Tag Archive: I am the Way


Pope Francis’ Talk to the World

pope congress

Pope Francis has spoken both to the Congress of the United States, our representatives, and to the United Nations, the representatives to the peoples of the world. Each son or daughter of a given country, like the United States, or of any other nation in the world, each of us, (you and me), we have a mission, a personal and social responsibility. The Pope is not speaking just to the people in Russia, or China, or the state of New York. He is addressing everyone. And, he is not speaking so that we can read a laundry list of “things to do” and then determine to whom it applies. The actions, described by the Pontiff, are ways all of us must seek out to improve our own way of living. Our actions, our lifestyle, will guide us to being concerned human beings. And, in so living, we will help bring change to others in need.

To many groups, Pope Francis holds out hope for a better life, a better world. However, it is not something that will magically appear. We need to open our eyes, the eyes of our heart, to recognize and embrace our struggles and the struggles and efforts of those with whom we come in contact. These may be our family, our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers. They should also include the people who are in need of food, shelter, clothing, safety, clean living, and clean water. To this list should be added, all those who abuse not only alcohol, drugs, but also other people, and children. Their instabilities, their hurts, their confusion play a huge part in their abuse of the world. In short, all people with whom we come in contact, we must look at their heart and see how they are suffering. Everyone is!!! We cannot focus on what they look like, how they act, or how they smell. All of these people heard or will hear the Pope’s message. Is this just going to be one more carrot dangled before their impoverished eyes? It will be, unless each of us strives to fulfill our own personal mission, our own social responsibility.

What is our mission, then? When does mission turn into a social responsibility? Our mission is as unique as we are. Our circumstances, our lives, our cultures, each of these play a part in forming what our mission is. On a global scale, to grow wholesomely as a human being. A concerned, loving human being, that is what forms each person’s mission. Our own personal mission is to view our own individual circumstances, where are we lacking, what do we need. The need that we seek, however, is not material, but spiritual. Do we need that 3rd or 4th TV? Do we need the approval of everyone? Do we strive, at all costs, to be liked by others? What are the things that we have grown accustomed to having, to searching for, to expecting? Look within, at our own heart. What requires adjustment? Are we striving to be a better person? Or, is the status quo acceptable to us? How do we view ALL PEOPLE? Unfortunately, for many of us that view falls into: some we like, some we don’t care about, and, some, we just don’t even want to be near.

Our mission is to uncover what it is about us that could be better…should be better. Oh, I can’t do that. That is too much trouble. This is usually our normal response, as we settle back and play one more game on the IPhone, or change the channel to watch our favorite show. We think we are ok, just as we are. However, other people … well, that is a different story. Look at the goodness of Pope Francis, his smile, his concern for others, his patience, his desire to serve, and still we see no need for us to change. “Well, he is the Pope. He has to be that way.” NO, he doesn’t have to be that way. But, he is that way and he is the Pope. Good people desire to be better. They strive to overcome themselves, to understand themselves. And, in that striving and understanding, they see what they are lacking and want desperately to change.

It is in this remaking of ourselves that we ask God’s assistance, because we cannot do this on our own. It is only through our relationship with God and seeing His Goodness and Love, that we will recognize our failings and our mistakes. God’s arms are extended to us, welcoming us, almost begging us to come into His embrace. It is only through our true acceptance of God’s love, our recognition that everything He has said and done is done for us, then, and only then, can we recognize how closed in on ourselves, we really are. God’s embrace showers His love, His kindness, His concern upon us. His example is for us to go and do likewise to the world around us, the people around us, the family and friends around us. This is our personal mission. But we cannot fulfill it, we cannot embrace others, if we keep hugging only ourselves. God has shown us His embrace encompassing all mankind. “I am the Way”, He says. Let me show you how you are to act with the people you come into contact with. Open your arms and embrace them, and, be concerned about their needs above your own.

TO READ THE ENTIRE TEXT OF POPE FRANCIS ADDRESS TO CONGRESS (click the prior underlined words).

The 5 Posts directly below, blend with this theme. They continue the thought. Thanks for coming:

1) Our Wake Up Call
2) Triggers In Our Lives
3) Love, Do we have it?
4) Whispers
5) Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

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Thoughts on Pope’s Resignation

pope benedict

A friend of mine sent me an email, with some comments made by a Bob Betterton. If you wish to see his remarks, go to Betterton on Pope Gregory XVI Resignation. This is the reply I sent to my friend’s email.

I never heard of Bob Betterton, so I “Googled” his bio. He attended two colleges, LeMoyne and Fordham, both Jesuit institutions.In one of his books he speaks about going from a compliant catholic, to a curious catholic and now as a practicing critical catholic. I assume we are hearing the critical catholic, now. His statement of “Dear All” speaks a lot. In those two words, we are hearing a pronouncement from the master. (I personally think the Mr. Betterton has an extremely high opinion of himself.) But that is neither hear nor there.

