Have we been blessed by the papacy of Francis, or what?
Blessed as a Church…blessed as the people of God…blessed as individuals, striving to know how the Holy One desires to work in our lives.
I mean, really: Can you imagine what it must be like to have your feet washed by a Pope? …especially once you learn that you’re not ‘qualified’ to take part in the ceremony?
As we mark today the first anniversary of Jorge Bergoglio’s election to the Throne of St. Peter, I find myself thinking about how Christ-like (and disruptive!) this once-obscure Archbishop from Argentina has turned out to be.
I’ve grown to love how he emphasizes mercy and forgiveness over pomp and protocol. And I’m amazed to see how the mainstream media seems to hang on his every word.
Of course, it’s not always flattering attention – as was the case last week, when Pope Francis mispronounced an Italian word…and wound up dropping an f-bomb instead of a blessing.
Part of me wants to rail at the injustice of it all—how a simple (and very human) mistake winds up besmirching (if only briefly) the reputation of one who is so clearly focused on spreading the Good News.
But upon further review, ‘railing’ seems like a decidedly un-Francis-like reaction. So instead of going down that path, I thought I’d share a pearl of wisdom gleaned from him instead.
It comes from book entitled ‘Conversations with Jorge Bergoglio’, in which the then-Archbishop was asked by a reporter to talk about his approach to difficult pastoral situations. ‘How do you handle a life brought to an end by a cruel illness?’ the reporter asked.
‘I stay silent,’ he replied. ‘The only thing that occurs to me is to remain quiet and, depending on the trust they have in me, to take their hand. And to pray for them, because both physical and spiritual pain are borne from within, where no one can enter; it entails a great deal of solitude. What people need to know is that someone is with them, loves them, respects their silence, and prays that God may enter into this space that is pure solitude.’
We are blessed, indeed, to have a Pope who’s willing simply to be present when words fail.
When the circumstances warrant, his is a wordless wisdom.
It’s a way of saying (as a good friend often reminds me), ‘God is present. All is well.’
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