Simplicity

Pope Francis at MassThis was an unexpected joy. The image is from a post on a new favorite blog: Dating God | Franciscan Spirituality for the 21st Century. The picture “says it all.” You may, however, want to read the post, “Do we honor God or ourselves?” by Daniel P. Horan, OFM.

L:ittle things, simple things, matter. What do you think?

Image: “Vatican News” via Dating God

Link

The Link: http://bit.ly/14JKaid

From The Telegraph (4/21/2013) with the tagline “Senior Catholic cardinals appointed by Pope Francis to shake up the Vatican’s secretive bureaucracy have called for more key jobs at the Holy See to be handed to women and fewer jobs to be given to Europeans.”

From Assisi to Rome, a journey of hope

Here is an essay taking us beyond the foot-washing of prisoners and the choice to live in the Guest House instead of the Papal Apartment. Written by Daniel P. Horan (a Franciscan), “What’s in a name?” highlights 3 important truths about St. Francis of Assisi that, it is hoped, will also mark the papacy of Francis.

Francis of Assisi was a renouncer of power

At the core of St. Francis’ obsessive focus on evangelical poverty was his renunciation of power. This radical dimension of St. Francis’ way of life is frequently overlooked. Instead there are caricatures of a nature-loving proto-hippie or a gentle, popular preacher. Yet St. Francis’ conviction was grounded in the belief that like Jesus Christ, all human beings are called to be in relationship with their sisters and brothers.

Francis of Assisi was a reformer who loved the church

St. Francis’ refusal to conform to the expectations of his day, both ecclesial and social, came not from the outside, but from a place deeply situated within the church. He was not afraid to follow the Gospel when it seemed that such an action might contradict the conventions of his time, but he was also not interested in breaking communion with the church.

Francis of Assisi was a peacemaker and lover of creation

St. Francis refers to the other-than-human elements of creation as his “brothers” and “sisters.” Though this may appear “cute” to modern ears, he was revealing a deep theological truth about our intrinsic kinship with the rest of God’s creation. Humanity is not above and over against the rest of the created order, but part of it and alongside animals, plant life and the rest. We have a special role to play in creation, but we should never forget our interdependence with the whole cosmos.

Hoping that Pope Francis was indeed aware of these elements in the life, work, and rule of St. Francis, (a hope that I share) Horan concludes:

All of these aspects of St. Francis’ legacy point to the centrality of relationship. Pope Francis already has begun to demonstrate his desire to be connected with all sorts of people (much to the chagrin of his security detail). It is my hope that Pope Francis will continue to rise to the challenge of his name. The church really could use the spirit of Assisi today.

Yes, indeed. What do you think?

Read the entire post: What’s in a name? on the America website

An encouraging word

For the first 30 years of my life I identified myself as “Roman Catholic.” I continue to claim my Roman Catholic roots. I have a great love and respect for the Roman Catholic Church. But I am happily being prodded along by the Holy Spirit in The Episcopal Church. With 1.2 billion members, the Roman Catholic presence in our world is significant. The Pope as leader of this church is a powerful voice on the world stage.

To hear today what he said about Vatican II, the Holy Spirit, stubbornness, and the courage to go forward is therefore, ‘an encouraging word’ to me. Some excerpts from his homily yesterday (4/16/2013):

“the Holy Spirit upsets us because it moves us, it makes us walk, it pushes the Church forward.” He said that we wish “to calm down the Holy Spirit, we want to tame it and this is wrong.” Pope Francis said “that’s because the Holy Spirit is the strength of God, it’s what gives us the strength to go forward” but many find this upsetting and prefer the comfort of the familiar.

Nowadays, he went on, “everybody seems happy about the presence of the Holy Spirit but it’s not really the case and there is still that temptation to resist it.” The Pope said one example of this resistance was the Second Vatican council which he called “a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit.” But 50 years later, “have we done everything the Holy Spirit was asking us to do during the Council,” he asked. The answer is “No,” said Pope Francis. “We celebrate this anniversary, we put up a monument but we don’t want it to upset us. We don’t want to change and what’s more there are those who wish to turn the clock back.” This, he went on, “is called stubbornness and wanting to tame the Holy Spirit.”

View the post on Vatican Radio

He concluded “by urging those present not to resist the pull of the Holy Spirit. ‘Submit to the Holy Spirit,’ he said, ‘which comes from within us and makes go forward along the path of holiness.’”

Very encouraging words to me. What does it sound like to you?