I had SUCH fun talking to Wendy Snyder and Bill Leff on Chicago’s WGN radio yesterday about Pope Francis and Amoris Laetitia. Have a listen below.
Papa Frank’s “apostolic exhortation” Amoris Laetitia is at times beautiful and challenging and worth a read (all 250+ pages of it). For those of you less inclined, here are a few of my favorite bits from the his “Joy of Love”:
++ “By thinking that everything is black and white, we sometimes close off the way of grace and of growth, and discourage paths of sanctification which give glory to God.”
++”We also find it hard to make room for the consciences of the faithful, who very often respond as best they can to the Gospel amid their limitations, and are capable of carrying out their own discernment in complex situations…We have been called to form consciences, not to replace them.”
++”At times we have also proposed a far too abstract and almost artificial theological ideal of marriage, far removed from the concrete situations and practical possibilities of real families.
This excessive idealization, especially when we have failed to inspire trust in God’s grace, has not helped to make marriage more desirable and attractive, but quite the opposite.”
++”We have often been on the defensive, wasting pastoral energy on denouncing a decadent world without being proactive in proposing ways of finding true happiness.”
++”Conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel…It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal.”
++”A pastor cannot feel that it is enough simply to apply moral laws to those living in ‘irregular’ situations, as if they were stones to throw at people’s lives.This would bespeak the closed heart of one used to hiding behind the Church’s teachings, ‘sitting on the chair of Moses and judging at times with superiority and superficiality difficult cases and wounded families.”
++At times we find it hard to make room for God’s unconditional love in our pastoral activity…We put so many conditions on mercy that we empty it of its concrete meaning and real significance…That is the worst way of watering down the Gospel. It is true, for example, that mercy does not exclude justice and truth, but first and foremost we have to say that mercy is the fullness of justice and the most radiant manifestation of God’s truth.”
++”Keep an open mind.. Don’t get bogged down in your own limited ideas and opinions, but be prepared to change or expand them. The combination of two different ways of thinking can lead to a synthesis that enriches both.”
And in perhaps my favorite passage, which reminds me of a few people I’m blessed to know, particularly this guy:
++ “The most intense joys in life arise when we are able to elicit joy in others, as a foretaste of heaven. We can think of the lovely scene in the film Babette’s Feast, when the generous cook receives a grateful hug and praise: “Ah, how you will delight the angels!” It is a joy and a great consolation to bring delight to others, to see them enjoying themselves. This joy, the fruit of fraternal love, is not that of the vain and self-centered, but of lovers who delight in the good of those whom they love, who give
freely to them and thus bear good fruit.”
According to RomeReports:
Each week, Pope Francis breaks down barriers between him and the pilgrims at Wednesday’s General Audience. But even so, finding a good spot to see him at St. Peter’s Square is tough, not everyone can be front and center. But the privileged group who can have easy access to the front of the line are newlyweds. All the couple needs is to don their wedding gowns, and access is virtually guaranteed. …Pope Francis greets each newlywed couple personally, once the General Audience ends. These two couples were among the forty or so that made it to this week’s audience.
Today is All Saints Day, the time in the liturgical calendar when we remember those who have gone before us into the More – that Great Cloud of Witnesses who crowd the bleachers and cheer us on while the rest of us play out the game of Life in this mortal coil.
But what is a saint? The Bible says we all are – those of us who know and love God.
Today in St. Peter’s Square, before reciting the Angelus, Papa Frank had a few things to say about saints. This was my favorite bit:
“The saints are friends of God,” he said. But they “are not superheroes, nor were they born perfect. They are like us, each one of us.”
“Friends of God.”
“Like us, each one of us.”
According to Catholic News Service, Papa Frank continued, saying:
“The saints are men and women who have joy in their hearts and bring it to others. Never hate, serve others — the neediest, pray and be joyful, this is the path of holiness.”
The pope said the saints’ message to women and men today is to “trust in the Lord because he never disappoints.”
“He’s a good friend who is always at our side,” he said.
With the example of the way they lived their lives, the saints encourage all Christians “to not be afraid to go against the tide or to be misunderstood and derided when we speak about (Jesus) and the Gospel.”
Frederick Buechner (aka St. Freddie of Rupert to my tribe) said this about saints and I love its imagery and simplicity: “In his holy flirtation with the world, God occasionally drops a handkerchiefs. Those handkerchiefs are called saints.”
It’s been almost a year since my father, Muzzy, (who always carried white cloth handkerchief) passed over into the More. He now sits next to my Aunts Mary and Patti and Carol and Joan and Jeannie, my Uncles Satch and Ceasar, Grammy and Poppy Page and Grampy Falsani and Nellie; my dear friend David Kuo who left us last year, my favorite professors, Jimma Young and Arthur Holmes; Seamus and Bob and Iris and Kirsty and Mr. Chevron (in the section reserved for Irish hooligans); Johnny and Ravi and Lou and Buddy and Billy with the band; sweet Naomi, Tom and Henri and Jack and Flannery; Vasco’s birth mother and father, Edina and Sylvester, and his siblings who died before him; and my beloved, pretty-fucking-close-to-a-superhero-in-real-life buddy, Mr. Mark, and all the others gathered in the cloud of witnesses in the cheering section just on the other side of the veil.
DEBUTING A NEW FEATURE HERE AT THE DUDE ABIDES…
Because we all know that Papa Frank is mah boo and you should love him too. Here’s the first in a series of daily reasons why…
So, over the weekend, thousands of Catholic families jammed St. Peter’s Square to hear Papa Frank give an address on the Year of Faith. In the middle of things, a little boy wandered up on stage and walked over the pope. (See some awesome gifs of the whole exchange via Buzzfeed HERE). Rather than shoo the tyke away, Papa Frank – BECAUSE HE’S SO FRIGGIN’ AWESOME – just let the kid do his thing, eventually inviting him to take a seat in the papal chair when the pontiff had to get up to greet grown-up dignitaries.
Here are a couple of photos of the encounter (take a moment to pray for strength so you don’t crumple from the overwhelming cuteness):