Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pope Francis Visits and In Doing So Blesses Us

September 26, 2015  QUOTATION OF THE DAY

"In big cities, beneath the roar of traffic, beneath the rapid pace of change, so many faces pass by unnoticed because they have no 'right' to be there, no right to be part of the city."
POPE FRANCIS, in a Mass before 20,000 at Madison Square Garden, reminding New Yorkers to watch for a glimpse of the presence of God among the poorest of the poor.

I'm what is known in this country as a fallen away Catholic. However, I might just go back if the church begins acting on the words and deeds Pope Frances shared with us during his visit to the USAmerica. The quote above resonates with facts of today's society but also reminds me of the picture of Jesus knocking on a door asking to be let in. The Catholic faith of the past was more about helping others. Later, it became entangled with the politics of controlling the behaviors of women's needs for contraception, an occasional abortion, health care for poor women. Tied to the Republican Party of today, the Catholic Church has broken laws concerning abuse of children, sometimes abuse of women by having them return to husbands as their marital duty, and control of women's bodies via laws restricting contraception and/or abortions or pills that would prevent a pregnancy. There are sound theological reasons that underlie the Church's stance but then in doing so, the Church forgets the homeless, the faces of "the other" that are so frequently attacked by the "peace keepers" of the cities which labels them as having no right to be in some parts of any city. To me this is shameful and unfortunately has kept me away from supporting a church that has veered so far away from Jesus.

Like the Jesus I learned about, I'm an only child, and since I was a child, I claimed him as my brother. As an adult, I now understand that all people are my brethren--brothers and sisters. Much of this understanding came from the fine sisters who taught me. Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart, were the best teachers of the Christianity that the Catholic church taught in the past. They spoke of love and mercy and not of an authoritarian god that would flog those who dissented from Catholicism. The reason I think stems from the humility of these nuns. The kindness they indulged us with. In fact, they lived the faith they taught during religion class.I'll stop here because I could go on forever about their many kindnesses and occasional mistakes for after all aren't we all human?

When speaking during Mass for the New Yorkers at Madison Square Garden, Pope Francis reminded all of us to see God in all the people, even those who are homeless, hungry, jobless etc. For it is a duty that we care for one another and not just the ones that look more like the people in power--white. In our country status and money help some get accepted even if they are not wealthy. But even here our beloved President and his beautiful family have had to endure some nasty attacks.  Pope Francis reminds us that we are all of us God's children and should love one another as such.

I never had sibling, so I never understood that brothers and sisters fight amongst themselves. I think Pope Francis has forgotten that because I fear some of those in Congress are too tone deaf to truly listen to him and act upon his words..

So far he spoke to our tone deaf Congress, was embraced by a true ally, our President of the USAmerican states, and some of us feel that his words moved John Boehner to consider the faith he's followed all these years in the way it was taught all those years ago. The Golden Rule is not a new concept. We learned it in grade school if not in our school yards or playgrounds. Yesterday, Pope Francis reminded us that we are here not solely for money, power etc. Politicians are to do work for their people. This is something the people haven't felt for a long time. As soon as John Boehner's handkerchief came out to blot his eyes, I felt he might be receiving some sort of an inspiration. And though many people may feel badly for his "failure" to lead his tea party congresspeople, I see the obstacle as an opportunity for Mr. Boehner to follow another path that will help his physical health and perhaps enhance his spiritual life.

For months now, I've listened to what Pope Francis says. I hope his words become the healing balm all or our souls need. There are some things missing from Francis' speeches that I feel are in line with Christ's teachings of love and mercy. The term AGAPE which to me means unconditional love needs to be placed on the forefront of his discussions. There are many of my brothers and sisters who's sexual orientation is not male to female. Yet they deserve love and inclusion along with God's love and mercy.  He is telling priests to forgive women who confess to having had an abortion.  That is a great step, but how about rethinking the concept of contraception? Good contraception prevents abortions.

I will continue to listen to Pope Francis in hopes that he is able to cure the conservative Bishops and Cardinals in USAmerica to behave more Godly--that is to show more love and mercy to the people they serve and to leave the political actions they've enjoined before the entire church is left behind. People today more than ever need mercy and love. If we can't get it at our churches where shall we go. Life in this prosperous country is very hard and in order to physically survive many hard choices are made for the good of our families. When the church steps in to help and not hurt I'll be willing to reconsider my own actions as they concern the Catholic Church.
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