I hope the excitement about the Pope takes a while to die down. I love that the secular media is giving it a lot of attention. It makes me so proud and hopeful about the future of our Church. Saturday morning Pope Francis spoke to a group of journalists and thanked them for the work they do. He continued on to explain why he chose the name Francis:
“On the election day I had next to me the Archbishop emeritus of Sao Paolo and the prefect emeritus of the Congregation of the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, a great friend,” he said.
“When the voting resulted in the election of the Pope, he hugged me, he kissed me and he told me ‘do not forget the poor,’” said the Pope.
He explained that the words “the poor” remained stuck in his head and he suddenly thought of Saint Francis of Assisi.
“Man of poverty, man of peace, man who loves and guards the Creator,” said Pope Francis.
“And in these times we don’t have a good relation with the Creator, right?” he asked the crowd.
He explained that it is the poor man who gives “a spirit of peace.”
“Oh how I would like a poor Church and for the poor!” he remarked.
A poor Church for the poor…. but how can a poor Church adequately help those in need? I’m going to go ahead and assume Pope Francis meant a spiritually poor Church. To be spiritually poor means simply to detach ourselves from worldly things; to put our trust in the Lord and not find consolation in the abundance of goods. Easier said than done, in this consumer oriented society.
In my head, a poor Church would be one who uses resources wisely, one who embraces the cross fully, one who recognizes the mistakes made, but most of all one who renews their mission to help the poor. Wait a minute, aren’t we the Church? Is Jesus not the head and we the body? Yes, we are the Church and it is us who must renew our mission to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and visit the imprisoned. It was St. Rose of Lima who said, ” When we serve the poor and the sick, we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus.”
This is indeed and exciting time for the Church but, just as Cardinal Claudio Hummes said to Pope Francis, let’s not forget about the poor.