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Reflections

“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pope Francis:"You are God's Gift To the Philippines and to the World!"

"I wish to express my closeness to the people of the Philippines and of that region. Unfortunately there are many victims and the damage is enormous. We pray now in silence ... for our brothers and sisters, and we will seek to also send concrete help." 
Pope Francis
“In these moments of great suffering, don’t tire of saying, 'Why?' (Be) like children...and so attract the eyes of our Father for your people; draw the tenderness of the 'dad of heaven’ upon yourselves.  Be like the child when asking, ‘Why? Why?’”
“There are many things that we cannot understand. When children begin to grow, they don't understand things and begin to ask questions of their father or mother,” the Pope explained to the group gathered in St. Peter's Basilica on Nov. 21.
A child asks “one after another 'why's” but does not “wait for a response.” Rather, “the child in his insecurity needs his father and mother watch over him. He needs the eyes of his parents, he needs the heart of his parents,” the Pope continued.
As children of God, we must pray “the prayer of why,” especially in moments of difficulty, emphasized Pope Francis.
From Huff Post:
A recent interview with Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the "Almoner of His Holiness," raised speculation that the Pope joins him on his nightly trips into Rome to give alms to the poor, and it turns out that the rumors are probably true.
A knowledgable source in Rome told The Huffington Post that "Swiss guards confirmed that the pope has ventured out at night, dressed as a regular priest, to meet with homeless men and women."
Krajewski earlier said, “When I say to him ‘I’m going out into the city this evening’, there’s the constant risk that he will come with me," and he merely smiled and ducked the question when reporters asked him point-blank whether the Pope accompanied him into the city.
He's not the only Pope known for nocturnal wanderings. There are stories of Pope John XIII sneaking out to enjoy the beauty of Rome in the evenings, and reports tell of Pope Pius XII dressing as a Franciscan during WWII to help smuggle Rome's Jewish population to safety. More recently, Pope Benedict XVI popped out unannounced to visit an art exhibit.
When Pope Francis was Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, he was known to sneak out at night to break bread with the homeless, sitting with them on the street and eating with them to show that they were loved.
And we love him for doing it now.
"Francis, repair my church!"
Porziuncola, also called Portiuncula (in Latin) or Porzioncula, Porciúncula (in Spanish and Portuguese) is a small church located within the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in the frazione of Santa Maria degli Angeli, situated about 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from Assisi, Umbria (central Italy). It is the place from where the Franciscan movement started.
From Catholic Online:
St Francis' search for conversion led him to the ancient church at San Damiano. While he was praying there, he heard Christ on the crucifix speak to him, "Francis, repair my church." Francis assumed this meant church with a small c -- the crumbling building he was in. Acting again in his impetuous way, he took fabric from his father's shop and sold it to get money to repair the church. His father saw this as an act of theft -- and put together with Francis' cowardice, waste of money, and his growing disinterest in money made Francis seem more like a madman than his son. Pietro dragged Francis before the bishop and in front of the whole town demanded that Francis return the money and renounce all rights as his heir.
The bishop was very kind to Francis; he told him to return the money and said God would provide. That was all Francis needed to hear. He not only gave back the money but stripped off all his clothes -- the clothes his father had given him -- until he was wearing only a hair shirt. In front of the crowd that had gathered he said, "Pietro Bernardone is no longer my father. From now on I can say with complete freedom, 'Our Father who art in heaven.'" Wearing nothing but castoff rags, he went off into the freezing woods -- singing. And when robbers beat him later and took his clothes, he climbed out of the ditch and went off singing again. From then on Francis had nothing...and everything.

Francis went back to what he considered God's call. He begged for stones and rebuilt the San Damiano church with his own hands, not realizing that it was the Church with a capital C that God wanted repaired. Scandal and avarice were working on the Church from the inside while outside heresies flourished by appealing to those longing for something different or adventurous.
"Pope Francis, repair the Church in the Philippines"
We urgently need your leadership to make the Catholic Church in the Philippines the haven of the poor, the neglected and the young. Help repair the Church and make Her the true window of God's mercy for our country.
"Spiritual sickness of a Church."
"We need to avoid the spiritual sickness of a Church that is wrapped up in its own world: when a Church becomes like this, it grows sick. It is true that going out onto the street implies the risk of accidents happening, as they would to any ordinary man or woman. But if the Church stays wrapped up in itself, it will age. And if I had to choose between a wounded Church that goes out onto the streets and a sick withdrawn Church, I would definitely choose the first one." Pope Francis
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis called on the world’s priests to bring the healing power of God’s grace to everyone in need, to stay close to the marginalized and to be “shepherds living with the smell of the sheep.”
Those priests “who do not go out of themselves” by being mediators between God and men can “gradually become intermediaries, managers,” he said March 28 during the chrism Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
When a priest “doesn’t put his own skin and own heart on the line, he never hears a warm, heartfelt word of thanks” from those he has helped, the pope said in his homily.
“This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, lose heart and become in a sense collectors of antiquities or novelties — instead of being shepherds living with ‘the smell of the sheep,’” he said.

“This is what I am asking you,” he said with emphasis, looking up from his prepared text, “be shepherds with the smell of sheep,” so that people can sense the priest is not just concerned with his own congregation, but is also a fisher of men.