The Election of The 265th successor of St. Peter: Sign of Continuity, Unity, Solidity and Permanence
the glory of Jesus Christ, something which is made possible through a confession of faith in Jesus Christ, Savior of the world:
"When we do not confess Jesus Christ," said Pope Francis in his first homily, "I am reminded of the words of Léon Bloy: 'Whoever does not pray to the Lord, prays to the devil.' When we do not confess Jesus Christ, we confess the worldliness of the devil, the worldliness of the demon."
The First Letter of St. John reminds us that anyone who claims to follow Jesus yet denies he is the Christ is a liar and the antichrist (2:22). If we desire the eternal life offered by the Father through his Son, we must confess Jesus the Christ.
The words in the first homily of our Holy Father also remind us of the words of St. Peter himself. Jesus had asked his disciples: "But who do you say that I am?" (Mt 16:15). Peter responded: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (v. 16). In making this confession, Peter is called "blessed" (v. 17). In speaking about confessing Jesus Christ, Pope Francis, while yet a new pope, becomes ancient as he is linked to the chief shepherd of the apostles and the Church of two-thousand years hence.
To confess Christ is to give oneself entirely over to the Person of Jesus Christ, to believe all that he has said and done, entering fully into the mystery of his life. In doing so, we become one with him; by the gift of faith and in virtue of the sacrament of Baptism, we become members of his one body, the Church. That in itself is the meaning of being Catholic: to be totally united with Jesus Christ now and forever.
"I would like for us all," continued the Holy Father, "after these days of grace, to have courage, precisely the courage to walk in the Lord's presence, with the cross of the Lord; to build the Church upon the blood of the Lord, which was poured out on the cross; and to confess the only glory there is: Christ crucified. And in this way the Church will go forward."
Yes. It is in Christ crucified that the community of the Church draws her life breath. She will go forward because Christ poured out his blood for her, giving her life, and promised to be with her always (Mt 28:19-20); she will continue with permanency because God's kingdom shall forever stand (Dan 2:44); she bears the marks of unity and solidity because the Holy Spirit is her soul, whose unceasing guidance bonds her as a community in the fullness of truth (Jn 14:16, 26; 16:13); and she will walk forward because the flock of Christ has, once again as with St. Peter, been given a chief shepherd (Jn 21:17): The Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis. Habemus Papam! "We have a Pope!"
The Church will go forward as she always has, unwaveringly and unceasingly proclaiming Christ crucified with constancy and permanency. Whole civilizations have appeared and vanished, wars have begun and ended, but the Church remains, moving ahead along a timeline that stretches not simply into the future but into an eternity filled with the indescribable glory of unending, blessed communion with God. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, is a sign of the singular continuity, unity, solidity and permanency that can nowhere else be found, for the Church is not "something," but Someone who "is the same yesterday and today and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8).
F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows the Catholic Church transmits the fullness of truth and offers the fullest means of salvation; therefore his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever receive. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at joyintruth.com
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Pope Francis, election of pope, Catholic Church, Church, papacy, divine institution of the Church, Church founded by Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, F. K. Bartels
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