Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

7/27/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

I suggest the answer is simple; it is the character of Christ which he reveals

The name which Cardinal Bergoglio took upon accepting the invitation to be the successor of Peter was so appropriate. The little poor man of Assisi named Francis had a similar effect in his time. This Francis, like his namesake, is a simple, joyful, humble and uncomplicated man, a man so in love with Jesus Christ that when people see him, they see Jesus. He embodies these words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians, "No longer do I live but Christ lives in me". (Gal. 2:20) It is not about Francis - and simple people discern that right away. It is about Jesus Christ.

Like the Lord whom he loves, Pope Francis loves God's people - and they know it. They want to be with him just like they wanted to be with Jesus. That is how it is with holy people. Yet, as it is also with holy people - it is not about him. People are being drawn to Jesus Christ, whether they know it yet - or not. His message, spoken the same with both lip and life, makes it all so very clear.  He walks the talk.

Like the Lord whom he loves, Pope Francis loves God's people - and they know it. They want to be with him just like they wanted to be with Jesus. That is how it is with holy people. Yet, as it is also with holy people - it is not about him. People are being drawn to Jesus Christ, whether they know it yet - or not. His message, spoken the same with both lip and life, makes it all so very clear. He walks the talk.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/27/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Americas

Keywords: WYD2013, World Youth day 2013, Pope Francis, Rio De Janeiro, Year of Faith, new Evangelization, mission, missionary, miracles, ecclesial movements, Holy Spirit, Deacon Keith Fournier


RIO De JANEIRO, Brazil (Catholic Online) - The crowds swarmed the Pope's open air vehicle the moment he began his trek to the opening ceremony. Vatican Radio reported that not only did the crowds delay his arrival at the event, but the car took a wrong turn.

Through it all, Pope Francis was smiling, filled with Christian joy. He loves to be with Christ's faithful.

It was not about meeting an itinerary for Francis, but about being present in an encounter of love. The faithful wanted to be with him and he wanted to be with them.  What is it about Pope Francis that grabs the heart of a watching world, cuts through cynicism and imparts happiness and hope to so many?

I suggest the answer is simple; it is the character of Christ which he reveals.

The name which Cardinal Bergoglio took upon accepting the invitation to be the successor of Peter was so appropriate. The little poor man of Assisi named Francis had a similar effect in his time. This Francis, like his namesake, is a simple, joyful, humble and uncomplicated man, a man so in love with Jesus Christ that when people see him, they see Jesus.

He embodies the words of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians, "No longer do I live but Christ lives in me". (Gal. 2:20) It is not about Francis - and simple people discern that right away. It is all about Jesus Christ whom he serves, proclaims and lives.

Like the Lord whom he loves, Pope Francis loves God's people - and they know it. They want to be with him just like they wanted to be with Jesus. That is how it is with holy people. Yet, as it is also with holy people - it is not about him. People are being drawn to Jesus Christ, whether they know it yet - or not.

His message, spoken the same with both lip and life, makes it all so very clear.  He walks the talk.

When he finally made it to the opening ceremony he shared a variation of words spoken by the Apostle Peter to the man lame from birth. The Apostles had encountered him at the beautiful gate (Acts 3) Francis made the words his own, "I have neither silver nor gold, but I bring with me the most precious thing given to me: Jesus Christ! I have come in his name, to feed the flame of fraternal love that burns in every heart; and I wish my greeting to reach one and all: The peace of Christ be with you!"

I thought back to the night when Francis stepped out onto the balcony at St Peters'. I wrote that evening, "As with all Popes, the choice of the name is significant." At the time, commentators were speculating as to whether he chose Francis after Francis Xavier, an early friend and follower of the founder of the Jesuits, the order to which Cardinal Bergoglio belonged, or after Francis of Assisi.

I continued, "Though we await a full explanation as to why he chose Francis, my heart and mind leapt to an obvious conclusion. He took the name of the little poor man of Assisi, Francis. The one to whom the Lord had appeared and said "Go and Rebuild my Church which you can see is falling down in ruins." 

