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A St. Francis Blessing

By Mike Mccauley on
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Feb 10 in Musings
Some months back a friend dropped off a small package for me. Inspired by my office bookshelf full of comedic religious junk items, she gave me an 8-inch doll of Pope Francis, dressed in a white robe and wearing glasses. But this isn’t just ANY doll. The base has a small solar panel which moves the doll’s right hand back and forth in a papal blessing when the sun hits it (for the record, similar solar dolls of Einstein, Napoleon and Queen Elizabeth-and her corgi- are available).
I propped Francis on the window sill facing east, near where I sit to read or journal. Usually I’m in the office before the sun comes up, and Francis doesn’t move a muscle.  As it gets light out, his right hand acquires a small tremor. And by the time the sun is up, Francis is enthusiastically offering a full blessing. My office, the FPCH campus, the 101 freeway, the local neighborhood, the Scientology Celebrity Center and the folks exiting from the shelter are direct recipients.

The real Francis is a very different kind of pope, elected nearly four years ago now. He is a Jesuit from Argentina- the first from that Catholic order to be pope, and the first from the southern hemisphere. He has perplexed many people with his strong commitment to simplicity and hands-on ministry. He has worked tirelessly against poverty and consumerism, washed the feet of prisoners, written on the need to care for God’s creation and admonished world leaders to provide for refugees and oppressed people.

In an early discussion with cardinals at the Vatican, he detailed the mission of all Christians: “to bring Jesus Christ to humanity, and to lead humanity to an encounter with Jesus Christ: the Way, the Truth, and the Life, truly present in the Church and, at the same time, in every person. This encounter makes us become new men in the mystery of grace, provoking in our hearts the Christian joy that is a hundredfold, that is given us by Christ to those who welcome Him into their lives.”

Pope Francis has people who disagree with him at every turn. He is, after all, a human being who does not get everything right. But he seems to be wise, kind and authentic. He also seems to understand the Church: "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 profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord, we are worldly.”

That little doll in the window, given to me for fun, has become a prized possession. Honestly- with all the hard news and painful situations in our world- who wouldn’t welcome continual blessing in the name of Jesus?  I’ll take all I can get.  And hope I learn to pass on what I receive.         
            See you soon
                        Pastor Dan

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