Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

4/4/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We have in Francis a man who shows us the way to live the Gospel from the heart

I agree with my friend Alejandro. Pope Francis teaches, preaches and lives with his heart. His gospel simplicity informs an evangelical way of life which speaks through both word and action. He lives in the heart of the Church for the sake of the world and calls all of us to do the same. Faith is a verb, it must be exercised. By living in the heart of the Church for the sake of the world we participate in bringing the world back to God. This missionary mindset has inspired missionary ages in the past and brought extraordinary change to cultures. It can - and it will - once again!

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/4/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Pope Francis, evangelical catholic, mission, missionary, light of the world, testimony, Deacon Keith Fournier


VALRICO, FL (Catholic Online) - Like millions throughout the world, I am moved by the evangelical manner of this Pope who chose the name Francis. In a recent article I encouraged our readers "get ready; this is an Evangelical Catholic Pope." This papacy also presents an evangelical moment for the Church and the world. On April 1, 2013, I read the most compelling insight into the man who now holds Peters Chair as a servant of the servants of God. It was written by my friend Alejandro Bermudez for the National Catholic Register. The article is entitled Pope Francis' Ideas of What Is at the Heart of the Church  Here is an excerpt: "For Pope Francis, the heart of the Church is, well, the heart. That is, the human heart and its transformative relationship with God's heart. The heart in Jesuit spirituality is a crucial concept. The Jesuits were the first to promote devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus around the world. Initially, they were accused of heresy for promoting the concept that the human heart of Jesus was a permanent living source of mercy, as revealed by God to St. Marguerite Marie Alacoque in the 17th century." "Unlike the modern reduction of the heart to the experience of feelings, which are to be followed at the expense of our brains, in the Jesuit tradition, the heart is the core of the human person, the place of the soul, where the encounter between God and man takes place. " "The heart is, in fact, not only the most inner sanctum of the human person, but also the root of the human will. According to the Jesuit understanding, the heart is the source of human action and endurance. Therefore, both personal conversion and solidarity begin with the human heart." "This is the concept of heart that has formed Pope Francis. In 10 years of written homilies, speeches and pastoral letters, the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires has mentioned the heart from this perspective an average of four times per occasion." I agree with my friend Alejandro. Pope Francis teaches, preaches and lives with his heart. His gospel simplicity informs an evangelical way of life which speaks through both word and action. He lives in the heart of the Church for the sake of the world and calls all of us to do the same. Faith is a verb, it must be exercised. By living in the heart of the Church for the sake of the world we participate in bringing the world back to God. This missionary mindset has inspired missionary ages in the past and brought extraordinary change to cultures. It can - and it will - once again! We have in Francis a man who shows us the way to live the Gospel from the heart.  The seed of the kingdom has been planted within us. (See, Matt.13, Mk. 4, and Luke 8) This parable of the sower and the seed refers to us both individually and together as the Body of Christ. We are the seed, the salt and the leaven which the Divine Sower Jesus uses in His ongoing redemptive mission. He spreads us in the field of the world to bear a harvest. We are missionaries of the kingdom of which the Church is a seed and sign. The parables of mission in the Bible present other images to communicate our call to evangelical mission. For example, Jesus said to his disciples: "You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden." "Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." (Matt. 5: 13 - 16) The reference to the light calls to mind the words of the Lord, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12) We have the light of life within us. We carry that Light into an age steeped in darkness, crying out for the authentic liberation which comes only through encountering Jesus Christ.  The Church bears light for the world. The light of Jesus "shines on the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1:5) We cannot withdraw from the world because we cannot let the darkness overcome it. Just as there can be no disembodied spirituality worthy of the name Christian - because redemption involves the integrated human person, body, soul and spirit - there cannot be a disembodied understanding of the mission we have as members of a Church which is still called into the world. The words of 1 John 4:17 remind us "As He is so are we in the world".  We are alive in this time in human history with a missionary purpose. This is an evangelical moment.  Our lives are meant to have a redemptive purpose. No matter how rocky the soil of the American culture is becoming, we do not have the option of pulling out of our obligation to participate.
 
Matthews Gospel  presents other images to communicate this mission: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the 'birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches. The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened." (Matt. 13: 31 - 33) St. Jose Maria Escriva once opined, "May Our Lord be able to use us so that, placed as we are at all the cross-roads of the world - and at the same time placed in God - we become salt, leaven and light. Yes, you are to be in God, to enlighten, to give flavor, to produce growth and new life. But don't forget that we are not the source of this light: we only reflect it. (St. Jose Maria Escriva, Friends of God, 250) The power to effect redemptive change in the world comes from the life of God within us. It is amazing how little leaven it takes to raise a loaf of bread. That is because within those little particles of yeast is found the power to ferment, to change the lump of wet dough into a loaf of aromatic, tasty, nourishing bread. The power contained within the yeast is not activated unless it is mixed and kneaded into the dough. Once you work the leaven in, it is still hidden to the eye but how it transforms that loaf! So it is with Christians within human culture!

