I was expecting something “more.” I mean, this was the new Pope’s first homily since his election. On Wednesday the world tuned in to see our new Pope Francis. On Thursday we got to hear him preach for the first time.
Pope Francis celebrated holy mass with the Cardinals in the Sistine Chapel on Wednesday and within minutes his homily was made available online.
The entire homily was only 537 words. It lasted less than five minutes. It was short and sweet . . . but it sure wasn’t easy.
There are so many things worthy of mention, but one of the coolest parts about being Catholic has to be the Tradition. We’re a Church built on a 2,000 year old foundation, y’all – with Christ, Himself, as our Founder and “cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:6).
There are a lot of opinions and conspiracy “theories” floating around about the next pope and the papacy, in general, these days. No doubt there is an author somewhere preparing to rewrite history, once again, in a best-seller telling us all about “what’s really happening” behind the closed doors of this papal election.
Now it is time to have all of the cardinals gather for the conclave. The conclave is a secret meeting of all of the College of Cardinals, in which they are locked in a part of the Vatican palace, where all access is walled off except for one door only (which once the cardinals enter is locked from both the outside and inside).
The word “infallible” does not mean that the pope is perfect. It also does not mean that the pope knows everything. Instead, infallibility only applies when the pope speaks about solemn, official teachings on faith and morals, and he can’t ever change, add, or subtract Christian doctrine.
He only helps define or explain what we already believe, and he doesn’t do it on his own. The infallible teachings of the Pope are the result of many years – sometimes hundreds of years – of consultation with the other bishops and theologians of the Church. He is, in effect, voicing the belief of the whole Church.
First, while the prophecy is supposed to have been written down by Saint Malachy in the 12th century, it was never spoken of even once before it surprisingly appeared out of nowhere at the very end of the 16th century. For a prophecy that supposedly predicts the Apocalypse in great detail, that’s an amazing fact! Would a true prophecy really go more than 400 years without being mentioned even a single time? I don’t think so.
Second, while the prophecy proves to be rather accurate about all the popes before the 16th century, it is extremely vague and inaccurate for the popes who came after.
I’ve been to hundreds of youth conferences, camps, and retreats. And rarely one goes by that I don’t hear a men’s or women’s talk that encourage those who are single to spend time waiting, trusting, and praying for their future spouse. Now I know the analogy can get a little weird if we push it too far, so let’s be careful there. But in the same way that a single person who is waiting for a future spouse makes it a good practice to pray for their future spouse, we as a Church should pray for the future pope. We should ask the Lord to protect him, bless him, and make him ready. We should ask the Lord to give us strength, to encourage us in the interregnum (the time between popes), and to make us a more loving and faithful Church under the care of the next pope.
For me, it took my mind wondering and asking what my next pope would be like to realize how important it was to be praying for him every day.
Just as his predecessor Blessed Pope John Paul II had done with teaching us all how to die with dignity. Pope Benedict XVI has given the Church a new expression of fully living the Paschal Mystery – that of dying and rising with Christ. It is an amazing example of putting everyone else in front of you in line, so that all humanity can be served. This Pope’s decision was “fearless.”
Each of the three was given a special role in the Church. Peter was the “rock” on which Jesus would build His Church (Matthew 16:18-19). As every group needs a leader, someone to cast the deciding vote, so did the apostles and the bishops. Simon Peter, the fisherman, rose to the occasion. In his line are popes who become saints and popes who were less than saintly; yet every pope was given special authority by God to guide the Church for a time.
I believe that Pope John Paul II was one of the greatest Popes to have ever served the Church. History has shown him to be a man who can be all things to all people. He was an athlete, an actor, a writer, a priest, a bishop, an activist and most of all a follower of Christ . . . In terms of leadership and bravery, William Wallace has nothing on this guy. During the years of Pope John Paul II’s service to the Church, he encountered many things that would make the average person run and hide.
I want to begin by letting you know that I don’t know much about you. I don’t listen to your music. I don’t know your background, and I even had to look up how to spell your name. I think you performed at the Super Bowl this year, but last night, watching the Grammy’s, was probably my first real introduction to you. And if it’s important to make a good first impression, with me, you failed.
To say that I was offended by your performance is an understatement, and I really don’t want to go back and re-live it again, so I’m not going to get into any specifics. What I do want you to know is something all of us Catholics believe.
Editor’s Note: While there are many reflections, testimonies, and stories about the tragedies that occurred on 9/11/2001, we wanted to share with you a prayer. This special prayer occurred when Pope Benedict XVI visited the United States. His time spent at Ground Zero in New York City helped bring healing to the people of New York, as well as Catholics world-wide. As you reflect upon the events of 9/11, take time to pray with the Holy Father to pray for peace among our world.
If you abide in the love of Christ, rooted in the faith, you will encounter, even amid setbacks and suffering, the source of true happiness and joy. Faith does not run counter to your highest ideals; on the contrary, it elevates and perfects those ideals. Dear young people, do not be satisfied with anything less than Truth and Love, do not be content with anything less than Christ.
Why are you here, you young people of the nineties and of the twentieth century? Do you feel perchance within yourselves “the spirit of this world”? Have you not perhaps come here — I ask you again — to convince yourselves once and for all that to be great means to serve? This service is certainly not mere humanitarian sentimentality. Nor is the community of the disciples of Christ a volunteer agency or social help group. Such a concept of service would imply stooping to the level of the “spirit Read more [...]
“Why do your disciples not fast?” Jesus answered: “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast” (Mt 9:15) Why fasting? It is necessary to give this question a wider and deeper answer, in order to clarify the relationship between fasting and “metanoia”, that is, that spiritual change which brings man closer to God. Food and drink are indispensable for man to live, he uses them and Read more [...]
During the month of April, we wanted to help you dive a little deeper into Lent as well as highlight some of Pope John Paul II writings in preparation for his beatification on May 1. Make sure to share them with your friends.