One of the reasons I think Pope Francis resonates with so many is his ability to translate the abstract to the concrete. If you read or hear his preaching, his background as a pastor is obvious because he is able to convey Christian thinking in a way that normal ears can grasp.

An article from last year came across one of my streams recently. I remember seeing it last September, and it’s no less powerful now: Gossip is a form of murder, Pope Francis reflects.

Pope Francis said that the “Lord does not waste many words on this concept,” and that “he who has hatred in his heart for his brother is a murderer.” …

“Gossip,” he cautioned, “always has a criminal side to it. There is no such thing as innocent gossip.”

Quoting St. James the Apostle, the Pope imparted that the tongue is designed to praise God, “but when we use our tongue to speak ill of our brother or sister, we are using it to kill God…the image of God in our brother.”

Great pastors convey the depth of Scripture not simply as a set of religious codes, but as a means to better understand Christ.

I think that to see “the image of God in our brother” is a virtue because it concretizes love. It makes love the product of intentional decisions, like restraint from pettiness or gossip, or part of an effort to cultivate humility.