Dec 17, 2014
Happy Birthday, Pope Francis!
You are a true gift to this world and to our Church. It is through your insistence on love that you have redirected our faith to its original essence. Certainly, we have always known the importance of love. St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians in which he says “You are nothing without love” is the most common reading in weddings. And we all long for love, sometimes sub-consciously and sometimes secretly, because our pride gets in the way.
However, other aspects of the Church’s teachings seemed to have reduced love to mere abstraction. In our efforts to “get everything right,” we came to condemn and judge, and gave in to bitterness. We were often distracted from Christ’s and God’s essential nature and were lost in darkness despite great outward piety. God is love! And whenever we feel love through loving and receiving someone else’s love, we have a sense of God’s much greater and eternal love for each one of us. It is only through love that we come to understand God.
You have reminded us that when we truly love, we accept the other’s brokenness and recognize his pain and struggles. We must strive to see through the veneer of hardened oppositions and recognize our shared humanity. Only then can we extend our hand through the wall of thorns that often separates us and feel solidarity as children of a loving God.