"That humble deacon named Francis Bernadone did what the Lord asked him in the thirteenth century. As a result, both the Church and the world were changed. The Church of Francis of Assisi's time was not unlike the Church which Pope Francis will serve.  The world of Francis of Assisi's time was not unlike the world into which Pope Francis is called to bring the message of the Gospel in its fullness."

"The Lord uses holy and humble men at critical times in Church history to bring authentic renewal.  May the Pope who bears the name of Francis exhibit the humility, deep prayer and level of spiritual gifts which his namesake offered at another critical time in the history of the Church, and the world."

Since then, Pope Francis has made it clear why he chose the name. He has also demonstrated the humility his namesake displayed. Francis of Assisi, by revealing the Risen Christ in both word and deed, helped to bring about a great restoration of the Church of his age. It led to the conversion of Europe.

Watch what happens in Rio this week. The same Lord is still at work and miracles of healing and conversion are still real.

Certainly, the media is enamored with Pope Francis. They do not really know why. Personally, I suggest it is because his evangelical simplicity is so counter-cultural in this age of materialism, libertinism and nihilism. However, many would reject such an evaluation.

Instead, some read his simplicity as a rejection of a caricature of the papacy which they have created in their own minds. They attempt to set up a false contrast between Francis and his predecessor, His Holiness Benedict XVI. Yet, Francis holds the holiness and humility of his brother Benedict in high esteem.

The truth is that Benedict is also a simple and humble man. His manner is just different. One has only to look at the twelve apostles to see that the Lord chooses all kinds of men for apostolic service. Their personalities and unique temperaments are enhanced by His work within them. As the great Western Doctor Thomas Aquinas explained, grace perfects nature.

Others mistake his extolling of evangelical poverty as a rejection of material goods. However, the goods of the earth are just that, goods. It is not whether a man or woman has material goods but rather whether the goods have the man or the woman.  He simply asks whether they see them as gifts given to them with a stewardship attached?

Like millions, I am moved by the evangelical manner of Pope Francis. In a recent article I encouraged our readers to "get ready; this is an Evangelical Catholic Pope" I believe that this World Youth Day will underscore that this papacy presents an evangelical moment for the Catholic Church.

On April 1, 2013, I read the most compelling insight into Pope Francis. It was written by my friend Alejandro Bermudez. It addressed the heart centered Christian vision of Pope Francis. Alejandro wrote:

"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 the analysis given by Alejandro. Pope Francis teaches, preaches and lives with his heart. His gospel simplicity informs an evangelical way of life which speaks through both his words and his actions. He lives in the heart of the Church for the sake of the world. He challenges everyone of us who bear the name Christian, no matter what our state in life, vocation or career, to do the same.

Tomorrow the crowds will gather once again. The joy and promise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ will be proclaimed by a man who was sent by the Holy Spirit in the nick of time. God still loves the world so much that he sends His Son, Jesus Christ - now through His Body, the Church which He established. It is through that Church that the Risen Jesus continues his ongoing redemptive mission.

The Holy Spirit has always brought about a renewal of Christ's Church, just in the nick of time - right when many said she was down for the count. It is that same Holy Spirit which is inspiring the crowds. It is the same Holy Spirit which is winning hearts and drawing crowds at World Youth Day 2013.  Stay tuned, and see what happens next! The Church is rising and a new missionary age stretches out ahead.

---


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


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Americas

Please join us in prayer: Zika epidemic in Colombia infects THOUSANDS of pregnant women Watch

Image of Zika continues to spread without signs of slowing (AFP).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Reports of Zika's spread have been pouring in at clinics and hospitals around Colombia. Sadly, nearly 32,000 pregnant women have tested positive for the potentially devastating virus. Please join us in a short prayer for healing. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On ... continue reading


Slain Mexican baby becomes symbol for nation's neverending gang violence Watch

Image of Grim photographs of this slain Mexican family have circulated widely on social media site (Facebook).