The power within us is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead (See Romans 8:11)! It is the power of the Holy Spirit. All we are asked to do is to mix it up. We have to get in the loaf. We must be in the world - where Jesus is - in order to be used to accomplish His ongoing work of redemption. This is a challenging time for the Church in the United States and the West. It is the kind of historic period which two thousand years of Church history has shown us produces heroes and saints - and sometimes martyrs. We should ask the Lord for the grace to be open to whatever he calls us to do. Before they were called Christians in Antioch, the early followers of Jesus were referred to as the Way (Acts 19, 9, 23). Their living faith was expressed in the way they lived their lives in the midst of the world of their age. They were missionaries. So are we, no matter what our state in life or specific vocation.

Our Evangelical Pope Francis calls us to live in the heart of the Church for the sake of the world. He also shows us the way.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Living Faith

Two bishops dine and dialogue with peace activists

Image of War doesn't decide who is right, just who is left.

By Tony Magliano

During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops fall assembly in Baltimore, two bishops decided to forego the military chaplains dinner sponsored by the U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains Office, and attended instead a simple supper and discussion on peacemaking. On the evening of ... continue reading


'God always forgives, but the earth does not,' Pope warns Watch

Image of The Pope urged the world's leaders to rein in their greed and help the hungry.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A doomsday scenario in which Mother Nature would exact her revenge is possible, even likely, Pope Francis warns. The pontiff was speaking out against the exploitation of natural resources for profit. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pope urged the world's ... continue reading


Pope Francis' special message: Why Poverty? 'And while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain, at the street corner, We ask for dignity, not for charity.'

Image of When we give our loaves and fishes to Christ, there is no end to the Good that can come from it.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has asked the world to do more to help those who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Despite gains made in infrastructure and outpourings of food, too many people with plenty have done too little to help. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With ... continue reading


How do you raise a good, upstanding child? With daily prayers, weekly church attendance and the knowledge of God Watch

Image of Billy Graham, now 96, has reached out to millions with his joyous words of the truth of God and Jesus Christ.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Reverend Billy Graham, the world famous television evangelist and founder and chairman of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has said that the reason the world seems to be in such dire straits is that children are not being raised right. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Learning Lessons for Life from Zaccheus and that Sycamore Tree Watch

Image of Zaccheus climbed that tree in order to see the Lord, not to be seen by Jesus. He did not care what the crowd thought of a grown man climbing a tree! He went after the encounter with Jesus Christ with a childlike simplicity and a reckless abandon. Do we?

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Sycamore tree created a clear line of vision for Zaccheus. It helped him to rise above the crowd and see the Lord clearly. It placed him in the right position for the invitation that would follow. Jesus told him to come down for he was coming to his house! ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Calls us to Recognize His Visitation Watch

Image of The Cross, an instrument of torture, will become the sign of peace, for those who find their refuge under its shadow and embrace the One who stretches out His arms to embrace the whole world. There Jesus will deal definitively with the great enemy of peace, the sin which impedes it in each of our lives. With tenderness He looks out from the Mount of Olives and sees the Holy City of Jerusalem. How he loves that City. Then, Jesus weeps. He knows the City will soon be overtaken and destroyed by the armies of Titus. He weeps the tears of Love and cries compassion from His Sacred Heart

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Jesus shows His disciples - and He shows us us, because we are His disciples in this hour - the pattern of living in a continual communion with the Father. He invites them - and He invites us - into this very communion of love which He has with the Father, in the ... continue reading


Children deserve both father and mother, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of Children have the right to be raised by a mother and a father, Pope Francis said, emphasizing that

By CNA/EWTN News

Children have the right to be raised by a mother and a father, Pope Francis said, emphasizing that "the family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation." Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The Pope made these remarks on Nov. 17 at ... continue reading


Here are 10 Very Interesting Facts About the Catholic Church You Probably Didn't Know! Watch

Image of Pope Francis commands the world's smallest professional army.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

How much do you know about the Catholic Church? Here are 10 fun facts you might not know. See how many you know and post your result in the comments! 1.    Vatican City has the highest crime rate in the world! With a population around 500 people and a ... continue reading


Study: Latin Americans abandoning Catholic Church for evangelical, Protestant churches Watch

Image of Protestants now make up 19 percent of the Latin American population, while another eight percent now profess no religious affiliation, a figure reaching 37 percent in Uruguay.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Catholic Church is losing members in Latin America at an increasing rate. According to the Pew research Center, many Latin Americans are leaving the church for Pentecostal, Protestant churches. There is even a growing number of Latin Americans who now ... continue reading


Living Faith: Learning How to See from a Blind Man Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The people to whom we are introduced in the Gospel accounts have been selected from among many others who encountered Jesus - for a real purpose. They can put us in touch with the Lord, with ourselves, and with the meaning of our own lives.Through prayerful ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 11:4-12
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lamps in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 20:27-40
27 Some Sadducees -- those who argue that there is no ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Cecilia
November 22: In the fourth century appeared a Greek religious romance on the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter