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All results in St. Francis and Pope Francis: Prayer, Poverty, and Joy in Jesus for all of [ pope francis ]

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Notes > {page_169}
109 Pope Francis, homily, Pentecost, May 29 , 2013 , www.vatican.va.    [0 words apart]
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Notes > {page_170}
130 Pope Francis, General Audience, October 2 , 2013 , www.vatican.va.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 9 The Profound Un - Theologian > {page_158}
Pope Francis: In the Footsteps of St. Francis    [0 words apart]
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Notes > {page_172}
172 Pope Francis, Palm Sunday Homily, March 24 , 2013 , www.vatican.va.    [0 words apart]
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Notes > {page_171}
152 Pope Francis, "Listening to the Wounds of Jesus," L'Osservatore Romano, English ed., October 9 , 2013 , no. 41 , pp. 7 , 8 .    [0 words apart]
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Introduction > {page_12}
Like St. Francis, Pope Francis is first and foremost a loyal son of the Catholic Church. Like St. Francis, his mission is not to change the Church in anything essential in her nature or structure but to renew the Church. Like St. Francis, to do this he relies on the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Unlike St. Francis, though, as the vicar of Christ, Pope Francis is blessed with God's guidance and wisdom in a particular way by virtue of his office. As noted, Pope Francis is seeking God's wisdom through consultation with others, as well as through his own prayer and insight. Meanwhile, he has handled some thorny questions deftly and even humorously, such as when he was asked if the Church would have women cardinals in the future. He responded: "I don't know where this idea sprang from. Women in the Church must be valued, not 'clericalised.' Whoever thinks of women as cardinals suffers a bit from clericalism."3    [0 words apart]
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Notes > {page_171}
161 Pope Francis, Angelus, December 16 , 2013 , www.zenit.org.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 9 The Profound Un - Theologian > {page_159}
Anyone who has followed Pope Francis's teaching knows that his insights are challenging and unpredictable. Like St. Francis, Pope Francis brings a freshness to the message of Christ. St. Francis showed by his teaching and his life that the Catholic Church could be radically poor and authentic -- authentically Christian in an era in which the Catholic Church had grown wealthy and politically powerful. There is this same sort of challenging authenticity in the life and teaching of Pope Francis, as he also is reexamining many of the traditional practices and policies of the papacy and the Catholic Church.    [0 words apart]
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Notes > {page_167}
76 Pope Francis, "Peaceful Resolution needed in Syria," Origins, vol. 43 , no. 15 (September 12 , 2013 ), p. 230 .    [0 words apart]
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Notes > {page_170}
148 Pope Francis, Homily on Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, October 4 , 2013 , www.vatican.va.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 1 Following Jesus > {page_14}
There are many great saints in the history of the Catholic Church, but no pope has ever chosen the name Francis until now. Practically every pope has chosen a traditional name in the sense of "used before" or at least the name of a saint who was prominent in early Christianity. Jorge Mario Bergoglio broke with convention in taking the name Francis. But why Francis? And as so many asked at the time the choice was announced, "Which Francis?" (Of Assisi? Xavier? De Sales?) Pope Francis provided the answer within a few days of his election when he addressed six thousand journalists and other media correspondents.    [0 words apart]
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Notes > {page_169}
123 Pope Francis, "A Big Heart Open to God," Antonio Spadaro, S.J., America magazine, September 30 , 2013 .    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 3 Prayer: A Window into the Soul > {page_41}
I can imagine St. Francis saying these words of Pope Francis: "I must put myself in the presence of God and, aided by His word, go forward in what He desires."44    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 3 Prayer: A Window into the Soul > {page_61}
At the end of this same homily, Pope Francis recalled the last interview conducted with the long - time Jesuit minister general, Fr. Pedro Arrupe, before he suffered a stroke and began a slow decline to death. Pope Francis recounted that Fr. Arrupe said, "I say this as if it were my swan song: pray." "Prayer," Pope Francis emphasized, is "union with Jesus." This is the priority for a Christian, as it was for St. Francis, as it is for Pope Francis, who humbly implored the whole Church and all people on the evening of his election: "Pray for me."    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 6 Church: To Live as Catholics > {page_104}
How does Pope Francis understand this Jesuit value? First, he emphasizes that the Society of Jesus is not focused on itself but on serving Christ and his Church. From the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has stressed repeatedly that every person is called to encounter Jesus as the Son of God and Savior. Our allegiance and obedience are ultimately to him. If one is obedient to the Catholic Church or to one's religious superiors and community, these are expressions of obedience to Jesus Christ and to his Gospel. St. Francis certainly would have agreed.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 7 Mission: Proclaiming the Gospel > {page_117}
How could we learn about the relationship of Pope Francis with St. Francis more clearly than in considering the pope's visit to Assisi? Indeed, many of the themes of the pontificate of Pope Francis and the life of his namesake, St. Francis, coalesced and were proposed by Pope Francis during his visit to Assisi on the great saint's feast day, October 4 , 2013 . Many popes have visited Assisi since Francis's canonization in 1228 (eighteen previous popes), but none have had the name of the Poverello.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 7 Mission: Proclaiming the Gospel > {page_118}
Several times during the day, Pope Francis took time for personal prayer and meditation, including at the church of San Damiano; at the Basilica of St. Clare before the original San Damiano cross, which is now kept there; and at the tomb of St. Francis in the basilica. Pope Francis, by example, showed the importance of prayer, even during a very busy day. He also visited the "Room of Renunciation," where St. Francis renounced his earthly goods before Bishop Guido and publicly dedicated himself to God's service. Capturing the spirit of that gesture by St. Francis, Pope Francis said:    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 9 The Profound Un - Theologian > {page_159}
Like St. Francis, Pope Francis reaches out to people on the outskirts, as we have seen. He, like St. Francis, desires a poor Church for the poor, and he challenges us by his lifestyle as well as by his teaching to look at our own lives and consider how we could imitate more closely the "poor Christ" -- an ideal that was so central to Francis of Assisi.    [0 words apart]
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Notes > {page_168}
92 Pope Francis, "Q and A with Students," in Origins, June 27 , 2013 , p. 117 .    [0 words apart]
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Notes > {page_168}
106 Pope Francis, General Audience, May 29 , 2013 , www.vatican.va.    [0 words apart]
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Notes > {page_169}
127 Pope Francis, General Audience, May 29 , 2013 , www.vatican.va.    [0 words apart]
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Introduction > {page_9}
Jorge Mario Bergoglio made an immediate impression when he chose the name of a medieval saint, Francis of Assisi, upon his election as pope of the Catholic Church. How apropos that the first Jesuit pope and the first pope from the Western Hemisphere should also choose an unprecedented papal name! This book will compare the life and teaching of Pope Francis and those of his namesake, especially exploring what we can learn from them about conversion and discipleship, that is, about following Jesus. Is it possible to find a common message from two persons living eight centuries apart?    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 1 Following Jesus > {page_20}
At the risk of omission, I would like to mention some aspects of the life and faith of St. Francis that stand out to me and are also, in some cases, apparent in the life of Pope Francis. A number of these themes will be developed further in this book as particularly important in understanding what St. Francis (and Pope Francis) tell us about encountering and following Jesus.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 3 Prayer: A Window into the Soul > {page_55}
Pope Francis and Prayer    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 3 Prayer: A Window into the Soul > {page_56}
On his first morning as pope, Francis rose early and went to pray at the Basilica of St. Mary Major, dedicating the city of Rome and his pontificate to Our Lady. His first papal tweet, reinforcing his focus on prayer, was: "Dear friends, I thank you from my heart and I ask you to continue to pray for me. Pope Francis."72    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 3 Prayer: A Window into the Soul > {page_60}
Of course, for Pope Francis the prayer of petition is only one aspect of Christian prayer. Like St. Francis, the pope's focus is often on giving praise and thanks to the Lord for who he is and for his goodness, love, and many blessings. The pope's prayer is based firmly on biblical principles, and his spontaneous prayers are marked by a St. Francis -- like simplicity. For example, when he recommended praying daily to the Holy Spirit, particularly that we would be open to Jesus, Pope Francis gave us a straightforward prayer that he said we should offer daily: "Holy Spirit, make my heart open to the word of God, make my heart open to goodness, make my heart open to the beauty of God every day."80    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 4 Poverty: In Imitation of Jesus > {page_71}
Pope Francis on Poverty    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 5 Communion: Together on the Journey > {page_85}
Pope Francis also warns against behaviors and sins that undermine communion, just as St. Francis did at certain points of his rule. In chapter 2 of the "Earlier Rule," St. Francis admonishes the brothers to avoid such community - killers as slander, arguments, anger, grumbling, gossip, and judgment, striving instead to love and care for one another in humility.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 6 Church: To Live as Catholics > {page_91}
After exploring the importance of living in communion with others, why do we need a separate discussion of St. Francis's and Pope Francis's understandings of the Church, that is, the Catholic Church? In the case of St. Francis, wouldn't it be enough to simply say that he was a loyal Catholic? And of Pope Francis -- well, after all, who is more Catholic than the pope?    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 6 Church: To Live as Catholics > {page_99}
Pope Francis on the Church    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 6 Church: To Live as Catholics > {page_102}
And here we observe one of the differences between St. Francis and Pope Francis, in spite of the many parallels: they have different calls and responsibilities. St. Francis exhorted -- and when necessary even sternly admonished -- his brothers to live according to the rule and to be obedient to the Church and her ordained ministers as a visible expression of their obedience to Jesus Christ.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 6 Church: To Live as Catholics > {page_103}
