Tag Archive: Pope Francis


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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pope francis peace

On this past Saturday, September 7th, Pope Francis made an appeal to all mankind. He made a plea that we, fast and pray for peace in this world. Unfortunately, they are two words, “fast” and “pray”, that we seem to shun, to pull away from. To fast means to deny oneself of something pleasurable, namely food. To pray means to stop worshipping ourselves, but rather acknowledging and praying to a higher authority. The pope’s appeal said many things to us. I am unable to focus on more than one or two salient points in his public prayer. To read the entire meditation of Pope Francis, click here.

What I want to focus on, what I want you to see and hear, are his words on Syria, on world peace. The body of nations, at least most of them, agree that the use of chemical weapons is a horrible form of murder. The body of nations also agrees, again most of them, that they should be banished. And yet, we have some nations that don’t agree with those last two statements. They find these instruments of death “useful ways” of controlling their citizenry. This, I am sure is one of those crimes that cry out to God for vengeance. And that is exactly what we must do. LEAVE it in the hands of God. Trusting that God will rectify this horrible situation, is not burying your head in the sand.

Pope Francis speaks in terms of horrific evil. And though this is so, he pleads for sanity, he begs for calm. His most pertinent words are these, “You cannot purge evil, with evil.” Evil will only flare up and create more evil. These are very deadly times. These are times when we cannot stick out our chin and declare that we are right, and that we must retaliate. To do so, at this time, will truly rip apart a world that is already torn by grief, by hatred, and by pride.

And yet, the argument will be made, “…if we do nothing, evil has won.” That argument goes on and points out more stupidity. “…by retaliating, we back up our words. We stand firm. We show them that we mean business.” As I said, earlier, evil begets evil. Our pride, whether it be personal or national, is misplaced here. Do we really think that a show of might is what is needed now? Let’s bludgeon them into submission…is that the idea? There will always be a dictator that feels he has nothing to lose. He will throw those very same people that he would have gassed, up to be his defenses against the world.

The pope emphasizes that prayer to God, that Supreme Being, who is Father of us all, is the only measure that makes sense. Extend a hand in friendship, as horrible as that may seem. Ask the nations to sit down and each side explains their position. Have we not learned anything from the Christ? He sat with harlots and thieves. He mingled with those suffering from leprosy, the unclean of the world, so to speak. He did not lash out at His persecutors. He answered their questions and even gave them an opportunity to repent, to change their ways.

We live in a civilized nation. We extend our hand in friendship to countries and nations. Some times that extended hand is just frozen there in time, and is never grasped. But we do extend it. Don’t we? Or, are we saying that there are just some things that we cannot, and will not tolerate. So rather than talk, rather than negotiate…we will crush them?

“We will look foolish if we don’t retaliate”. “We cannot sit back and do nothing”. Are these your thoughts? We are not doing “nothing”. We are trying to deal with evil in the only way that makes sense…with goodness. You think we will look foolish? How foolish will we look and feel if we get embroiled in a war, when diplomacy was NOT tried? This is not the time to flex whatever muscle we still have. This isn’t when we should stand on our pride and exclaim, “We told you, “Don’t use the chemical weapons”. Death is death, no matter how you look at it. Is it ok to kill the unborn? Is it ok to retaliate, causing countless more lives to be slain? Do we really think that our individual judgment is so “right on”, that we can throw the whole world into hell, with impunity?

Pope Francis is asking us to pray. Individually, we are playing a game of Russian roulette. Collectively, the whole world, the civilized peoples of this world must come together and say, “Enough is enough”. There must be a civilized way of getting obstinate nations to talk. Ostracize them? Don’t trade with them? Bring them to their senses without trying to bludgeon them. If you still feel that justice must be served, then seek it, but only after negotiations, peaceful methods, Christian methods have been tried.

We seem to keep lowering ourselves to the standards of those with whom we disagree. Isn’t it about time when we try raising other people’s standards to ours? Or, is the problem, we have lowered our standards so much, in the past, that our standards, our principles are not much higher than other peoples? It is time for us to decide what we want to be, if and, when we grow up.

THERE IS NOT MUCH TIME. PLEASE, CIRCULATE THIS TO EVERYONE IN YOUR EMAIL. ASK THEM TO DO THE SAME.

To All Mankind

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It does not matter what your stance is with respect to Pope Francis. Whether you are Catholic or not, is irrelevant, for this pope is speaking out to the world. To all of us, he is giving us a message on how to live, how to conduct ourselves. By his actions and example, he is forcefully telling us to wake up, that our lives must change.

