23 September 2015
Su Santidad, el Papa.
Ok. Ok. First of all, sorry that I've taken so long to write anything. The reality is that I have had a complex mixture of emotions and thoughts that have lead me to be in silent reflection. First thing first. Habemus Papem, in the U.S. It certainly has been an interesting few hours, and to top it off, the Pope blew off a bunch of hoity toity Congress men and women to have lunch with the homeless of DC. Impressive. Point number two... it's nice, but what does it really mean? Everyone seems to making a big fuss over the crazy things Francis is doing that other Popes would never have done. I mean come on, homeless over Congress? I must admit, that while I am happy to see that Pope Francis is a very different person from previous Popes, I am challenged by my own skepticism. Pardon me for saying this, but please remember, I'm a guy who very naively gave himself up to a system that eventually gave him a resignation date and a note to vacate the premises. That aside, yes, there is a radically different pace that Francis has chosen to take, and I believe that it is born of a sincere heart, one that has experienced mercy. At the same time, however, I want to yell out that the mercy Francis has experienced is one that was Church sanctioned. What I mean by this is that a Jorge Bergoglio who would have acted beyond the parameters of the instituted church (I mean the political, backstage church) would have found himself beyond the merciful grasp of the Church's definition of mercy. Perhaps I'm just bitter or venting, but while there is great joy that Pope Francis is offering mercy and love to so many, I myself am just beyond the grasp of that mercy. You know, even if I were to go back to my superiors to plead for a return, IF they accepted me, I would never be able to serve as a priest again. IF I were welcomed back, I would be relegated to the position of Brother. A unique vocation all its own, and yet a punishment for me. Ok, venting aside, as I have taken to silence to reflect on the Pope, mercy and so much more, I am brought to a point where I do agree with Pope Francis, and that would have to be that at a very profound (almost simplistic) level, Love is what beckons us to serve, and what calls us to act. As I sit and read about the Pope, I am reminded that in his very public manner, he is acting from the very experience of love. He, Francis, is personifying the action of Love as Christ calls us to. Furthermore, as the readings tell us this next Sunday, we are to love above all else. As St. Paul says, love is what lasts. Love is what calls us to live and eventually, if we allow ourselves to truly be children of God, we find that love compels us to act out of an authentic sense of knowing Christ, and notice, I don't mean using Christ as our own puppet or lucky charm, but truly Christ as a model of authentic living. And so, we see this jolly Pope celebrate life as he blesses children from his Jeep Wrangler Popemobile, and we celebrate, not because the Pope is here, but because in some way, we are reminded that sometimes love is just that simple. No frills, just love. No froofiness, just Love. As always, thank you for your time, and know that I love you. Peace to you. Fr. Rick