Getting to know Pope Francis

As you can imagine, the Internet is flooded with photos, quips, quotes, and more background information about our new Holy Father. I’ve collected a few things that I think you’ll enjoy.

First up is the full text of Pope Francis’ homily from today’s Mass. Earlier, the Pope celebrated the Missa pro Ecclesiae in the Sistine Chapel with all of the cardinals, including those who were too old to vote in the Conclave. While the Argentinian people have no doubt heard him speak many times, the rest of the world perhaps has not. Here, now, we can “hear” what our new Pope sounds like:

In these three readings I see that there is something in common: it is movement. In the first reading, movement is the journey [itself]; in the second reading, movement is in the up-building of the Church. In the third, in the Gospel, the movement is in [the act of] profession: walking, building, professing.

Walking: the House of Jacob. “O house of Jacob, Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” This is the first thing God said to Abraham: “Walk in my presence and be blameless.” Walking: our life is a journey and when we stop, there is something wrong. Walking always, in the presence of the Lord, in the light of the Lord, seeking to live with that blamelessness, which God asks of Abraham, in his promise.

Building: to build the Church. There is talk of stones: stones have consistency, but [the stones spoken of are] living stones, stones anointed by the Holy Spirit. Build up the Church, the Bride of Christ, the cornerstone of which is the same Lord. With [every] movement in our lives, let us build!

Third, professing: 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 pitiful 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.

Walking, building-constructing, professing: the thing, however, is not so easy, because in walking, in building, in professing, there are sometimes shake-ups – there are movements that are not part of the path: there are movements that pull us back.
This Gospel continues with a special situation. The same Peter who confessed Jesus Christ, says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. I will follow you, but let us not speak of the Cross. This has nothing to do with it.” He says, “I’ll follow you on other ways, that do not include the Cross.” 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.

I would like that all of us, after these days of grace, might have the courage – the courage – to walk in the presence of the Lord, with the Cross of the Lord: to build the Church on the Blood of the Lord, which is shed on the Cross, and to profess the one glory, Christ Crucified. In this way, the Church will go forward.

My hope for all of us is that the Holy Spirit, that the prayer of Our Lady, our Mother, might grant us this grace: to walk, to build, to profess Jesus Christ Crucified. So be it.

His words are strong, prayerful, and, I think, hinting at the reforms that are much needed in the Curia and elsewhere in the Church, and which folks confidently are expecting Pope Francis to tackle.

Below are some snapshots from Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio’s first full day as Pope Francis I.

Rather than taking the papal vehicle, Pope Francis chose to ride the bus back to the hotel with the other cardinals. Cardinal Timothy Dolan remarked in a media interview that, at supper that night, the cardinals toasted the new Pope. His counter-toast? Some good-natured teasing, “I hope God forgives you.”

 

Here is another shot of the Holy Father on the bus – unassuming and joyful. 

 

 

 

This one is awesome. Here Pope Francis is at the hotel – yes, picking up his own luggage even though a member of the papal household would have retrieved his belongings for him. And, guess what? He paid his own bill.

 

 

This one is going to end up framed and hanging in my house somewhere… Pope Francis prays before the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary in St. Mary Major Basilica – an unannounced visit (okay, he gave them 10 minutes) that fulfilled his promise to visit the basilica and entrust his papacy and the Church to the Mother of God.

 

 

 

 

Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to indulge myself. Since I’m a life-long member of the Schoenstatt Apostolic Movement: Below is a photo of then-Cardinal Bergoglio with the Schoenstatt Fathers in Buenos Aires. I don’t have a date for this pic, but I do know that the Fathers presented the Cardinal with a coffee table book about Father Joseph Kentenich, Schoenstatt’s founder. Yes, this is shameless bragging! But…don’t you think ALL of the ecclesial movements are busy scavenging pics taken with Pope Francis?

Finally, here is the link to a National Review Online piece on the Pope by journalist and author, George Weigel, with some new and very intriguing background about Pope Francis. I highly recommend reading and sharing!

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/342964/first-american-pope-george-weigel

3 Comments

  1. Hi!
    Do you know how involved Pope Francis has been with Schoenstatt? Not much info coming out about it yet.
    Thank you!

    • No, Heather. I only know that there is a huge, annual, Schoenstatt pilgrimage event honoring Mary at which he eagerly officiates each year. I also hear he visits the Schoenstatt Shrine during that event. I’m sure he knows the basics of the spirituality, but how much more, I don’t know.

    • Heather, it was Pope Pius V.

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