A nice reflection from our friends at Catholic Vote.
Dear CV Friend,
The gift of the humble man from Argentina continues to surprise.
Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected Pope Francis one year ago today.
So what have we learned? Where is he taking the Church?
We don’t pretend to know all these answers. We wrote several months ago that what does seem clear is that the Holy Spirit is up to something. The world senses it. Endless commentators try to explain it. Yet it seems all of the chatter is, for the most part, inadequate.
The “pope talk” often seems too consumed with big narratives. What will he change? How will he shake up the Vatican? What will he do next?
I admit to being lured by these “big” overarching explanations in attempting to explain or understand the Holy Father. Every day we are told that this or that narrative is the grand strategy, synthesis, or plan which will explain everything.
But what if this is not the best way to understand the Pope?
What if we have it backwards?
What if the big questions we are asking, while important in some respects, are instead questions we should be asking about ourselves?
What if the big changes Pope Francis may be bringing to the Church are intended to be brought about by the transformation in each of us?
What are we willing to change? What are we willing to do differently? What will we shake up in order to become more faithful servants of Jesus Christ?
The media wants us to believe Pope Francis is preparing to overthrow chunks of Church doctrine. But we know that’s not true — and not even possible. What is clear is that the Holy Father is working to transform our hearts.
So tune out the media noise and read for yourself what Pope Francis has written. His encyclical Evangelii Gaudium is available here. I have included a small excerpt from the beginning of that document below which I hope may inspire you.
I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord”. The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Now is the time to say to Jesus: “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love, yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”.
How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost! Let me say this once more: God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy. Christ, who told us to forgive one another “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven. Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus, let us never give up, come what will. May nothing inspire more than his life, which impels us onwards!
-Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, I, 3