are more interested in others and who express genuine sympathy for others, are the true servants of the people.