Pope Francis as a Jesuit and a Religious    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 6 Church: To Live as Catholics > {page_105}
He also said that the element of Jesuit spirituality that is most helpful in his ministry as a bishop and as pope is discernment of God's will, seeking to see and hear things from God's point of view. Pope Francis, as a bishop and as pope, especially needs the gift of discernment to distinguish the value and validity of the many "voices" of our time. St. Francis, in his role, was most attentive to the voice of the Lord directing him and his brothers in a unique "prophetic" way. As Pope Francis has said,    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 7 Mission: Proclaiming the Gospel > {page_112}
The Mission of Pope Francis    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 7 Mission: Proclaiming the Gospel > {page_115}
One is struck, when considering St. Francis and Pope Francis, by their humility and simplicity, and by their joy. St. Francis was focused not so much on what he and his followers did in their "apostolate," as long as they were spending time generously with the Lord in prayer and were being faithful as brothers (or sisters) to loving and serving each other in their own community.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 7 Mission: Proclaiming the Gospel > {page_117}
In an age when most people travel by car, bus, plane, or train (and some, much fewer, by bicycle), the image of walking may seem anachronistic. In some ways it hearkens back to the time of St. Francis, who walked the hills and roads of Umbria and beyond, as did his followers, meeting people on the way. Nonetheless, the image of walking with another person remains a powerful reminder about slowing down and taking time for personal interaction, which is exactly what Pope Francis wants to promote.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 7 Mission: Proclaiming the Gospel > {page_122}
Pope Francis's vision of mission, like that of St. Francis, is totally God - centered and relies on the grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit. We also see in Pope Francis and St. Francis a beautiful and quintessentially Catholic synthesis of the mission of evangelization -- leading others to faith in Jesus Christ as Lord -- and the call to minister to the pressing human needs of others, both by charitable works and by seeking to change the world's structures that oppose God's law and true human welfare.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 8 Joy: Hallmark of the Christian > {page_133}
Not long after, when he went to Brazil for World Youth Day, Pope Francis made a pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida and there renewed his personal consecration to Mary, the Cause of our Joy.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 8 Joy: Hallmark of the Christian > {page_136}
At the same time, Pope Francis just as consistently has offered encouragement and hope. Where is joy to be found? In the very activity that the last four popes -- Pope Paul VI to Pope Francis -- have called all Catholics to embrace: evangelization.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 8 Joy: Hallmark of the Christian > {page_138}
He explains further that the joy that filled "the disciples is a missionary joy" (EG, no. 21 ). The particular theme of missionary joy through reliance on the Holy Spirit is especially addressed in chapter 5 of the exhortation, "Spirit - Filled Evangelizers." This final, climactic chapter of the exhortation ties together the themes of mission and joy, especially as reflected in the teaching of Pope Francis and the life of St. Francis.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 9 The Profound Un - Theologian > {page_157}
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) put his finger precisely on the secret of St. Francis's renewal of the Catholic Church and the key to his life of discipleship: putting into practice (that is, living) the Word of God in its simplest, literal meaning in the power of the Holy Spirit. (It should be noted also that Francis, being a man of humble obedience, lived the Word of God in the power of the Spirit as the Catholic Church understood it, not in some novel or esoteric way.) As Pope Francis frequently remarks, St. Francis preached the Gospel with his life, not just with his words. As St. Francis himself wrote in his earliest rule: "Let all the brothers preach with their deeds."202    [0 words apart]
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Notes > {page_165}
44 Pope Francis: Conversation with Jorge Bergoglio, Sergio Rubin and Francesca Ambrogetti, ed. (New York: Putnam, 2010 ), p. 42 .    [0 words apart]
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Notes > {page_170}
138 Message of Pope Francis for World Mission Day 2013 , www.vatican.va.    [0 words apart]
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Introduction > {page_10}
Here is the critical and closest point of contact between St. Francis and Pope Francis: their sense of the immediacy of the Gospel that flows from their awareness of the closeness of God to us through the coming and the presence of Jesus Christ. It is also the source of the joy that is evident in the lives and messages of both. Pope Francis spoke of this joy in an interview in December 2013 , in which he was asked to reflect on "What does Christmas mean for you?"    [0 words apart]
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Introduction > {page_11}
One might argue, though, that the theme that St. Francis chose to emphasize was following Jesus in poverty and humility. Again Pope Francis is right there with St. Francis; in fact, Cardinal Bergoglio indicated that identification with the poor and the "poor Christ" was the foremost reason for his choosing the name Francis. And his election was certainly an acknowledgment of his genuine humility and the witness of Gospel poverty in his lifestyle as archbishop. These are themes that this book will explore in some depth.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 1 Following Jesus > {page_15}
Immediately after Pope Francis's election, I was asked the same questions by a local media correspondent: why " Pope Francis" and which Francis? Of course, my response was mere speculation, but I said that the pope might well be thinking of Francis of Assisi because he is so well - known, he loved the poor and marginalized, and he was a man who stood for peace and harmony in a time of conflict and social unrest. Perhaps many others had the same sense of the pope's choice, even before he himself explained it. Above all, the pope is the vicar -- that is, the representative -- of Christ, and if a pope has to choose any saint who represented and reflected Jesus Christ, Francis of Assisi is certainly a worthy choice.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 2 Conversion: The Task of a Lifetime > {page_39}
What can we learn about conversion from the life of Francis of Assisi and from Pope Francis? First, Christian conversion is all about meeting Jesus Christ, that is, entering into a relationship with God through the God - man, Jesus, and having our lives changed to conform more closely to his life. Pope Francis, in a question - and - answer session with young people, told them:    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 3 Prayer: A Window into the Soul > {page_57}
Obviously the pope cannot pray personally for every ill or needy person, though clearly his desire is to do so. In addition to this concern for the individual, Pope Francis has also called the Church universal to special times of prayer for global needs, such as for the refugees who lost their lives at sea near Lampedusa, Italy, and for their families and loved ones. He also invited Catholics worldwide to an hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament on the Feast of Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ) -- an idea that reflects St. Francis of Assisi's deep and intense devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist. Pope Francis led this prayer in a simple and unpretentious way, praying silently.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 3 Prayer: A Window into the Soul > {page_61}
Pope Francis spoke of the centrality of Jesus, both for the Society of Jesus and for all Christians, when he celebrated the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola on July 31 , 2013 . In his homily, the pope urged each of us to ask the all - important question "Is Christ the center of my life?... [D]o I truly put Christ at the center of my life?" And the way Jesus Christ is placed at the center of our life is through prayer.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 4 Poverty: In Imitation of Jesus > {page_75}
Cardinal Giovanni Montini (later Pope Paul VI) offered a prayer in Assisi on the Feast of St. Francis, October 4 , 1958 , in which he asked: "Is friendship between Lady Poverty and Lady Economics possible? Or are we inevitably doomed by the terrible words of Christ: 'It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God' (Matthew 19 : 24 )?"99 The lives and teachings of St. Francis and Pope Francis give us hope that there is a solution. The world's economic policies do not seem inclined to embrace or foster Gospel poverty, but the witness of St. Francis and Pope Francis remind us that "with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19 : 26 ).    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 6 Church: To Live as Catholics > {page_93}
From beginning to end, Francis of Assisi was a loyal son of the Catholic Church. The same can be said of Pope Francis, as we will discuss shortly.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 6 Church: To Live as Catholics > {page_105}
Pope Francis is aptly describing himself when he says that a religious must not give up prophecy. What is most surprising in the early stages of the pontificate of Pope Francis is that we have a religious as pope who is unabashedly prophetic -- who is not afraid to speak a clear, direct prophetic word, not only to the world and to the "average" Catholic but {page_106} also to the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. To his episcopal and clerical colleagues and brothers he is issuing a challenge to consider how they (and he, as pope) must live and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus more fully and faithfully in this period of history.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 7 Mission: Proclaiming the Gospel > {page_107}
St. Francis and Pope Francis not only agree on this fundamental mission, but both also make clear that this good news of Jesus and his kingdom is something that each person is invited to accept personally through faith.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 7 Mission: Proclaiming the Gospel > {page_110}
Pope Francis often alludes to those elusive (perhaps apocryphal) words of St. Francis: "Preach the Gospel; use words when necessary." Even after this commission by Pope Innocent, it appears that Francis and his followers "preached" more by their lifestyle of poverty and care for the sick than by giving sermons. However, Thompson observes that at times St. Francis did preach, in a rather unconventional way, and that this eventually increased his notoriety:    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 7 Mission: Proclaiming the Gospel > {page_112}
Of course, Pope Francis has a different office in the Church and lives in a different era than St. Francis. According to the Second Vatican Council, among the duties of bishops, "preaching the Gospel has pride of place" and is always discussed first among his duties.144 Pope Francis emphasizes that his primary role and identity in the Church's structure is that of a bishop. Hence, he also sees calling the faithful to holiness as his central mission -- through his preaching but first through his example.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 7 Mission: Proclaiming the Gospel > {page_118}
