YEAR OF FAITH - “A big heart open to God”

Post date: Oct 1, 2013 8:22:04 AM

A series of interviews took place in August between Pope Francis and Fr Antonio Spadaro, S.J. editor in chief of La Civilta Cattolica. The article was translated into English and published last week in Thinking Faith, the online journal of the British Jesuits. Fr Spadaro begins with a description of the pope’s living quarters: “The setting is simple, austere. The workspace occupied by the desk is small. I am impressed not only by the simplicity of the furniture, but also by the objects in the room....These include an icon of St.Francis, a statue of Our Lady of Lujan, patron saint of Argentina, a crucifix and a statue of St.Joseph sleeping.” The whole article can be downloaded from the internet, but here are a few short extracts.

When he is asked “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” Pope Francis is at first lost for words but, during his reply he talks about the painting by Caravaggio of ‘The Calling of St. Matthew’ and says “... this is me, a sinner on whom the Lord has turned his gaze. And this is what I said when they asked me if I would accept my election as pontiff.” He speaks about the spirituality of St.Ignatius, and how this relates to the government of the church: “... we can always look at the horizon from the position where we are.

That means being able to do the little things of every day with a big heart open to God and to others. That means being able to appreciate the small things inside large horizons, those of the kingdom of God.”

When asked “What does the church need most at this historic moment?” and “What kind of church do you dream of?” Pope Francis replies: “... I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful ...heal the wounds ...And you have to start from the ground up ...... I dream of a church that is a mother and shepherdess. The church’s ministers must be merciful, take responsibility for the people and accompany them like the good Samaritan, who washes, cleans and raises up his neighbour. This is pure Gospel.”

The Year of Faith slot next week will give some further extracts from this thought-provoking article.