In the days before and after the canonization, I couldn’t help reflect on what a leader is, and how it is that great leaders engender gratitude, loyalty and love.
You have to stand for something. You have to suffer for it. (John Paul was shot and almost killed, and he spent the last third of his pontificate in constant physical distress. He kept showing up anyway.) You have to be brave. (He wasn’t afraid of any earthly power, not even the Soviet Union.) You have to stand by your beliefs as long as you know they are right; you have to speak and write the truth. Explaining what you believe involves trusting people to hear and consider; it assumes they will respond fairly and even with their highest selves. In this way you develop a relationship with people, an ongoing conversation between your articulations and their private thoughts. You are talking to them. When eventually they respond, they are talking to you.