This moment "made him [St. Francis] understand what truly mattered in life: not wealth, nor power of weapons, nor earthly glory, but humility, mercy and forgiveness." In this address Pope Francis called for a "culture of acceptance" of those who are weak and in need, who bear the "wounds of Jesus." He challenged us to "put the most disadvantaged people at the center of social and political attention!"152    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 7 Mission: Proclaiming the Gospel > {page_119}
After a simple lunch with the poor, Pope Francis addressed a group of young people from the region, touching on some key themes of his understanding of the mission of the Church today. First he spoke about vocations, noting that one great challenge to all vocations today is the "culture of the temporary" -- the fear of making a permanent commitment that might not work out. The pope said "not to be afraid to take definitive steps" and pointed out that the Holy Spirit is always providing new answers to new needs.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 7 Mission: Proclaiming the Gospel > {page_120}
Here Pope Francis joins St. Francis and the whole tradition of the Catholic Church in affirming that the mission of the Church is a continuation of the mission of Jesus to save the human race. From what? From sin and evil. For what? For life with God in his eternal kingdom. How? As Pope Francis continued, through the action of God, who in his infinite mercy has vanquished evil and won the victory through the death and rising of Jesus.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 8 Joy: Hallmark of the Christian > {page_123}
But why is it so important to speak about joy? First, nothing attracts like joy. As Pope Francis understands, nothing can lead others to Jesus Christ, or at least to consider faith in God, as effectively as Christians who are genuinely joyful. Second, this topic is especially important in a book about St. Francis and Pope Francis because joy is a hallmark of their lives -- they exude it even more than they speak about it. Isn't St. Francis's joy one of the secrets of his appeal and popularity? He lived a life of severe penance and self - denial, admitting, near his death, how poorly he had treated "Brother Ass," his body. And yet his penances never turned him into a gloomy ascetic. In fact, G.K. Chesterton noted, "The whole point about St. Francis of Assisi is that he certainly was ascetical and he certainly was not gloomy."159    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 8 Joy: Hallmark of the Christian > {page_132}
Jesus himself was a man of joy, setting us an example that is reflected in both St. Francis and Pope Francis. Pope Francis has commented that we aren't used to thinking about Jesus smiling or joyful, but "Jesus was full of joy" because of his intimacy with his Father.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 8 Joy: Hallmark of the Christian > {page_135}
Here Pope Francis warns against hypocrisy and pharisaism. Joy must be authentic, flowing from a consistent Christian life. Poverty, which is a hallmark of consecrated life, must be a genuine and coherent part of that life. Earlier in this address, the Holy Father, in a most Franciscan fashion, noted that true joy cannot be found in possessions or any other worldly standard. An authentic Christian life finds joy only in the Lord, as St. Francis discovered.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 8 Joy: Hallmark of the Christian > {page_137}
In the next two articles, Pope Francis reviews the Old Testament and New Testament texts on God's call to joy and rejoicing, but he also realizes that yielding to joy is sometimes difficult, and it may be overshadowed with grief and sorrow, as even St. Francis experienced in his times of temptation and challenges within his order. Pope Francis writes:    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 8 Joy: Hallmark of the Christian > {page_138}
How can it be seen in the way the pope describes? Pope Francis sees evangelization as sharing the joy of knowing Jesus Christ. St. Francis and his followers shared that joy simply by the way they lived. (And if your life were so full of Gospel joy, people might be asking you, "Why are you so happy?") Perhaps we are troubled, either because of what people will think of us if we speak of Christ or because we don't think our words or witness will have any effect (that is, we fear failure). Pope Francis reminds us, however, that evangelization is first and foremost a work of God    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 9 The Profound Un - Theologian > {page_157}
Here is where Francis the saint and Francis the pope are one in their life and in their message. Conversion to Christ and following Christ require ongoing conversion that is rooted deeply in prayer -- the interior life -- but must be manifested in deeds. And the deeds they both stress are those that reach out and touch others, especially the poor and those in need. This would include the materially poor but also those spiritually poor who have not yet discovered God as their loving Father and Jesus as their Savior. Both St. Francis and Pope Francis see and embody with their lives the mission of the Christian to respond to human need in charity and to evangelize, that is, to witness to Christ in word and deed.    [0 words apart]
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Notes > {page_163}
2 Pope Francis, Interview with Andrea Tornielli, December 14 , 2013 , in La Stampa, www.lastampa.it.    [0 words apart]
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Notes > {page_165}
30 Pope Francis, Homily for the Third Sunday of Easter, April 14 , 2013 , www.vatican.va.    [0 words apart]
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Notes > {page_167}
82 Reflections on Pope Francis by Michael Kelly, S.J., reported in Pray for Me: The Life and Spiritual Vision of Pope Francis, the First Pope from the Americas (Colorado Springs, CO: Image, 2013 ), pp. 167 , 168 .    [0 words apart]
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Notes > {page_173}
181 Pope Francis, general audience, June 26 , 2013 , www.vatican.va.    [0 words apart]
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Introduction > {page_9}
Despite these differences, there are many evident similarities between St. Francis and Pope Francis. Perhaps the most significant is how quickly both men captured the attention and sparked the imaginations of the people of their times. The religious communities of consecrated (celibate) {page_10} men and women and groups of lay people who sought to imitate and follow St. Francis blossomed and flourished even in his lifetime. Pope Francis was named "Person of the Year" by Time magazine just months after his election. The world is fascinated with both these men.    [0 words apart]
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Introduction > {page_11}
The book's last chapter, "The Profound Un - Theologian," highlights the importance for both the saint and the pope of living the Gospel of Jesus. Though Pope Francis, as a Jesuit, is theologically astute and well trained, he has made it a point to see that his papal teaching, especially in his homilies and audiences, is accessible to everyone, as St. Francis did whenever he preached. Controversies have arisen over some of Pope Francis's responses to questions that have led {page_12} people to speculate on whether or not he intends to revise some traditional Catholic teaching or pastoral practices. One of the pope's responsibilities is to review areas of the Catholic Church's life and structure. He has chosen eight cardinals to serve as close advisers. He has called for a synod of bishops to discuss marriage and the family. From the perspective of faith, there is no reason for concern over the course Pope Francis has taken or will take.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 1 Following Jesus > {page_14}
I have met two people who are on the road to being declared saints: Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. In my very brief moments with them, I was struck by exactly what Chesterton says of St. Francis: that they were genuinely interested in me, and that I was valued and totally accepted by them, just as I was. As Pope Francis said in his homily on Divine Mercy Sunday, 2013 : "For God we are not numbers, we are important, indeed we are the most important thing to him; even if we are sinners we are what is closest to his heart."    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 2 Conversion: The Task of a Lifetime > {page_28}
Pope Francis mentions a particular event that changed the direction of his life when he was seventeen. On September 21 , 1953 , the Feast of St. Matthew -- also the first day of spring in Argentina and a day of celebration for students -- he suddenly felt that he should go to confession. A practicing Catholic, he stopped at his parish church on the way to a festival, and a priest he did not know unexpectedly appeared and heard his confession.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 2 Conversion: The Task of a Lifetime > {page_29}
Christian conversion is, for Pope Francis, first and foremost the result of an encounter with a person -- the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. After telling of his own encounter with Jesus, Pope Francis reflected:    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 3 Prayer: A Window into the Soul > {page_57}
There was quiet weeping on Wednesday morning at St. Peter's Square. It accompanied a surreal moment of silent prayer led by Pope Francis. He had asked the crowd to join him in "an act of love," a prayer for a little girl who is about to be taken to Heaven. "Her name is Noemi," the pope said. "This morning I went to see her ... the poor little one was smiling.... Let us offer this act of love for her." "We do not know her," but "she is one of us," a Christian, he said....75    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 3 Prayer: A Window into the Soul > {page_59}
Time magazine named Pope Francis "Person of the Year" for 2013 , and even the secular journalists who wrote the Time article couldn't miss the importance of prayer in Pope Francis's life:    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 3 Prayer: A Window into the Soul > {page_59}
Pope Francis has described prayer as a mixture of "courage, humility, and service,"78 and certainly it takes courage to be persistent in prayer. In a homily in December 2013 , Pope Francis recalled Jesus' stories and teachings on prayer: the annoying friend who came in the middle of the night asking for food, the widow who kept coming back to petition the corrupt judge, and the many afflicted with leprosy and other diseases who called or reached out to Jesus for healing.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 4 Poverty: In Imitation of Jesus > {page_67}
Pope Francis, as we shall see shortly, is challenging Catholics to go to the outskirts, among the marginalized and the poor -- among any who are, as St. Francis said, "considered of little value and looked down upon." The truth is that every person is of inestimable value in God's eyes and never should be looked down upon, regardless of income, {page_68} race, religion, or physical condition. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Bergoglio lived in an ordinary downtown apartment and took public transportation to work in order to be among the people he was called to serve. As pope he expressed this solidarity with the poor in a symbolic way when he went to a prison and washed the feet of young men and women there in the 2013 Holy Thursday service.    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis bemoans the fact that we have come to accept the millions afflicted with poverty. We take this poverty as a matter of fact and hence do nothing about it. In his talk on the Vigil of Pentecost 2013 , Pope Francis observed that when a tramp dies of the cold or when a great many children are lacking sufficient food, we never hear about it because it is not "news." But if the stock market falls slightly, it's on the front page and viewed as a tragedy. Not so when people starve to death or when their health is poor. "This is our crisis today! And the witness of a poor church for the poor goes against this mentality."93    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 5 Communion: Together on the Journey > {page_84}