 “How can I say this”, you might ask. You may not agree with the pope’s religious beliefs. You may not care for Catholics or what they believe in. You might even dislike the grandeur (I would rather call it “respect”) that seems to accompany many of the Catholic ceremonies. Maybe, Christianity holds no appeal for you. Or possibly, you don’t believe in God, or maybe you think that there is no god. Maybe, you are an out-and-out hedonist, seeking just your own pleasure and gratification. Wherever you fall on the spectrum of belief, you still have a mind. You still have an intellect. You still, I presume, want to know the meaning of life and where yours is taking you.

 We read the newspaper and find out what the president says or does. We look at the news reports on the television and see what nations are doing, what rulers are saying. Or maybe, we just look at the news to see who is killing whom. My point is, we read, we are curious, we want to know. For having this knowledge will tell us how our lives will be changed, will be affected. We find out in this manner is there something that we should be concerned about? Be worried about?

Well look at what this new pope is saying and doing. He is telling us with his words AND his actions that things must change. He is showing us how to live, as he embraces drug addicts, as he speaks out that he is “not to judge anyone”, as he rides a bus, as he lives in regular quarters and not the papal residence. Do you think that he is doing this just for show? Do you feel he is living a lie? No, the man is being true to himself, true to his beliefs. This is Christ in action. The leader of the Catholic Church is telling us, “Enough is enough”. The time to reform ourselves, the time to change our lives is NOW. (Don’t just read this article, and possibly nod your head in agreement…but then continue on with your life as though it was just another polite nice thought and nothing more.)

I am telling you, here and now, ALL OF US must change. If for no other reason than for the state of the world, we must change. Nations are killing their peoples. Nations are attacking each other. Citizens are killing other citizens. People hate people. People use people. We have become so self-centered that we think only of our own needs. We don’t care a whit about anyone else. Have you ever lifted a beggar up off the street? Does he/she need a warm, hot meal? Or, do you see in them, some misfit, a drug addict, a loser? If Jesus could do it, if the pope can do it, why can’t YOU do it? Why? Really. WHY?

If you think that it is not inside you to do such things, then ask yourself these questions: “Is goodness inside you? Is the spirit of God inside you? Do you care about anyone else?” As Catholic Christians we have been given examples to follow, Jesus, Mary, the saints and now Pope Francis. Any one of them we could take as our exemplar, our mentor. They have lived lives, and are living lives, that are to be emulated, not just observed. To those who are not Catholic, not Christian, we say to you, “You are still a member of humanity.” Is your life helping or hurting others? If for no other reason than the common good, your life must go out to others, helping them, lifting them up and addressing their needs.

We see things happening in other countries, and also, in our own country and we come to the conclusion that this is how we are to act, that it is alright to act this way. Is this not the tail wagging the dog? Instead of living our life as we think we should, we are letting others determine what we are to do. no, No, NO, NO!

If you believe that there is a purpose for your life. If you feel that life is something to be shared with others. If you know in your heart of hearts that all of us are equal. Then, our actions to others, will be good actions. And these people, seeing what they have been freely given, how they have been treated, they will instinctively, want to pass that goodness on to others. Good diffuses itself. Goodness brings about more goodness. If a mile begins with a single step, then changing the world begins first with ourselves and our attitudes towards others. All mankind must begin to look at itself, and see what needs to be changed. Take a good, long, look at yourself, what do you see?

This way of acting is important enough to ask each of you who read this to pass it on to others, and so on , and so on. Let’s start to change the world.

Which of These Reminds you of Other Popes?

Which of These Reminds you of Other Popes?

Pope Francis is making quite a stir. We hear the public TV stations, the newsrooms, EWTN, and others all speculating what he will do in his papacy. What will he be like, what changes, will he make… etc. etc. The other day, I heard a woman actually being excited and looking forward towards his pronouncements on gay marriage and pro-choice.

A pope is a pope is a pope. Regardless of what his temperament is, regardless if he looks much warmer, friendlier than his predecessors, he is first and foremost a pope. As pope, he is the leader of the Catholic Church, the Bishop of Rome, and oh, by the way, still bound by Moral and Natural Law. He does not make changes just because there are a disgruntled number of people who want something changed. “We want married priests”. “We want a bigger role in the Church for women”. “We don’t want a stigma on gay marriages”. “We want the right to choose”. These and other banners can be seen being waved, being uttered.

People, please, see Pope Francis as he is, not as you want him to be. I believe he IS going to make changes in the church. He will inspire those changes needed for reform. Reforms will come about because of his own actions, his own way of life, his humility, his love for the poor. He will lead by example. Pots can be banged outside the Sistine Chapel’s windows until the cows come home, they will not, nor should not, influence this man of God.

I see him as a leader who has been chosen by God, a loving and immutable God. Just because groups of people, of even nations of people are clamoring for this or that change does not mean that the natural law will be bent because of their protests. If something is better and should be changed, why would this good, loving, unchanging God not have brought it about at the outset? Where Natural Law is involved, God will not change it. God does not change. PEOPLE change.

