Thursday, March 14, 2013
Praise be to Jesus Christ: We have Pope Francis
Praise be to Jesus, we have a new Pope. And he has chosen the name Francis. Whether he chose this name because of Francis Xavier or after St. Francis of Assisi, the choice is most significant. For the Jesuit Order was founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola and based largely upon the revolutionary spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi.
And so, at a time when the Church finds herself in crisis (and she has weathered other storms through the centuries), and when many within the Church have shown that they prefer the darkness to the light, I offer these passages from St. Francis of Assisi, the Mirror of Christ:
"Those who do not wish 'to taste and see how sweet the Lord is' and who 'love the darkness more than the light' by refusing to obey the commandments of God are damned: of them it has been said by the mouth of the prophet, 'Cursed are those who fall from your precepts.' But how blessed and favored are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord says in the Gospel: 'Love the Lord God with all your heart and soul and your neighbor as yourself.'....
We must hate our own body with its sin and vice, for the Lord has said in the Gospel all sins and vices 'come from the heart,' and 'we should love our enemies and do good to those who hate us.' We must observe the precepts and counsels of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must also deny ourselves and put our body under the yoke of discipline and holy obedience, as everyone has promised the Lord." (A Letter to All the Faithful," probably written in 1215).
Notice what St. Francis says here? We "must" [this is the solemn obligation of everyone who professes to be Christian] put our body under the yoke of discipline and holy obedience.
In this same letter, St. Francis insists that, 'We ought not be wise and prudent 'according to the flesh,' but rather we should be simple, pure, and humble. We should hold our bodies in low esteem for, through our fault, we are wretched, broken, like worms....All those who live in this way and persevere to the end will have the spirit of the Lord dwelling in them as in a home. They will be sons of the Heavenly Father and the spouse, brother, and mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.."
Contrast this with the pride of life we have witnessed in many corners of the Church. Many have preferred darkness and the "wisdom of the flesh." Obedience to Christ who teaches us through His Church has been replaced by many with self-assertion and self-affirmation. Such have preferred their own opinions or those of dissenting theologians, Bishops, priests and religious to the authoritative teaching of Jesus Christ, made known to us through the Magisterium.