St. Francis's teaching resonates in the life and teaching of Pope Francis, who also emphasizes that communion is at the heart of God's plan. "What is God's plan?" he asked in a general audience. "It is to make of us all a single family of his children, in which each person feels that God is close and feels loved by him,... feels the warmth of being God's family."106 Like St. Francis, Pope Francis puts these words into action, frequently reaching out personally to others, as we {page_85} saw when he embraced and kissed a man severely disfigured by tumors on his head and neck.107    [0 words apart]
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One would rightly expect the pope to be faithful and loyal to the Church, and Pope Francis, in his homilies, audiences, and published interviews, uniformly presents the nature and mission of the Church as it is set forth in the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, especially (with regard to the Church's nature) in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), the council's central document. {page_100} There the primary image of the Church is the people of God, and Pope Francis, as we have seen, expounds on this truth that God's plan is to save us as a people, not as isolated individuals. As he said in a general audience in 2013 :    [0 words apart]
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Like St. Francis, Pope Francis realizes that the Catholic Church is a church of sinners, of penitents, not a church of the pure and perfect. It is a church of penitents who "allow themselves to be enfolded by the mercy, the tenderness and the forgiveness of the Father, who offers everyone the possibility of meeting him, of journeying toward sanctity."130    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis sees the Church's holiness manifest in the patience and endurance of Christians who strive to do God's will in the ordinary circumstances of everyday life. There are many in the Church who struggle and suffer, and the Church weeps and prays for them, Pope Francis has said, and stands firmly with them. "Our Mother Church has ... the courage of a woman who knows that her children are hers, and that she must defend them and bring them to meet her husband."131 We hear echoes of St. Francis's care for the members of his order, but in the case of Pope Francis, his care extends to the whole Church, of which he is the chief shepherd.    [0 words apart]
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St. Francis was respectful toward clergy in spite of their weaknesses because he was subject to them as a minore. Pope Francis is a peer of the bishops and, as pope, their shepherd, and he is responsible to guide, exhort, and even admonish them. As an archbishop, for example, he did just that. While conducting the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius for some brother bishops, he observed:    [0 words apart]
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We have been exploring parallels between St. Francis and Pope Francis in following Jesus, but the fact is that, irrespective of his choice of name, Pope Francis is a Jesuit and not a Franciscan. We have seen that St. Francis emphasized obedience {page_104} to the Catholic Church and her leaders. It should come as no surprise that St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, also saw obedience to the Church and to the pope as a foundation for his own spiritual life and later for his religious order.134    [0 words apart]
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Another aspect of obedience that shows the originality of Pope Francis is his interpretation of "thinking with the Church." One of St. Ignatius of Loyola's more controversial expressions of obedience is found in his celebrated "Rules for Thinking with the Church": if the Church's magisterium declared that black was white and white was black, he would believe it. Although this was an obvious hyperbole stressing the necessity of obedience to and trust in the Church's doctrinal definitions, it has raised questions of intellectual integrity.    [0 words apart]
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For Pope Francis, like St. Francis, repentance is a central theme of his preaching. He has been very direct in pointing out specific sins that endanger Catholics and others in our era. It is true that Pope Francis calls attention especially to the mercy of God, yet this mercy and forgiveness only come if one approaches God with a repentant heart, confessing one's sins specifically and turning away from them.    [0 words apart]
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To this point, the focus of this chapter has been the proclamation of the Gospel by St. Francis and Pope Francis by word, supported by the example of their lives. But what is distinctive about the ministries of the saint and the pope? It is not their preaching but their concern for personal, compassionate contact with individuals, especially the poor, the sick, and the marginalized. It is a mission and ministry of "presence" and of example that depends on the witness of their lives more than their words.    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis then proceeded to describe three aspects of the Holy Spirit's action in evangelization -- aspects that we also see in the life of St. Francis. The first is openness to God through the love of the Spirit, which leads to openness to others, overcoming "closure, indifference, division," and conflict. Ask yourself this, the pope says: "How do I let myself be guided by the Holy Spirit in such a way that my life and my witness of faith is both unity and communion?"    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 8 Joy: Hallmark of the Christian > {page_123}
The third Sunday of Advent is known as Gaudete -- or Rejoice -- Sunday, a word taken from the entrance prayer of the liturgical celebration, reminding us that the birth of the Savior draws near. On Gaudete Sunday of 2013 , Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to remember that "the Church is not a refuge for sad people but rather a house of joy." The reason? "Jesus Christ is our joy! His faithful love is inexhaustible!"158 Driving home the importance of joy as a central Christian characteristic, Pope Francis devoted his first papal apostolic exhortation, released in November 2013 , to the joy of the Gospel.    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis and Joy: Papal Teaching    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis went on to discuss the reasons why some priests and religious lack the joy of the Lord. He stressed that there is no holiness in sadness, referring to St. Teresa of Avila's saying, "A sad saint is a sorry saint." Pope Francis observed that the vow of celibacy could lead some to sadness if it did not mature toward "pastoral paternity" or "pastoral maternity" -- giving spiritual life to others. But when we see "so many nuns, so many priests who are joyful, it's because they are fruitful, they give life, life, life. They give this life because they find it in Jesus! In the joy of Jesus! Joy, not sadness, pastoral fruitfulness!"180    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 9 The Profound Un - Theologian > {page_141}
This seemingly contradictory chapter title points to the surprising and mysterious paradox of a person who had little or no formal education in theology yet who grasped, taught, and lived the deepest mysteries of the Catholic faith in a way that was truly astounding and that decisively shaped the face and direction of the Church. The person, of course, is St. Francis of Assisi. The image that best captures his impact is the famous fresco in the upper church of the Basilica of St. Francis, portraying Pope Innocent III's dream of a small tattered man dressed in brown, supporting on his shoulder the imposing but teetering Basilica of St. John Lateran, representing the Catholic Church. Pope Francis is the modern - day pope who had no dream about Francis of Assisi but who so appreciated his importance for the Church today that he assumed his name.    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis is practical and specific in naming the things that we need to avoid in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, such as worldliness and consumerism, gossip, slander, and hypocrisy. He is especially pointed in his criticism when Church law and custom are administered in ways that lack compassion and end up alienating people from Christ and his Church. In his own way, like St. Francis in his time, Pope Francis is calling people to repentance. His emphasis, though, is on the mercy of God -- the fact that God always goes ahead of us to extend mercy. The pope illustrates this most poignantly in his exposition of the parable of the merciful father, that is, the parable of the prodigal son.    [0 words apart]
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17 Pope Francis, "Q & A with Students," in Origins, June 27 , 2013 , vol. 43 , no. 8 , p. 114 .    [0 words apart]
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41 Pope Francis, "Q and A with Students", Origins, June 27 , 2013 , p. 114 .    [0 words apart]
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Despite these differences, there are many evident similarities between St. Francis and Pope Francis. Perhaps the most significant is how quickly both men captured the attention and sparked the imaginations of the people of their times. The religious communities of consecrated (celibate) {page_10} men and women and groups of lay people who sought to imitate and follow St. Francis blossomed and flourished even in his lifetime. Pope Francis was named "Person of the Year" by Time magazine just months after his election. The world is fascinated with both these men.    [0 words apart]
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St. Francis and Pope Francis each represent in his own time a "fresh breeze" blowing in the Church, an expression of the newness of the Holy Spirit's action in each age of the Church. And yet this breeze in our day is also a reminder of the timeless witness and message of the saints of old, as Pope Francis has called to mind in taking St. Francis of Assisi as a special patron for his pontificate.    [0 words apart]
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Francis of Assisi is assuredly one of the best - known and most widely admired figures in the history of Christianity. There have probably been more biographies written about St. Francis than any other Catholic saint. This book is not a biography but a reflection on what St. Francis, and his namesake, Pope Francis, have to tell us about following Jesus.    [0 words apart]
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It is ironic that this phrase, "Preach the Gospel and, if necessary, use words," which is widely quoted and even emblazoned on tee - shirts at Franciscan University, is not a saying of St. Francis found in any existing manuscript. Nevertheless, it does accurately portray the life and message of St. Francis: that he valued action -- living the Gospel -- over words (see chapter 7, on mission). Pope Francis too emphasizes that living the Gospel, not merely talking about it, is decisive.    [0 words apart]
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Perhaps the quality that best summarizes the plethora of natural virtues that Francis of Assisi possessed is magnanimity. Pope Francis has spoken about this quality, which well describes Francis of Assisi:    [0 words apart]