You might say that the new ideas of today have progressed, and have advanced from the opinions of the past. They are more reasonable than the laws of the past. You have every right to think those thoughts. But you also have the right and responsibility, to know what these new ideas are based upon. Are they based upon normalcy, or abnormality? Are they based upon the need of the Church, which is the people of God, or are they based on public demand? Things don’t change just because people want them to change. The Church is not a democracy. It moves after much thought has been given to a proposal. Not the number of people who support a proposal or, even the pressure that is brought about for the proposal, neither of these will induce a change in favor of that proposal. The Church can change its laws, not the laws of nature.

You might say that the public demand is the public demand of the Church, the people of God. At that I would say you are forming another schism. The Church doesn’t agree with this view, your view, therefore you try to pressure or threaten the Church. And so, another age of splitting off from the Church would loom.I would then sorely question your affinity for the Church in the first place.

See Pope Francis, not through your eyes of someone who wants change, but see him as the person he is, a man of God, who manifests a love for the Church, warmth for the poor, and a desire to rebuild the unity of the Church. This cannot be done by jumping on whatever bandwagon is making the most noise. God’s plan for His church will come about, with or without the banging of a drum.

Watch over these next few years, how his own actions of poverty, of love, of goodness, of tenderness to the poor, his humility, see how all of these will bring pressure on all of us, Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Nuns AND Laity. He is living a life that Christ wants all of us to live. We may not see the effects of his life’s stance for some time, maybe, not even in our life time. But mark these words, “This man of God is the beginning of a new era”.

Rather than demand this or that be modified, rather than expecting our wishes to be fulfilled, we should look with expectation and admiration on his life. We should emulate his example. We are being given a modern day lesson of what Jesus wants from each of us. We are being shown how our lives need to change, must change. Let this new pope truly be our vicar, our leader. Let him show us what it really means to be a Catholic. Let us be willing and courageous enough to live our lives following his example. Let us deal with everyone, as we would, as if Christ is standing in front of us. Because, He is.

pope francis
Listed below is the First Homily given by Pope Francis.Translation by: Vatican Radio

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.

Listening to God

seagull

This is the 2nd day since we heard the words, “Habemus Papam”, We have a Pope. Already we are seeing in him something different, something unexpected, something beautiful. He has taken the name of Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis was noted for his humility, his holiness and (maybe strangely to our “sophisticated” minds) talking to animals, and birds. Pope Francis has shown already, through his demeanor, that he will manifest these qualities as well.

What does this have to do with today’s post entitled: ‘Listening to God’, you may very well ask? When we think of prayer, we usually see ourselves asking for this to go away, or that to happen, or whatever… And so our image of prayer becomes one of action, of asking, of promising. But there is another side of prayer. There is the side of listening. We define prayer as the lifting up of the mind and heart to God. But God doesn’t speak to us with words for our ears and minds. We must listen to God, in what He says in our heart, in the depths of our soul, through the persons we meet, through what we observe. All could be His silent whispers to us. We need to listen, to observe, to be attentive. It is easy to ask, but it is much more difficult to hear the response.

Our faith has much to do with prayer. Do we really believe God listens to us? Do we really believe He cares? Does God love us so much, that He will respond to us? If we don’t believe that He cares, that He listens, then we really can’t carry on a conversation with Him. A conversation implies both a speaking and a listening by both parties.

Shortly before the Cardinals entered into the Conclave to elect a pope, builders had the task of erecting the fire pit and chimney pipe. It would be through this mechanism that the cardinals would announce that a pope had been elected. After the election, their handiwork is dismantled, until the next pope needs to be voted in. So this is a very temporary structure.

Shortly before the white smoke billowed out of that pipe, a sea gull sat on that very same pipe for over a half an hour. You could not say that it was its normal resting place, because the chimney pipe had only just been built. And yet, there it was, on top of the building in which the cardinals were electing the new pope. “So what”, you ask?

Over a hundred thousand people in St. Peter’s square, and how many millions of Catholics around the world are praying to God, are asking Him that He give them a good pope, one to reconcile the many troubles of the world, and of the Church. And while this is going on, a sea gull perches on a chimney pipe. It sits for a half an hour or so. Shortly before the white smoke billows out of that same pipe, the bird decides to fly away. God heard the prayers and answered them, with a sea gull. He does not speak to us in words, for our ears. He speaks to us in our minds and hearts. So, we listen with our mind, and our heart, to what happens around us, to what we observe.

The new pope has taken the name of St. Francis. What better way for God to answer our prayers and tell us He heard us than by sending a sea gull on top of that pipe. It is like God is saying to us, “Do not be afraid, I will watch over Francis, just as I did with the one from Assisi”. “Coincidence, coincidence”, I can hear your thoughts. With God there are no coincidences. My heart, my soul, my faith tells me that God heard our prayers and spoke to us.