March 15, 2013
We can tell a lot about a person from his non-verbals – how he carries himself, his gestures, the tone of his voice and facial expressions. From the beginning one of the most encouraging things about this pope was his profound bow as 200,000 people in St. Peter’s square and around the world prayed in silence for him before he gave the papal blessing to all. He will be leading all bishops and priests by this example of humility. This is not to say that previous popes in my lifetime were not humble. I cherished the humility of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Humility means that one can be easily led by the Holy Spirit, is a good listener, and will give others the benefit of the doubt before acting.
I was impressed also by the stories of how he lived in a small apartment in Buenos Aires and cooked for himself, rather than in the bishop’s palace being waited on by staff. And those continuous visits to the slums of BA. Then there was his refusal to take any Curial post even though he could have. This is not a man who loves power, but he isn’t afraid to engage it using strong language when necessary. Loving all of this.
We could call Pope Benedict XVI the Pope of Christian Unity, the Pope of Hope, the Pope of the Sacred Liturgy, the Teaching Pope and many other attributes. It looks like we’re going to be calling Pope Francis the Pope of Prayer among other things. Loving it.
After reading his first sermon I was thanking God for his vision of the Church and what we pilgrims are doing in it:
…we can walk as much we want, we can build many things, but if we do not confess Jesus Christ, nothing will avail. We will become a philanthropic [what he said in Italian, not the erroneous English translation] NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of Christ.
When one does not walk, one stalls. When one does not built on solid rocks, what happens? What happens is what happens to children on the beach when they make sandcastles: everything collapses, it is without consistency. When one does not profess Jesus Christ – I recall the phrase of Leon Bloy – “Whoever does not pray to God, prays to the devil.” When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil.
…When we walk without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, and when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord. We are worldly, we are bishops, priests, cardinals, Popes, but not disciples of the Lord.
Loving his clarity and simplicity: Jesus Christ is the center. We choose either Christ or Satan.
Sense of Duty
This morning he met with all the cardinals in the Clementine hall and remarked:
Courage, dear brothers! Probably half of us are in our old age. Old age, they say, is the seat of wisdom. The old ones have the wisdom that they have earned from walking through life. Like old Simeon and Anna at the temple whose wisdom allowed them to recognize Jesus. Let us give with wisdom to the youth: like good wine that improves with age, let us give the youth the wisdom of our lives.
As an “oldo” as my husband and I laughingly call ourselves, I particularly appreciate these words which could be applied to every older faithful Catholic who has been treading the narrow path. We are still sinners, but we also have something to offer those coming along after us. It is always our duty to share the Faith and encourage the younger ones in their journey. Love this validation.
It looks like we’re going to have plenty to listen to and ponder with gratitude from this Pope.
I ask all my readers to speak kindly of the Holy Father. He is beginning a new life that is as antithetical to his personality as it was to Benedict XVI. To attack the Pope is to attack Jesus Christ as Father Byers wrote at his Holy Souls Hermitage blog, since the Pope stands for the Church and all that Christ taught. Catholics should remember this too. We don’t need to add fuel to what the secular media is up to. We aren’t to make any pope in our individual image. It’s the job of the Holy Spirit to continue His formation of Pope Francis, just as He does with us if we cooperate. Let’s all keep the Pope in our prayers.
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R. Now and forever!
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