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At each stage of his life, Francis exhibited a courage that Pope Francis often speaks of -- parrhesia, in Greek -- that is, a "holy boldness" to do and say what needs to be said and done, flowing from a childlike confidence and trust in God. St. Paul taught that God chooses the weak to shame the strong, and the foolish to shame the wise ( 1 Corinthians 1 : 27 ). Francis acknowledged that he was a "minor" -- a little one -- whose strength came solely from God. This is honest, true humility, and it never prevented St. Francis from pursuing and doing God's will once he understood it.    [0 words apart]
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The sacrament of reconciliation, commonly called confession, is an important avenue of repentance for Catholics. Though this is not mentioned explicitly in the early biographies of Francis, it is reasonable to assume that this sacrament was part of his repentance. As Pope Francis has said, so many centuries later, "We must really recognize our sins, and not present ourselves with a false image.... [W]e have a treasure: the Saviour Jesus Christ, the Cross of Jesus Christ is the treasure in which we rejoice, [but let us not forget] to also confess our sins."31 And we have seen that it was immediately after going to confession that the seventeen - year - old Jorge Bergoglio felt himself to be changed and sensed a strong calling from God to be a priest.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 3 Prayer: A Window into the Soul > {page_45}
This richness of experience of God in prayer is also evident in the life of Pope Francis. Cardinal Bergoglio, soon before his election to the papacy, commented that "sometimes the religious experience in prayer occurs to me when I pray aloud with the rosary or the psalms or when I joyfully celebrate the Eucharist. But the moment when I most savor the religious experience, however long it may be, is when I am before the tabernacle.56    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis admits that he sometimes "allows" himself to fall asleep during that prayer before the tabernacle, but this doesn't concern him, because then he feels "as if I {page_46} were in someone else's hands, as if God were taking me by the hand." When Pope John Paul II was asked, for his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope, how he prayed, he responded that you would have to ask the Holy Spirit, because the pope prays as the Holy Spirit permits him to pray. The same is true of all who pray, because as Pope Francis has often explained, Christian prayer is not just a human act, an act of the will, but the action of God in us. About prayer, Pope John Paul II said that St. Paul got to the heart of the matter when he taught, "We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings" (Romans 8 : 26 , NAB).57    [0 words apart]
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Besides asking for prayer for himself, Pope Francis frequently prays publicly for others. He makes it clear that he considers this an essential service he is called to do, especially for the sick and the needy. Two examples, among many, illustrate his commitment. In early October 2013 , Mario Palmaro, a bioethicist who worked for Radio Maria, coauthored an essay entitled "We Do Not Like This Pope." Shortly after, when Pope Francis learned that Palmaro had been diagnosed with a debilitating disease, the pope telephoned him. Palmaro later told reporters, "He just wanted to tell me that he was praying for me."74    [0 words apart]
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It is evident that for Pope Francis, prayer for the individual needs of others and for the great needs of the world is not a pious sentiment but the first and most essential response of a Christian. Since his election he has spoken of {page_59} this, but like St. Francis, his own example provides the greatest teaching about and witness to its importance. His daily life as pope is steeped in prayer, despite (or rather, because of) the many demands of his office.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 4 Poverty: In Imitation of Jesus > {page_72}
Second, we must have personal contact with the poor as we assist them, as St. Francis and his followers did. In his 2013 Pentecost Vigil talk, Pope Francis spoke of questions {page_73} he would sometimes pose in the confessional. He would ask, "Do you give alms?" and if the response was yes,    [0 words apart]
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Cardinal Giovanni Montini (later Pope Paul VI) offered a prayer in Assisi on the Feast of St. Francis, October 4 , 1958 , in which he asked: "Is friendship between Lady Poverty and Lady Economics possible? Or are we inevitably doomed by the terrible words of Christ: 'It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God' (Matthew 19 : 24 )?"99 The lives and teachings of St. Francis and Pope Francis give us hope that there is a solution. The world's economic policies do not seem inclined to embrace or foster Gospel poverty, but the witness of St. Francis and Pope Francis remind us that "with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19 : 26 ).    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 5 Communion: Together on the Journey > {page_84}
St. Francis's teaching resonates in the life and teaching of Pope Francis, who also emphasizes that communion is at the heart of God's plan. "What is God's plan?" he asked in a general audience. "It is to make of us all a single family of his children, in which each person feels that God is close and feels loved by him,... feels the warmth of being God's family."106 Like St. Francis, Pope Francis puts these words into action, frequently reaching out personally to others, as we {page_85} saw when he embraced and kissed a man severely disfigured by tumors on his head and neck.107    [0 words apart]
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Finally, affirming that Jesus wants everyone to be close to him, Pope Francis urges that we ask the Lord to grant that "all who approach the Church find doors open to encounter Jesus' love."113    [0 words apart]
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Like St. Francis, Pope Francis loves and is passionately committed to the Church but is not afraid to proclaim this prophetic word and to live a prophetic life that challenges everyone in the Church to reexamine how they are doing in following Jesus and living his Gospel, just as St. Francis did so powerfully and effectively in his times.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 7 Mission: Proclaiming the Gospel > {page_107}
When it comes to mission, St. Francis of Assisi and Pope Francis have a very similar, if not identical, understanding. What does mission mean? Jesus told his followers to go out and proclaim the "good news" (gospel), which was that the kingdom of God was at hand (see Mark 1 : 15 ; Matthew 4 : 17 ). After Jesus died and rose from the dead, he sent his Holy Spirit at Pentecost to empower the newborn Church to carry out this mission. The Church did so by proclaiming the death and resurrection of Jesus and the fact that Jesus is "the Christ," the Messiah, the long - awaited Savior of Israel and of all people.    [0 words apart]
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What is the mission of the Church? To bring people to salvation through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, which comes through the preaching of the Gospel. We see this beginning at Pentecost, when St. Peter gave the first proclamation of Jesus' death and resurrection and called for those who heard to repent, believe, and be baptized. So the call to penance (repentance from sin and a penitential life) is a common focus for St. Francis and Pope Francis, leading people into the way of discipleship, which is the way of the cross.    [0 words apart]
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With mention of the Gospel, Pope Francis launched into an impassioned and lively response to two questions posed by the young people at Assisi concerning our social obligation and our responsibility to evangelize.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 8 Joy: Hallmark of the Christian > {page_124}
What else did Pope Francis say on Gaudete Sunday? As described in one news report, his words bear striking resemblance to the advice of St. Francis:    [0 words apart]
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Jesus is the reason for the Christian's joy. The "author" of this joy, Pope Francis says, is the Holy Spirit. St. Paul lists joy as the second fruit of the Holy Spirit, right after love (Galatians 5 : 22 ). This fruit of the Spirit, evident in St. Francis, frees us from sadness and depression. Joy is also the result of praising God, which St. Augustine taught is humanity's deepest desire. The Holy Spirit sets us free to praise God, and this enables the fruit of joy to grow in our hearts.    [0 words apart]
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As St. Francis had a deep devotion to Our Lady, Pope Francis too expresses the need to pray to Mary for the gift of joy and the grace to praise God. He concluded the Visitation homily with the exhortation:    [0 words apart]
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As well as recognizing the sacredness of the Eucharist and the Word of God in Sacred Scripture, St. Francis saw and valued the incarnational dimension in confessing one's sins to a priest and receiving absolution. This has also been underscored frequently by Pope Francis. It was a key theme in some of his general audiences in November 2013 . On November 13 , Pope Francis emphasized that the sacrament of reconciliation is a "second Baptism," renewing the grace of baptism and thus enabling the faithful to live in the joy of Jesus Christ. In his November 20 , 2013 , catechesis, the pope said:    [0 words apart]
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14 Pope Francis, homily, April 14 , 2013 , www.vatican.va.    [0 words apart]
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One indication of the central importance of joy for Pope Francis, and not just for the Christmas season, is that he chose it as a central theme of his first apostolic exhortation, on evangelization, Evangelii Gaudium ("The Joy of the Gospel").    [0 words apart]
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The book's last chapter, "The Profound Un - Theologian," highlights the importance for both the saint and the pope of living the Gospel of Jesus. Though Pope Francis, as a Jesuit, is theologically astute and well trained, he has made it a point to see that his papal teaching, especially in his homilies and audiences, is accessible to everyone, as St. Francis did whenever he preached. Controversies have arisen over some of Pope Francis's responses to questions that have led {page_12} people to speculate on whether or not he intends to revise some traditional Catholic teaching or pastoral practices. One of the pope's responsibilities is to review areas of the Catholic Church's life and structure. He has chosen eight cardinals to serve as close advisers. He has called for a synod of bishops to discuss marriage and the family. From the perspective of faith, there is no reason for concern over the course Pope Francis has taken or will take.    [0 words apart]
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St. Francis and Pope Francis each represent in his own time a "fresh breeze" blowing in the Church, an expression of the newness of the Holy Spirit's action in each age of the Church. And yet this breeze in our day is also a reminder of the timeless witness and message of the saints of old, as Pope Francis has called to mind in taking St. Francis of Assisi as a special patron for his pontificate.    [0 words apart]
