“Every saint is a little looking-glass of God: a facet of the jewel which constitutes the Catholic Church.”– Monsignor Francis Bickerstaffe-Drew
“The trap of powerlessness makes us wonder: Does it make sense to try to change all this? Can we do anything against this? Is it worthwhile to try, if the world continues its carnival merriment, disguising all [this tragedy] for a little while?…Lent is presented us as a shout of truth and certain hope that comes us to say “Yes, it is possible to not slap on makeup, and not draw plastic smiles as if nothing happened.” Yes, it is possible that all is made new and different because God remains ‘rich in kindness and mercy, always willing to forgive’ and He encourages us to begin anew time and again. Today, again, we are invited to undertake a Paschal road toward Life, a path that includes the cross and resignation; a path that will be uncomfortable but not fruitless. We are invited to admit that something inside us is not going well, (in society or in the Church) to change, to turn around, to be converted.”&
“Jonah had everything clear. He had clear ideas about God, very clear ideas about good and evil. On what God does and on what He wants, on who was faithful to the Covenant and who instead was outside the Covenant. He had the recipe for being a good prophet. God broke into his life like a torrent. He sent him to Nineveh. Nineveh was the symbol of all the separated, the lost, of all the peripheries of humanity. Of all those who are outside, forlorn. Jonah saw that the task set on him was only to tell all those people that the arms of God were still open, that the patience of God was there and waiting, to heal them with His forgiveness and nourish them with His tenderness. Only for that had God sent him. He sent him to Nineveh, but he instead ran off in the opposite direction… What he was fleeing was not so much Nineveh as the boundless love of God for those people. It was that that didn’t come into his plans. God had come once… “and I’ll see to the rest”: that’s what Jonah told himself. He wanted to do things his way, he wanted to steer it all. His stubbornness shut him in his own structures of evaluation, in his pre-ordained methods, in his righteous opinions. He had fenced his soul off with the barbed wire of those certainties that instead of giving freedom with God and opening horizons of greater service to others had finished by deafening his heart. How the isolated conscience hardens the heart! Jonah no longer knew that God leads His people with the heart of a Father.”
“The experience of faith puts us in the experience of the Spirit, which is characterized by the ability to get moving. Nothing is more opposed to the spirit than settling in, shutting oneself in. When we do not walk through the door of faith, the door closes, the Church closes up, the heart is retracted, and fear and the evil spirit embitter the Good News. When the chrism of faith goes dry and rancid, the evangelist can no longer spread it because it has lost its fragrance. Then it often becomes cause of scandal and distance for many.”&“It is not enough for our truth to be orthodox and for our pastoral action to be effective. Without the joy of beauty, truth becomes cold and even ruthless and proud, as we see happening in the discourse of many bitter fundamentalists. It seems that they chew on ashes instead of savoring the sweetness of the glory of Christ’s truth, which illuminates all reality with gentle light, taking it just as it is every day. Without the joy of beauty, work for the good becomes a gloomy focus on efficiency, as we see happening in the work of many overwhelmed activists. It seems that they clothe reality in statistical mourning rather than anointing it with the interior oil of joy that transforms hearts, one by one, from the inside.”&“If I had to choose between a wounded Church that goes out onto the streets and a sick withdrawn Church, I would definitely choose the first one.”
And at his first Angelus on March 17 as Pope Francis, he would continue:
“Well, brothers and sisters, the face of God is that of a merciful father, who always has patience. Have you thought about God’s patience, the patience that he has for each of us? That is his mercy. He always has patience, patience with us, he understands us, he waits for us, he does not weary of forgiving us if we know how to return to him with a contrite heart.”
“Let us not forget this: God never wearies of forgiving us, never! So, father, whats the problem? Well, the problem is that we grow weary, we do not want to, we tire of asking for forgiveness. He never tires of forgiving, but we, at times, we tire of asking forgiveness. Let us never tire, let us never tire! He is the loving Father, who always forgives, who has that heart of mercy for all of us. And we too learn to be merciful with everyone.”
This was our new Pope. The Vicar of Christ. I have to admit, I had my momentary misgivings when I saw Pope Francis. On the heels of the world traveler, charismatic Pope John Paul II and the brilliant, insightful Pope Benedict XVI, I felt there was little chance that the College of Cardinals could select another extraordinary Heir to St. Peter. But I seem to have forgotten the role of the Holy Spirit in these proceedings. What originally, in my eyes, was a small, shy, bespectacled Pope in the shadow of giants, turned out to be anything but that… This Pope was proving to be humble, yet confident. Simple, yet profound. Innocent, yet wise. Principled, yet seasoned in practice. Perhaps after an essential John Paul II and an essential Benedict XVI, it is now time for a Pope Francis…Yes. And thus far, Pope Francis is proving to be yet another of the beautiful facets of the jewel that is the Catholic Church – where each facet is unique, rich, and indispensable. Indeed, something special is happening in the Catholic Church – a mighty special something. Habemus papam.