Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Do I Still Heart Pope Francis?

           You already know my feelings for our pope and Ignatian spirituality, but his interview on America Magazine cemented it.  The first thing I noticed was his daily prayer life: the breviary, the Eucharist, the rosary, and Eucharistic Adoration.  Wow! Just wow! I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again:
Still.  Maybe more now.
            The media and other commentators took away what they did from that interview and they are responsible for their own consciences and conclusions.  But to me, as a writer and blogger this hit the spot:
            Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials, on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn, as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance; otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow.
“I say this also thinking about the preaching and content of our preaching. A beautiful homily, a genuine sermon must begin with the first proclamation, with the proclamation of salvation. There is nothing more solid, deep and sure than this proclamation. Then you have to do catechesis. Then you can draw even a moral consequence...”  

At the height of the battle for the HHS and RH Bill in the Philippines, it was necessary to defend and teach the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. It was not a war we started. We were under severe attack by the forces of evil, and our brilliant theologian Pope Benedict VI was the man chosen to lead us. We quoted him mercilessly and rallied behind our Bishops.  That was the call of the hour.

 But at some point, the nasty memes got old, the debates were annoying and noisy, the snarky writing was hurting those we wanted to help out.  When that ruckus died down, I didn’t feel called to rehash the same old same, same old issues.  I said what I needed to say and beyond that was nagging. With the advent of a new pope and a new era, I returned to writing about the good news of scripture, the little miracles of a life written by the finger of God, an imperfect motherhood lived in consecration to Our Lady and devotion to the Eucharist, the applicable teachings and examples of the saints, self improving spirituality (and a large thank you to Catholic Spirituality Bloggers Network: you have reminded me of what I like reading and writing about).   

I know that my reversion was not brought about by discovering confrontational dogmas and controversial moral teachings.  It was the gentle, loving voice of my Blessed Mother that attracted me and the joy of the Charismatics. But when I began to earnestly search for Truth, Truth was ready to be found.  I like to think this is how it is for most people I know.  They come from mainly Catholic cultural backgrounds and don't feel the need to question salvation facts or miracles.  But their hearts are re-awakened and ignited by the GOOD NEWS first and then it is up for the Holy Spirit (not up to my angry posts and tacky spats), to work His grace so that a deeper conversion and healing can follow.

I’m still actively praying at rosary life chains and spiritually adopting unborn children every year.  I’m promoting the beauty and wonder of real life Catholic love stories written by God.  I will continue to showcase the happiness of motherhood open to God’s will and the blessings and comedy of large families. But I won’t treat my writing as an argumentative legal brief or a lengthy discourse on Theology.  God’s laws are written in each of our hearts.  My life, as recorded by my fingers, must point to God’s love first and foremost, and secondarily, Catechism and His laws.

(ALTHOUGH… If the pope should ever need a public defender once in a while, well, I probably will offer my assistance pro bono, and this what I may say: The Pope is not a puppet we can program a recorded message and press 'play.'  He is our Shepherd who leads us. We are his sheep. He's allowed to set the tone of our bleating.)

And now that all eyes are on Pope Francis, I hope the world will take notice of what he’s going to do next:  On October 13, 2013, he will consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  May we follow his footsteps, and take one more advice from his interview:  “Sometimes we know what we have to do but we lack the courage to do it.  Let us learn from Mary, learning how to trust in the Lord.”


Patricia said...

Awesome post! Reading about his prayer life was very reassuring to me as well...and I can't wait till October 13! Thank you for such a well-written post which says so much. God bless you.

8 kids and a business said...

Pope Francis certainly makes people sit up and notice, whether or not they "get" what he says. I think it's all good since there is discussion and we need to trust in the Holy Spirit to make it all work for good. I'm impressed and excited that he's consecrating the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary...we certainly need it! Great post, Annabelle.

Connie Rossini said...

Thanks for mentioning CSBN in your post. I am completely in the same place as you on this. I wrote letters to the editor, etc. while we were trying to keep "gay marriage" from Minnesota. We failed. I turned to writing about growing closer to Christ. Our culture needs Christ! We've forgotten who He is. People don't know Him in America any more. We must preach the Gospel. First things first.

Caroline said...

I know this is a very late comment, but I wanted to let you know that as a non-Catholic Christian I appreciate this. I was stunned by the change in tone of many blogs after Francis' election - in a good way. For those of us who are friendly with Catholics but not Catholic ourselves, Francis is much more approachable, and even Catholic blogs have become much more accessible.

Anabelle Hazard said...

Hi Caroline, thank you for your comment. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your input as a Christian. You have given me so much food for thought for future articles and posts. God bless you!