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Nonetheless, St. Francis of Assisi's life has touched and affected people over the centuries and continues to do so, {page_17} as the choice of his name by Pope Francis testifies. André Vauchez acknowledges that the impact that Francis of Assisi has had for generations is not based solely on the "historical" Francis as he existed in his time and culture, but that it also comes from the stories, the tales (legendae) about Francis that reflect the impression he left on his followers and the impact he had on their lives. Vauchez calls this Francis's Nachleben -- "after life" -- "the different perceptions of his person and life by his contemporaries and those interested in him through the ages."8    [0 words apart]
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Francis's propensity for actions over words is reflected in a popular phrase attributed to him that was articulated by Pope Francis in a speech given at St. Paul Outside - the - Walls on April 14 , 2013 :    [0 words apart]
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Francis had great ideals and a great heart -- there was nothing "small" about his goals, his giving, or his values. And yet he realized that these could only be accomplished by doing little things well -- the ordinary things of everyday life. Pope Francis calls magnanimity the "virtue of the great and the small" and explains the source of this magnanimity in words that apply particularly well to St. Francis:    [0 words apart]
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To be humble, knowing your own weaknesses and limitations, and yet to step out to accomplish what you think must be done (what God calls you to do), is parrhesia. Francis of Assisi had this humble courage, which produced in him a remarkable boldness and freedom to live and act as he was convinced God was calling him to do -- even when his family and much of Assisi thought that this rich young merchant had gone mad in abandoning his worldly life and becoming, seemingly, a vagrant, a beggar. "Always being free to choose goodness is demanding," Pope Francis has said, but it makes us "into people with a backbone who can face life, people with courage and patience (parrhesia and ypomoné)."19    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis describes two things about this experience that had a great impact on him. The first is his sense that the priest was there waiting for him, which enabled the pope to perceive that God is always "there first," waiting to forgive us and to be with us. When Pope Francis reflects on the parable of the merciful Father (also known as the parable of the prodigal son), as he did on Divine Mercy Sunday 2013 , there is an amazing depth of insight and power as he describes how the father in the parable did not just "happen" to be looking out and catch sight of his youngest son at a distance. No, the pope says that the father had gone out every day, anticipating his son's return and waiting to catch sight of him.    [0 words apart]
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The other result of the experience was that, after that confession, "I felt something had changed. I was not the same," the pope said. "I had heard something like a voice, or a call. I was convinced that I should become a priest."20 On another occasion Pope Francis said of this incident "that it was not only the 'astonishment of the encounter' which revealed to him his religious vocation, but the compassionate way in {page_29} which God called him -- in such a way that, over time, it became a source of inspiration for his own ministry."21    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis had an encounter with Jesus, through the sacrament of reconciliation, that clearly indicated to him his vocation to be a priest. With young Francis of Assisi, it appears that his conversion to Christ occurred, and his vocation was revealed, over an extended period of time. It unfolded in many steps. This is also the experience of many Christians.    [0 words apart]
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This decision to repent and do penance for his past sins could be seen as the first step in Francis's conversion to becoming a serious, intentional follower of Jesus Christ. Pope Francis has observed that when God has the true and proper place in a person's life, that person will worship God and God alone. (This is the first of God's commandments: "I am the LORD your God.... You shall have no other gods before me" [Exodus 20 : 2 -- 3 ; Deuteronomy 5 : 6 -- 7 ].) "Worshiping the Lord," Pope Francis has said,    [0 words apart]
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This decision to repent and do penance for his past sins could be seen as the first step in Francis's conversion to becoming a serious, intentional follower of Jesus Christ. Pope Francis has observed that when God has the true and proper place in a person's life, that person will worship God and God alone. (This is the first of God's commandments: "I am the LORD your God.... You shall have no other gods before me" [Exodus 20 : 2 -- 3 ; Deuteronomy 5 : 6 -- 7 ].) "Worshiping the Lord," Pope Francis has said,    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis speaks frequently about conversion as a personal encounter with Jesus, but he emphasizes that the sign of true conversion is going out with the Gospel of Jesus and living it on the "outskirts" or the fringes of society.40 Like Francis in his conversion, we are challenged to go out and live our faith, serving those on the edges. Francis's conversion transformed him into a man who no longer retreated into the comfort zone of his affluence but found freedom living and serving as a disciple of Jesus among the poor and the marginalized.    [0 words apart]
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The fifth stage of conversion is to act upon what God has revealed or the direction he has given. This requires the grace of God, as well as human decision and effort. Pope Francis reflected on this road of conversion in his dialogue with young people:    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis admits that he sometimes "allows" himself to fall asleep during that prayer before the tabernacle, but this doesn't concern him, because then he feels "as if I {page_46} were in someone else's hands, as if God were taking me by the hand." When Pope John Paul II was asked, for his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope, how he prayed, he responded that you would have to ask the Holy Spirit, because the pope prays as the Holy Spirit permits him to pray. The same is true of all who pray, because as Pope Francis has often explained, Christian prayer is not just a human act, an act of the will, but the action of God in us. About prayer, Pope John Paul II said that St. Paul got to the heart of the matter when he taught, "We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings" (Romans 8 : 26 , NAB).57    [0 words apart]
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The decision to lead people in these prayers was very much in the spirit of St. Francis, who not only used the {page_56} prayers of the Church but also went out to the people to meet them where they were. In this same spirit, Pope Francis has chosen to celebrate daily Mass at the more public Vatican guest house of St. Martha, rather than in the private papal chapel in the Vatican. What occurred on the night Jorge Mario Bergoglio was introduced as the new pope -- and asked for prayers -- was not an anomaly. He frequently requested, and continues to request, prayers for himself, and prayer is his first response to any need.    [0 words apart]
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Obviously the pope cannot pray personally for every ill or needy person, though clearly his desire is to do so. In addition to this concern for the individual, Pope Francis has also called the Church universal to special times of prayer for global needs, such as for the refugees who lost their lives at sea near Lampedusa, Italy, and for their families and loved ones. He also invited Catholics worldwide to an hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament on the Feast of Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ) -- an idea that reflects St. Francis of Assisi's deep and intense devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist. Pope Francis led this prayer in a simple and unpretentious way, praying silently.    [0 words apart]
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The pope then presided over the four - hour prayer vigil. The result? Shortly after, a potentially bloody military confrontation in Syria was averted. Seen through the eyes of faith, this was an answer to prayer. But even after the immediate crisis was averted, Pope Francis continued to call for prayer for peace and religious freedom in the Middle East:    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis explained: "Prayer [has] two attitudes: needy and confident. When we ask for something, our prayer is needy ... and it is also confident: listen to me [God], I believe you can do it, for you have promised it!" He said that "praying is a little like bothering God so that he listens to us." {page_60} It's "drawing God's eyes and heart to us.... Jesus tells us: 'Ask!' and he also says: 'Knock at the door!' and whoever knocks at the door makes noise, he disturbs, he bothers."79    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis's gaze is always outward in service, but it is rooted in the inwardness of his relationship with God in prayer. He speaks often about the necessity, for a Christian, of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and his love and mercy. But the distinctive "inwardness" in the prayer of Pope Francis can also be seen in his call to be a Jesuit and, more so, a Jesuit spiritual director.    [0 words apart]
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There is a third aspect that is distinctive about St. Francis's view of poverty, and here his teaching is very similar to that of Pope Francis. St. Francis wrote in his Earlier Rule:    [0 words apart]
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In a discussion with students, Pope Francis answered a question with words that could have come just as easily from the mouth of St. Francis of Assisi: "Where do I find hope? In the poor Jesus, Jesus who made himself poor for us."    [0 words apart]
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What is Pope Francis's solution to the plight of those who are suffering because of poverty and its effects? It appears that his response is threefold. The first two points are very much like St. Francis's approach. First, become poor, or at least poorer, ourselves. In a discussion with young people, Pope Francis said that each of us must consider whether we can be a little poorer ourselves, a little more like Jesus, the "poor teacher."94    [0 words apart]
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There is a witness value in the way we live, and living a poorer life is part of that witness. When Pope Francis reflected on how we could become a poor Church, he said:    [0 words apart]
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I cannot help thinking of St. Francis, whose most profound conversion occurred the moment he could make personal contact with the leper in giving him alms. Pope Francis summarized this call to proclaim "the good news to the poor" (see Luke 4 : 18 ) in charity in a message given to the annual ecclesial convention of his diocese of Rome in June 2013 :    [0 words apart]
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In May 2013 , Pope Francis welcomed four new ambassadors to the Holy See. He took the occasion to comment on money and economics on the international level.    [0 words apart]
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On the same theme, Pope Francis said:    [0 words apart]
