December 27, 2014 by eneubauer
If we believe the Holy Spirit has a role in the election of the Pope & if we take seriously the fact that Advent is known as “little Lent” then we ought to take seriously Pope Francis‘ recent Christmas address to the Roman Curia, paragraph by paragraph, and look deep inside to find how it might apply.
Like many of you when I heard what Pope Francis said to the Roman Curia during his annual Christmas address I was surprised at the content but excited to hear what he had to say. As soon as I read the address I quickly realized that his message was not only meant for the Roman Curia but for me & you.
At the end of every paragraph I had to stop because I felt such conviction. Pope Francis reminded me that I suffered from these maladies as well. Hence, as I return to blogging from a hiatus lasting several months I will write a series of posts reflecting on these maladies, how they affect us Catholics (Christians) and share some thoughts regarding solutions to these ills.
The first quote from Pope Francis that stopped me in my tracks was this, “It is good to think of the Roman Curia as a small model of the Church, that is, a body that seeks, seriously and on a daily basis, to be more alive, healthier, more harmonious and more united in itself and with Christ”.
Immediately I was reminded of St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians when he said in chapter 12: 27, “Now you are Christ’s body and individually members of it.” Just as our leaders are called to be “models of the Church” for the Church we too are called to model the Church to our family and the world. We do this by developing (on a daily basis):
- A faith that is “alive” – Seeking daily to grow closer to Christ & His Church through prayer, personal devotional practices and quiet reflection on the state of your relationship with Christ. Yes, we are called to intimacy with Christ.
- A faith that is “healthy” – Regularly exercising our faith through study, conversation / interaction, participation in the Sacraments & regular confession.
- A faith that is “harmonious” – As I read Sacred Scripture I am reminded of the Apostles call to unity within the Body of Christ as a key to a healthy Church. In a polarized culture marked by people’s unwillingness to have a conversation with others who have an opposing opinion, arriving at a place of harmony has become even more difficult. We ought to strive for harmony with Christ, the Church, our family and others within the human community.
What Pope Francis outlined is not easy. For those who have not practiced their faith this challenge may feel a bit out of reach. However, I want to remind you that a deep faith is well within your reach. Our common faith is fun, exciting, engaging and life-fulfilling. I am constantly reminded that we are all learners, so don’t be afraid or embarrassed. Simply come home.
For those who have practiced the faith but spent years just going through the motions without developing intimacy with Christ, my encouragement to you is to simply embrace the babe, swaddled in the manger. For Christ came down from heaven to reveal His desire to have intimacy with His children and Church. Just as a father embraces his children allow Christ to embrace you. Reach out today!
Finally, for those who are on the path but in recent weeks, months or even this year have found themselves stumbling, distracted or exhibited a lack of sincere interest in the journey of faith – return. You may be present physically, exhibit knowledge but lack sincerety and humility of heart. A change in direction is but one, simple step away. Come home and gaze once again at the babe who seeks nothing but a warm embrace of mutual love.
Stay tuned as we take the Pope’s messages to heart this Christmas season.