The Key to Pope Francis

The Holy Father continues to speak with a sharp sense of urgency:

“Yes, you have to come to know Jesus in the Catechism – but it is not enough to know Him with the mind: it is a step. However, it is necessary to get to know Jesus in dialogue with Him, talking with Him in prayer, kneeling. If you do not pray, if you do not talk with Jesus, you do not know Him. You know things about Jesus, but you do not go with that knowledge, which He gives your heart in prayer. Know Jesus with the mind – the study of the Catechism: know Jesus with the heart – in prayer, in dialogue with Him. This helps us a good bit, but it is not enough. There is a third way to know Jesus: it is by following Him. Go with Him, walk with Him.”

It is necessary, “to go, to walk along the streets, journeying.” It is necessary, said Pope Francis, “to know Jesus in the language of action.” Here, then, is how you can really know Jesus: with these “three languages ​​- of the mind, heart and action.” If, then, “I know Jesus in these ways,” he said in conclusion, “I involve myself with Him”​​:

“One cannot know Jesus without getting oneself involved with Him, without betting your life [on] Him. When so many people – including us – pose this question: ‘But, who is He?’, The Word of God responds, ‘You want to know who He is? Read what the Church tells you about Him, talk to Him in prayer and walk the street with him. Thus, will you know who this man is.’ This is the way! Everyone must make his choice.”

This reminds me of what are purported to be Chesterton’s last words:

Within the Spadaro Interview, one comment of Francis’ hasn’t been given much attention, but it is important. It is part of the key to the man and all that motivates him:

“I pray the breviary every morning. I like to pray with the psalms. Then, later, I celebrate Mass. I pray the Rosary. What I really prefer is adoration in the evening, even when I get distracted and think of other things, or even fall asleep praying. In the evening then, between seven and eight o’clock, I stay in front of the Blessed Sacrament for an hour in adoration. But I pray mentally even when I am waiting at the dentist or at other times of the day.

The prayer is the key. Without it, we can know the Catechism back and forth, and we can seek to serve others and look for Christ in each other, but the root of all of that — the root that feeds our understanding of the books and helps us to see Christ in others, and to recognize the promptings of the Holy Spirit — is prayer. Daily prayer is what nourishes all of the rest: feeds it, supports it, connects it, grounds it, as Mary grounded Martha.

If you find yourself an admirer of Francis who doesn’t know what to do about it, start with prayer.

And if you’re tepid about Francis — if he scares you a bit, and you’re not sure what he is about — start with prayer, too.

All prayer is good; like Francis, I love the Divine Office — I love praying with and through the psalms. If you’re not sure how to do that, you can learn here, or check out Daria Sockey’s excellent The Everyday Catholic’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours

About Elizabeth Scalia

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