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What a beautiful statement of specific ways we can all build unity! Further, the pope explained, God asks us to leave behind individualism -- the inclination we all have to retreat into ourselves. "He calls us to be part of His family." Pope Francis explained that this communion is possible only because we have received the mercy of God, forgiving our sins: "[W]hen we realize we are sinners we encounter the mercy of God who always forgives. Never forget it: God always pardons and receives us into his love of forgiveness and mercy."111    [0 words apart]
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In a particularly direct teaching, Pope Francis said that when people in need approach the Church, the Church must not close its doors on them simply because their situations are irregular. He gave the example of a single mother who wanted to have her child baptized but was turned away from the parish because she was not married. The pope commented:    [0 words apart]
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Both Pope Francis and St. Francis point out areas where the faithful occasionally have failed in communion. Remember that St. Francis -- a model of compassion -- in his role as "pastor" of his order, had to correct or even occasionally expel a brother from their fellowship. In his Earlier Rule he spoke about those who refuse to do penance and are preoccupied by the world, who lack wisdom, who are in the grip {page_89} of the devil, and who, when they die, will find themselves in anguish as the devil takes them to himself.    [0 words apart]
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It would not be fitting, however, to end a chapter on the importance of communion in following Jesus on a negative note. Pope Francis saw that the tragedy of Lampedusa and others like it present followers of Christ with opportunities to express their care for and their communion with those in need. St. Francis and his followers felt likewise when they reached out to serve the lepers and those on the margins of society. The call for Christians is to show mercy, compassion, and forgiveness to those within the body of believers as well as those in need on the outside.    [0 words apart]
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We are all challenged, at times, to live in communion with others, following the example of Christ. At the end of his Mass at Lampedusa, where he said strong words about the "globalization of indifference" and our inability to weep over the great suffering of many people, Pope Francis concluded:    [0 words apart]
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Most of all, Francis was truly and genuinely humble. We see this in his constant reminders to his followers to be submissive to the Church's ordained leaders, seeing this as God's design for the Church and also knowing himself to be a sinner. ( Pope Francis has summarized his own identity as, first, "a sinner."123)    [0 words apart]
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Then, at the end of this audience, Pope Francis posed some questions for us to consider:    [0 words apart]
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So often we hear people say, "I wish the Church would ..." Aren't we, the faithful, the Church? Pope Francis emphasizes, as Lumen Gentium taught, that we, the Church, are a people on a journey, a pilgrim people walking together with Jesus.    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis sees the Church's holiness manifest in the patience and endurance of Christians who strive to do God's will in the ordinary circumstances of everyday life. There are many in the Church who struggle and suffer, and the Church weeps and prays for them, Pope Francis has said, and stands firmly with them. "Our Mother Church has ... the courage of a woman who knows that her children are hers, and that she must defend them and bring them to meet her husband."131 We hear echoes of St. Francis's care for the members of his order, but in the case of Pope Francis, his care extends to the whole Church, of which he is the chief shepherd.    [0 words apart]
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Some people have noted that Pope Francis frequently mentions the weaknesses and shortcomings of some of the Church leaders, even in what might be interpreted as a critical tone. In a homily on the parable of the Good Samaritan, he said:    [0 words apart]
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His point is that "the Church" is not just the people, or the bishops, or theologians, or the faithful alone, but all together they comprise the one people of God. To "think with the Church" (and hence to obey the Church) is to be in true dialogue and communion with each other. Pope Francis clarifies that he does not mean that the "infallibility" of all the faithful is a form of populism or popular vote but rather that it arises when the pastors and people are listening to God together.135    [0 words apart]
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The fundamental mission of the Church is to introduce others to the person of Jesus so that all might become "new creations" through faith in him. As Pope Francis said on Pentecost 2013 , which was also World Mission Day:    [0 words apart]
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Could Pope Francis have described the primary mission of the Church any more clearly? In his pontificate he has continued the focus on evangelization as the primary mission of the Church, as taught by the Second Vatican Council and emphasized by his immediate predecessors.    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis has exhibited the same peaceful respect in his dialogues with other religious leaders and with the nonreligious and antireligious. His observations about the peace that is evident in the life of St. Francis underscores this attitude that is so critical to the proclamation of the Gospel.    [0 words apart]
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In his interview in America magazine, Pope Francis said that the Church ministers must be "ministers of mercy above all,... people who can warm the hearts of people, who walk through the dark night with them, who know how to dialogue and to descend themselves into their people's night, into the darkness, but without getting lost."150 One of Pope Francis's favorite images for this is walking. He said:    [0 words apart]
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Here in Assisi, close to the Portiuncola, I seem to hear the voice of St. Francis repeating: "The Gospel, the Gospel!" He says it to me as well; indeed, he says it to me first: Pope Francis, be a servant of the Gospel! If I do not succeed in being a servant of the Gospel, my life is worth nothing!    [0 words apart]
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This mission, which begins within each person, must reach out to others. Pope Francis highlighted this:    [0 words apart]
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Where does the Church find the power and courage to carry out its mission? In an early general audience Pope Francis identified the Holy Spirit as the one who equips us to evangelize.    [0 words apart]
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Who is the real driving force of evangelization in our life and in the Church? Paul VI wrote clearly: "... [I]t is the Holy Spirit who today, just as at the beginning of the Church, acts in every evangelizer who allows himself to be possessed and led by him. The Holy Spirit places on his lips the words which he could not find by himself, and at the same time the Holy Spirit predisposes the soul of the hearer to be open and receptive to the Good News and to the Kingdom being proclaimed" (Evangelii Nuntiandi, no. 75 ). And Pope Francis affirms:    [0 words apart]
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Every Catholic, every person, has a mission from God. Pope Francis challenges each person to prayerfully discover that particular mission and fulfill it by God's grace.    [0 words apart]
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Chapter 8 Joy: Hallmark of the Christian > {page_131}
Jorge Bergoglio chose the name Francis for many reasons, but evidently the joy that marked St. Francis of Assisi was one characteristic that resonated with him and certainly radiates from him in his pastoral ministry. In his first general papal homily -- on Palm Sunday, March 24 , 2013 -- Pope Francis began by speaking about joy and its source: meeting Jesus Christ and following him.    [0 words apart]
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This is seen in an exemplary way in the life of Mary the Mother of God, whose "Magnificat" is a model prayer of praise and thanksgiving, as her "spirit rejoices in God" her Savior (Luke 1 : 47 ). Pope Francis tied all of these themes together in his homily for the Feast of the Visitation on May 31 , 2013 :    [0 words apart]
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And though joy is not simple fun, in a later homily based on the Pharisees' complaint that Jesus' disciples ate and drank while others fasted, Pope Francis said that meeting Christ is like going to a wedding -- a feast. And so Christians live with joy because life with Jesus "is a great feast."    [0 words apart]
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Of course, Pope Francis added, "there are moments of the cross, moments of sorrow, but there is always that deep sense of peace. Why? The Christian life is ... the wedding feast of Jesus and the Church."178    [0 words apart]
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In July 2013 , Pope Francis met with seminarians, novices in religious communities, and those discerning religious life. Not unexpectedly, the Holy Father spoke at length about the joy that should accompany the call to priesthood or religious consecration:    [0 words apart]
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An Examination of Conscience and a Mission of Joy Pope Francis, in the first months of his pontificate, did not hesitate to challenge and convict Catholics, calling the Catholic Church and all its members to examine their lives in light of the Gospel of Christ. This segment from his Wednesday Catechesis of June 26 , 2013 , is a prime example of this:    [0 words apart]
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If we are ashamed or afraid to come to the Lord (or to come back to him, if we have sinned or just drifted away), Pope Francis explains that we need only turn to Jesus for mercy and forgiveness, because "he has forgiven us seventy {page_137} times seven.... With a tenderness that 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" (EG, no. 3 ).    [0 words apart]
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At the close of the introduction, Pope Francis says that in the rest of the exhortation he wishes to expand upon "a definite style of evangelization which I ask you to adopt in every activity which you undertake. In this way, we can take up amid our daily efforts the Biblical exhortation: 'Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice' (Philippians 4 : 4 )" (EG, no. 18 ).    [0 words apart]
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Given that evangelization is the great challenge and opportunity for Catholics in the present day, to speak of evangelization -- of joyful mission -- is a fitting conclusion to this chapter exploring how St. Francis and Pope Francis have responded to their call to live the Gospel joyfully and to proclaim it boldly with joy. Pope Francis summed up the {page_139} spirit behind this call -- which is given to all of us, not just to popes and saints -- in a catechesis delivered in May 2013 .    [0 words apart]
