Monday, March 18, 2013

The Cross and Mercy

This past Sunday I quoted from the two homilies that Pope Francis has given since the beginning of his pontificate.  There were two main themes that I think speak of the future of his time in the Chair of St. Peter:  The Cross and Mercy.  Here are some pertinent quotes:

From the homily during the mass closing the conclave. After setting up the three 'themes' of the readings as "Walking", "Builiding" and "Professing"  he says:

We can walk as much as we want, we can build many things, but if we do not profess Jesus Christ, things go wrong. We may become a charitable NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of the Lord. When we are not walking, we stop moving. When we are not building on the stones, what happens? The same thing that happens to children on the beach when they build sandcastles: everything is swept away, there is no solidity. When we do not profess Jesus Christ, the saying of Léon Bloy comes to mind: "Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil." When we do not profess Jesus Christ, we profess the worldliness of the devil, a demonic worldliness.

This already is a great statement by the Pope.  We must profess "Jesus Christ as Lord to the Glory of God the Father" . . . But it is the second movement of his homily that brings to the forefront the difficulty of the Christian Way - it is hard because it is the Way of the Cross:

This Gospel continues with a situation of a particular kind. The same Peter who professed Jesus Christ, now says to him: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. I will follow you, but let us not speak of the Cross. That has nothing to do with it. I will follow you on other terms, but without the Cross. When we journey without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord, we are worldly: we may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord.

So the Pope's first word is the Cross.
For the full text go here:

In His homily to the Vatican workers at St. Ann's parish in the Vatican the pope had a second theme:  Mercy.

In speaking about the story of the woman caught in adultery, Jesus presents what the Pope considers His most important message:  Mercy.

E il messaggio di Gesù è quello: la misericordia. Per me, lo dico umilmente, è il messaggio più forte del Signore: la misericordia. (My translation:  and the message of Jesus is this:  Mercy.  For me, I say lastly, it is the strongest message of the Lord:  Mercy.)

Non è facile affidarsi alla misericordia di Dio, perché quello è un abisso incomprensibile. Ma dobbiamo farlo! “Oh, padre, se lei conoscesse la mia vita, non mi parlerebbe così!”. “Perché?, cosa hai fatto?”. “Oh, ne ho fatte di grosse!”. “Meglio! Vai da Gesù: a Lui piace se gli racconti queste cose!”. (My translation:  It is not easy to entrust oneself to the mercy of God, because it is an incomprehensible abyss.  But we must do it!  "Oh, father, if you only knew my life, you would not talk to me like that!"  "Why?", "What have you done?" "Oh, I have done big things!" "Even better! Go to Jesus;  He loves when you tell Him these things!")

Torniamo al Signore. Il Signore mai si stanca di perdonare: mai! Siamo noi che ci stanchiamo di chiedergli perdono. E chiediamo la grazia di non stancarci di chiedere perdono, perché Lui mai si stanca di perdonare. (My translation: Let us return to the Lord.  The Lord never gets tired of pardoning: never!  It is us who tire of asking His pardon.  We ask for the grace to not get tired of asking pardon, because He never tires of pardoning.)
For the complete text in Italian go here.

The first word is the Cross of Christ, but the second word is Mercy!