I could be wrong, but it seems that everyone who has a contrary opinion comes out of Jesuit institutions. I suspect that the philosophy of that organization is to teach people to ALWAYS be critical of what is said. In and of itself, that is good. What is bad is that not everyone who is critical has the … wholesomeness??… (not sure that is the correct word) to provide positive counter thoughts. So much for my “argumentum ad hominem”. I will address his statements rather than attack the man.

I think , (I could be wrong, admittedly), that a plot against the church is being depicted. Maybe my head is buried in the sand, but I cannot help but think  that Mr. Betterton must have been privy to some secret conversation. Was he in a Roman wine cellar and overheard a conversation? Who does he know that presented this information to him? In short, where are his FACTS? Speculation is…. speculation!! And that is specious, at best. He sees ghosts and goblins. He expects dire consequences. His own words, “This is one of the most diabolical, Machiavellian, tyrannical, unconscionable and disgraceful plots in history”. Why would this be considered a plot? If perpetuating Benedict XVI’s philosophy is a plot then he, obviously, doesn’t like what has been going on in the church for the last 8 or 9 years..Having another pope with the same mind-set as Benedict the XVI would be devastating to Mr. Betterton. He, obviously wants more change. Why? What areas does he not like? Where is he most re-active? Unfortunately, I don’t know that much about him.

What I feel is that more and more of the people who have our ear, are presenting THEMSELVES.What has happened to hope? Where has trust in God, gone? Jesus said in reference to His church, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it”. Apparently, Mr. Betterton feels that Jesus gave a timeline to those words. Does he think that the church will now flounder and fall? Does he think that this is the time? I feel that the 80 year old, Mr. Betterton, himself, is running out of time and wishes to have some impact on the church that he loves. (my observation, no factual content, deductions that I am making.)

My opinion: The world, the church is going through some very, very difficult times. No one feels comfortable in what is going on. No one person has the answer. The one person that could make a change has already come and been crucified. He did, however, give us the blueprint for conducting our lives. He has shown us how to live, “I am the way…” He was telling us how to live, what to do in times such as these. Pray. Pray for the people who rule. Pray for the countries in turmoil. Pray for the cities and towns we live in. Pray for our families. Prayer: “A lifting up of our hearts and minds to God”. …to Jesus. If  we truly pray (not just words, but our feelings, our convictions) then we will be loving that which we pray for. To live as a Catholic Christian we must believe in God. We must trust God. We must love God and one another. Faith, Hope and Charity…but the greatest of these is charity.

Yours in Christ

Christ Works Through Us

In my last entry, “People and Me”, I mentioned Christ’s words, “I am the Way”. These words are the key to all of our Christian belief. We hold Jesus as not only our model, our example, but the way we are to live. We are to believe this so deeply, so intimately that His thoughts are our thoughts, His concerns, His love, His passion for people are to become ours.

In today’s Gospel, at the very outset we hear the 72 disciples exclaim with joy, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name.” -1 Jesus goes on to caution them to not rejoice in this fact, but just rejoice that their names are written in heaven. These 72 were no different than you or I. They did not instantly become angelic or saintly. However, they did believe totally in Jesus. And their belief spurred them into actions at which they, themselves, were amazed. They believed as the proverbial mustard seed, and mountains of people were moved.

They believed in Jesus. They believed with their entire being. Their lives reflected their belief. We know the story of Jesus. We know the events in His life. We know the wonders that He did, the sufferings that He endured. We know of His Resurrection. All that information that we have in our mind, must find its way into our heart. It must move us, shape us, and guide us. The truth will set us free. Our belief, our total belief in Jesus, will be the driving force in our lives. Not just on Sunday or when we go to Mass, but throughout our daily life we will be guided by our love for Christ, our love for our God.

The Apostles and the 72 were the first ones to recognize the importance, the impact of Jesus in their lives. They themselves, like us, cannot do anything except through Jesus. Or said in a more direct way, total belief in Jesus, and all that it entails, enables Him to work through us. This is very easy to type, to read, to say but to live that total belief will consume us.

Our lives will change, must change. We can’t just read this or say it and then say, “Ok, now where was I?” It’s like a two by four hitting us, awakening us. Do I take my belief in Jesus outside, when I leave my home? The first person I meet, regardless who he or she is, will I treat them as I would Jesus? Am I really concerned about people, or just the appearance of being concerned? These are questions that take on different meanings when asked through our belief. This is not saying that our goal is to be nice or good to people. No, this is saying that our belief in Jesus, in His way, will automatically drive us to being nice or good to people. The being nice is not an end in itself, but rather a beginning.

Why is this just a beginning? It is the start, because through the genuine love, and concern that Jesus has for mankind, and that we strive for, Jesus can and will work through us. This is not something to which we can aspire. We can’t say, “Ok, Jesus, use me”. But, we can believe so totally, we can love so completely that we are willing to be used. The danger will always exist that this becomes an end in itself. That is where pride takes over. I… I… I. This is why it is so important to remember Christ’s words that He is the Way. For it is that Way, that will change us.

1- Luke 10, 17-24