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Hearing Francis's prayer, the Lord began to use him to rebuild his Church, one step at a time. First, God sent him brothers -- one - by - one -- to share his simple way of life. Francis sought approval for this group and the guidance of the Catholic Church, first through his bishop and then, boldly, by going to Rome to seek the approval of the pope. Francis was humble before those Church authorities, indeed toward all priests and bishops, as he was before God. Obedience and fidelity, to God and to "Mother Church," were principles that guided him till his death. Although Francis and his followers were often mocked, misunderstood, and even persecuted, especially in the early years, Francis saw this as sharing in the suffering of Jesus, and he was given the grace to avoid anger and bitterness.    [0 words apart]
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As well as recognizing the sacredness of the Eucharist and the Word of God in Sacred Scripture, St. Francis saw and valued the incarnational dimension in confessing one's sins to a priest and receiving absolution. This has also been underscored frequently by Pope Francis. It was a key theme in some of his general audiences in November 2013 . On November 13 , Pope Francis emphasized that the sacrament of reconciliation is a "second Baptism," renewing the grace of baptism and thus enabling the faithful to live in the joy of Jesus Christ. In his November 20 , 2013 , catechesis, the pope said:    [0 words apart]
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So Pope Francis also stresses the incarnational dimension of Catholic life found in the Church's sacraments.    [0 words apart]
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Though challenging, the message of Pope Francis does not lead the person open to hearing the truth into {page_160} depression, condemnation, or discouragement, because he points to the merciful love of God the Father, who is always ready to forgive. Also, Pope Francis, like St. Francis, encourages simply because of the joy and hope of the messenger. This, for St. Francis, was exquisitely presented in a reflection on the impact of the saint in the first biography of Thomas of Celano -- a reflection that immediately precedes a very thorough physical description of Francis. This literary portrait of Francis's virtues captures, far better than the precise physical description, the impact and spirit of the saint and the impression he left on his followers:    [0 words apart]
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Yes, Pope Francis did well in choosing for his papal name such a beloved and illustrious saint, one who has appealed to many people for centuries and who is powerful in showing us the meaning of conversion to Christ and how to follow Jesus in the way of Christian discipleship. Amid the tensions and confusions of issues and ideologies in the modern world, it is good to recall the witness of a saint who radiated and lived the teaching of Jesus in such a passionate and simple way, reminding us that how we live is the truest measure of our faith.    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis, as his pontificate demonstrates, is directing the Church to examine how we are living the gospel of Christ and whether we are experiencing the saving mercy of God revealed most fully in Jesus. In Christ we have great joy and hope, a joy and hope that we Christians must share with others by our lives.    [0 words apart]
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Pope Francis is also inviting the world that does not yet believe in Jesus Christ to consider the beauty and truth of the Son of God and his saving and liberating message. I can think of no better close to this book than a prayer of St. {page_162} Francis, which the oldest collection of Francis's writings (Assisi Codex 338 ) places at the end of his Letter to the Entire Order:    [0 words apart]
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22 Pope Francis, Pentecost Vigil, May 18 , 2013 , www.vatican.va.    [0 words apart]
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56 Jorge Bergoglio, Pope Francis: His Life in His Own Words, pp. 45 , 46 .    [0 words apart]
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72 Pope Francis, @Pontifex, twitter.com/Pontifex, March 17 , 2013 .    [0 words apart]
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169 Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, "Projecting the Joy of Faith," Letter to Catechists of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, August 21 , 2012 , in Pope Francis: Encountering Christ (New Rochelle, N.Y.: Scepter, 2013 ), pp. 22 , 23 .    [0 words apart]
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180 Pope Francis, Address to Seminarians and Novices, posted July 10 , 2013 , www.zenit.net.    [0 words apart]
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188 Pope Francis, General Audience, November 20 , www.vatican.va.    [0 words apart]
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To put it another way, it doesn't seem that the young Francis intended his group to be a missionary order or apostolate. But in a prophetic manner, Pope Innocent not only approved Francis's rule but also commissioned him and his followers to preach, as long as they obtained permission from the local pastor or bishop. Augustine Thompson, O.P., explains that when the pope told Francis to go and "preach penance to all" (as Thomas Celano reported),    [1 word apart]
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Pope Francis's itinerary and talks that day spoke eloquently about his understanding of the Church's mission and {page_118} how it played out in the life of St. Francis. The pope began his day with a visit to the Serafico Institute, dedicated to the care of sick children and named, of course, after the "seraphic" saint. In his prepared address he recalled St. Francis's meeting with the leper, which changed Francis's life and began his mission to the sick and the poor.    [1 word apart]
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This seemingly contradictory chapter title points to the surprising and mysterious paradox of a person who had little or no formal education in theology yet who grasped, taught, and lived the deepest mysteries of the Catholic faith in a way that was truly astounding and that decisively shaped the face and direction of the Church. The person, of course, is St. Francis of Assisi. The image that best captures his impact is the famous fresco in the upper church of the Basilica of St. Francis, portraying Pope Innocent III's dream of a small tattered man dressed in brown, supporting on his shoulder the imposing but teetering Basilica of St. John Lateran, representing the Catholic Church. Pope Francis is the modern - day pope who had no dream about Francis of Assisi but who so appreciated his importance for the Church today that he assumed his name.    [1 word apart]
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Here is where Francis the saint and Francis the pope are one in their life and in their message. Conversion to Christ and following Christ require ongoing conversion that is rooted deeply in prayer -- the interior life -- but must be manifested in deeds. And the deeds they both stress are those that reach out and touch others, especially the poor and those in need. This would include the materially poor but also those spiritually poor who have not yet discovered God as their loving Father and Jesus as their Savior. Both St. Francis and Pope Francis see and embody with their lives the mission of the Christian to respond to human need in charity and to evangelize, that is, to witness to Christ in word and deed.    [1 word apart]
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It is easy to romanticize this life. Obviously, it entailed many hardships. After returning from approval of the first, simple rule by Pope Innocent III, Francis and his followers found shelter in a small abandoned barn about two miles from Assisi at a place known as Rivo Torto. Even though they only stayed there three months, this is considered the first {page_80} experience of Franciscan common life, lived primarily under the direction and in imitation of Francis.    [2 words apart]
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Nonetheless, this pope -- who called the Fourth Lateran Council and launched the Fourth Crusade, a pope at the apex of the power of the medieval papacy -- had the humility, faith, and openness to the Holy Spirit to take the risk of approving a new men's religious community. The pope also incorporated Francis and those who accompanied him to Rome into the Church's structure by having them tonsured and ordained to the diaconate. Francis did not even ask for written approval of his rule or brotherhood, in his humble {page_94} simplicity. He felt that the pope's word was enough, and so it was until the order began to attract many followers.    [2 words apart]
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One might ask, did St. Francis understand proclaiming the Gospel of Christ as a central priority? Wasn't his life more about being an example of Christlike poverty, peace, and joy? It is true that the Scripture passages that St. Francis and his followers brought to Pope Innocent III for approval as the foundation of his rule were passages about following Jesus after giving up one's possessions and leaving "father and {page_110} mother, brothers and sisters, houses and lands." He didn't come to the pope, for example, with the Great Commission as his rule: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28 : 19 ).    [5 words apart]
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Immediately after this, Bonaventure reported that once when Francis was invited to speak before the pope and the cardinals, he went blank and could think of nothing to say. After praying to the Holy Spirit, he began to speak with such eloquence that it was obvious he spoke not by his own power but by the Spirit of the Lord (see Acts 6 : 10 ).200    [6 words apart]
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Yes, Francis of Assisi believed he knew his place in the Church and in God's plan. He knew he was a sinner and that his salvation would come only through accepting the grace of Christ in a life of penance, prayer, humility, and obedience. It is telling that the very first pledge in the rule of the Franciscan Order is obedience. The prologue of the Earlier Rule promised that Francis and all his followers would obey and revere the pope, and the first chapter of the "Later Rule," issued by Pope Honorius III as a papal bull on November 29 , 1223 , also highlights obedience to and reverence for the pope.    [9 words apart]
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Immediately after Pope Francis's election, I was asked the same questions by a local media correspondent: why " Pope Francis" and which Francis? Of course, my response was mere speculation, but I said that the pope might well be thinking of Francis of Assisi because he is so well - known, he loved the poor and marginalized, and he was a man who stood for peace and harmony in a time of conflict and social unrest. Perhaps many others had the same sense of the pope's choice, even before he himself explained it. Above all, the pope is the vicar -- that is, the representative -- of Christ, and if a pope has to choose any saint who represented and reflected Jesus Christ, Francis of Assisi is certainly a worthy choice.    [11 words apart]
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It may appear that St. Bonaventure's account exhibits some of the exaggeration of popular hagiography. Even if this is so, can anyone doubt that St. Francis was anointed in a particularly powerful manner for the renewal of the Church, even though he was an ordinary Catholic in many respects? Francis's primary response to the Holy Spirit was to seek to live fully the teaching of the Catholic Church and the Word {page_156} of God in Sacred Scripture, which is the heart and primary source of the Church's teaching. This resulted in Francis's being used and anointed powerfully by God for the renewal of the Church. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI reflected on this phenomenon in a meditation on St. Francis he wrote in the early 1990s:    [12 words apart]
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