Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Theme 1: Journeying with Pope Francis

Pope Francis is a man of prayer, whose actions and words seem to be guided by the Holy Spirit. Let us follow his lead in listening to the promptings of the Spirit in our own hearts.

Suggested ways to use the following prayer-helps:
  1. These helps are like items on a buffet menu. Use what is helpful; no need to “take in” the rest.
  2. Ask for the grace to listen and be guided by the Spirit.
  3. Pause where you are struck, either in a consoling or challenging way, and pay attention to the feelings and inner movements that are being stirred within you.
  4. Speak to God, as with a friend, about what is happening within you.
  5. Listen to what God may express to you (not so much with words, more often through your imagination, intuition, desires, awareness, etc…)
  6. Savor. Relish. Remain where you are drawn. No need to rush through.
Prompts for Reflection

And now let us begin this journey, [together] as bishop and people.These are Pope’s first words in St Peter’s Square following an affectionate buon giorno! greeting. He begins by where Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI left off. Benedict XVI’s last words as Pope were: “I am no longer [Pope], now I am just a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth.” Pope Francis’ first words mark an invitation, continuing where his predecessor left off. He invites all of us to “a journey of fraternity, of love, of trust among us.” On the balcony, he meets everyone as a fellow pilgrim, wearing a simple white cassock instead of an ermine-rimmed red-velvet cape. Asking his flock to pray a blessing over him betrays the mindset of a pilgrim. He finishes his first words, entreating everyone to “always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world, that there may be a great spirit of fraternity. It is my hope for you that this journey of the Church, which we start today, will be fruitful for the evangelization of this most beautiful city.” Pope Francis invites us to journey with him as fellow pilgrims, in need of blessings, needing to pray, to depend on God, on the way. Read more about being a pilgrim… 

St. Ignatius of Loyola saw himself as a pilgrim. His life was that way—full of journeys as a wandering pilgrim, full of changes in direction, full of unforeseen developments.  He was courtier and soldier knocked off his career path by a cannon ball; pilgrim to the Holy Land thankfully ushered out of Jerusalem by some very wise Franciscans; wandering lay spiritual friend, derailed by the inquisition; priest intent on returning to the Holy Land with his new friends, blockaded by pirates.  His was not a life planned out for success from kindergarten to retirement. On the way, he gradually learned to trust God bringing about what is best, even though he does not understand or is afraid. Read more about Ignatius the pilgrim or see a creative presentation of his life story

Does anything you read in the above paragraphs strike you in a consoling or challenging way? Use suggestions #4-6 above to help you ponder and listen deeper.

Points for Prayer

Use any familiar way of praying that helps you listen or be present more. Try these two forms of Ignatian prayer using the following passages:

Mt 15:28 – Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.

Jn 1:35-39 –The first disciples responded to Jesus' invitation to “Come and see.” And they stayed with him the whole day, enjoying his company. Let Jesus enjoy you.

Is 55:6-13 – “Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near …”

Actions to Consider

+Pray the Our Father slowly, letting each phrase or word sink in
+Take a leisurely hike in nature
+ Go on a 20 minute “Following Your Senses” Walk
+ The tourist demands; the pilgrim thanks. Am I walking this day with an attitude of a pilgrim or that of a tourist?


Visit this Vatican site for the latest publication of the Pope’s homilies, addresses, and speeches, usually translated in English a day after the event.

Rocco Palmo’s Whispers in the Loggia Blog is a gem of Catholic chronicle.

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