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

An overwhelming tragedy - the random killing of a seven-month-old baby boy - has been galvanized into a symbol of Mexico's rampant gang violence. Little Marcus Migeul Pano Colon, captured in photographs lying down in a city street riddled with bullets has been widely ... continue reading


HUMAN SACRIFICE: Ancient Peruvian tomb yields bodies of six women killed in rituals Watch

Image of Researchers say that the skeletal remains found at a temple were once part of the Lambayeque culture. Photo courtesy of Museo Tumblas Reales de Sipan.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Archaeologists have uncovered grisly evidence of 1,200-year-old sacrificial rituals in Pre-Inca Peru. The skeletons of six females have been discovered on the former site of a temple. The women's murders were believed ritualistic in nature as their bodies were ... continue reading


Soldiers going 'door to door' to combat deadly Zika virus in Brazil Watch

Image of The Zika virus is linked to microcephaly, where children are born with freakishly small heads. (Getty Images)

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The mosquito-borne Zika virus has spread rapidly throughout Brazil. The virus is linked to the birth defect microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with smaller than normal heads, along with brain damage. The Brazilian government has sent more than 200,000 ... continue reading


Over 7,000 refugees to arrive in America within the next few days Watch

Image of Cuban migrants cross into Texas to reach freedoms promised in America (AP).

By Monique Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Thousands of Cuban refugees seek freedom in the United States by traveling through Central America and crossing the Mexico-Texas border. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Over 7,000 Cuban refugees are expected to illegally cross the Mexican border into the United ... continue reading


You'll never guess what was found in El Chapo's weapon cache! Watch

Image of One type of weapon discovered in El Chapo's cache has the power to down a helicopter (exploding helicopter.blogspot).

By Monique Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Authorities discovered a .50 caliber rifle among a massive weapons cache at Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán's Mexican hideout. The rifle is so powerful, it can shoot a helicopter from the sky. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Following the recapture of El Chapo, a ... continue reading


Award-winning news station, Al Jazeera America goes belly-up as the price of oil plunges Watch

Image of Al Jazeera America must close its doors as it finds itself unable to keep up in an increasingly digital world (Al Jazeera America).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Award-winning news station Al Jazeera America has won several awards including Best Documentary at the International Emmy Awards and Best Show or Series at the News, Cablefax Digital Awards, but the renowned station is forced to close shop. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Venezuela's First Lady claims DEA kidnapped her nephews when they were caught trafficking drugs Watch

Image of Cilia Flores believes her nephews were kidnapped by the DEA (Alex Guzmn/AVN).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Venezuela's First Lady, Cilia Flores, believes the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) committed crimes in her country, including the kidnap of two of her nephews, who were discovered to be drug traffickers. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - On Tuesday Flores ... continue reading


An inside look at El Chapo's tunnel: Sewers, concrete walls and automatic weapons (WARNING: Graphic Photos) Watch

Image of El Chapo's tunnel system kept him well-hidden (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Images have been released days following El Chapo Guzmán's recapture. The pictures feature the tunnel system the drug lord hid in as well as the shot-up condo above, in which five of El Chapo's henchmen were killed, six were arrested and two women were discovered. LOS ... continue reading


Revealing Sean Penn interview led to El Chapo's drug compound raid (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES) Watch

Image of Inside El Chapo's lair (Especial).

By Monique Crawford (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

With El Chapo Guzmán's arrest came five gruesome deaths of the drug lord's underlings. Mexican marines stormed El Chapo's hiding place and killed five of his lieutenants before arresting six men and the kingpin himself. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Sinaloa ... continue reading


All Americas News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Deuteronomy 30:15-20
15 'Look, today I am offering you life and prosperity, death and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
1 How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the wicked and does not ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:22-25
22 He said, 'The Son of man is destined to suffer grievously, to be ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 11th, 2016 Image

St. Paschal
February 11: Paschal was the son of Bonosus, a Roman. He ... Read More