Friday, January 16, 2015

A Healer of Wounds

The streets of Manila and beyond are laced with gigantic images, photos, and streamers of him for the state visit. He asks the government to take them down. He says he prefers to have the image of Christ venerated. "Focus on Jesus, not on me," he says.

That's Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a Jesuit-ordained former professor of psychology and literature in the university. Today, he is more popularly known all over the world as Pope Francis, the head of the Vatican.

When once asked the question, "Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?," by the editor of an Italian Jesuit journal La Civolta Cattolica, he answered:  "I don't know what might be the most fitting description. I am a sinner. That is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner ... The best summary, the one that comes from the inside, and I feel most true is this: I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon."

Pope Francis is a revolutionary healer and leader.  He reaches deep into the very core of the minds and hearts of people. He preaches against personal and institutional corruption and worldliness. He describes it as "self-centeredness cloaked in an outward religiosity bereft of God." Among the clergy, he denounces the power hungry and the hypocrites in the Vatican Curia. He urges us to live our lives focused on the "things that really matter."

He likens the church to a hospital. He says that the church's foremost mission is to "heal the wounds, heal the wounds." Speaking of ministers of the Gospel, he says "people need pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials ... those who know how to dialogue and to descend themselves into their people's night, into the darkness, but without getting lost."

It's not hard to see why he's called the People's Pope.  He's a simple, humble man on a redemptive mission. People simply love him for being the genuine one.

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