Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Catholic Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome, from Argentina

Your Holiness:

Take courage!

You can do this daunting ministry as Pope Francis with the help of God.

Of course, you know that.

It seems that you rely on God, and trust people.

Your plea for a blessing from the assembly waiting to see you earlier today when you were elected showed volumes of faith grounding your being.

With your head bowed, and, a pause, the people of God prayed with you, for you. 

All of the Church, and more, stood together in solidarity, holy communion.

Then, after that favor was granted by the people waiting in the rain all day, you invited the assembly to pray the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father. . .

Together in simplicity all prayed.

Your simple clarity, smile and ordinary gestures were so engaging and inviting.

In fact, you stared long at the people as they did at you as I like to look at God, and God, I trust is looking long, lovingly at me.

Thank you, Holy Father.

Immediately, the North American media questioned and labeled you a conservative.  Because you are for openness to life in and outside the womb, makes you Catholic.

Back while I was in Saint Mary's College at Orchard Lake, MI., my uncle was angry about the Catholic position on birth control.  He admitted using contraceptives and went to the grave with that reality. 

He struggled with having more than three children.

Another relative is same-gender attracted and living with her partner.  Both know the Catholic position on gay persons engaging sexually.

It seems that these examples show people who ignore Church teaching. They do the best they can, I suppose. I don't know. They search.

The first example was back in the 60s. 

My other relatives said that by the time I would finish divinity school, I would be allowed to marry.

That's thirty-six years ago.

These examples say much. Doctrine doesn't change. And, people have to do what they conclude is far from the ideal.  I'm sure people aim high, however, and consider all options with deep prayer, information, counsel, Biblical teaching and tradition. 

They then act in love, I trust.

Many people struggle with Catholic teaching as you know, I'm sure.

Your presence on public transportation, washing the feet of AIDS patients, and being a simple pastor who once told your priests to baptize a single parent's baby, demonstrate pastoral care.

You ride the bus to work in Argentina, or, you ride your bicycle.  You live in a simple apartment.
What 'reign of God' breaking forth as the prophet Isaiah and Jesus note.

The Church with a heart and a human face.

You illumined it today.

The face of God shines.

You warmed parishioners, among others, today when your were met for the first time by most.

Many who were left in the cold were engaged again, it seems to me.

This is a piece of things, events, bridge-building activity you are about.

Your presence.

A gift to fix and repair.  To call us all to reform.

By example.  Using words only when necessary as Saint Francis suggested with his living limbs and heart.

You will be in my prayers for fruitful ministry.

Somehow, I sense "fresh air" from you.

Gratefully Yours in Christ,

(Father) Lawrence Ventline

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