At this point, most of us have read a lot of commentary about the Pope Francis interview, predominantly focused on a portion of the interview in which there are some mentions of abortion, gay marriage, and contraception. The US media grabbed some quotes and gave some misleading reports on the interview. I highly recommend reading the original interview. Look at what our Holy Father is saying in context. Much is advice for pastors and bishops. There is an explanation about his leadership style and his unique situation as a Jesuit pope. But there is much for lay Catholics to glean, as well. As a Catholic American mom, here’s what I took as key for me:
- Never forget that God calls me, a sinner, to Him and any holiness, purity, goodness inside me is a gift from Him, alone. Sometimes, when I reflect about the unfathomable love I know God gives freely to me, I risk feeling special in a way that makes me feel superior to my brother. It’s so easy to sin. God wants each soul, rich, poor, saint, sinner for His own. He loves each one and if I want to love Him back, I need to try to love each person as He loves. Each person, no matter how serious the sin, is a potential saint.
- Move forward. Getting hung up on my sins or feeling helpless about God’s ability to move me forward is not a Christian attitude. I need to live confident in God’s healing and mercy for me and for others, especially those living with very serious sin or confusion. Where ever we are, we are not yet where we need to be. We are all on a journey and we can all move forward from where we are.
- Put the Gospel Message first! When we are called to defend the Church, witness to our faith, or explain Church teaching, we need to be educated so we can provide accurate information and arguments, but we must always start with and end with the Gospel message: God loves you. God loves you and He wants you to be happy with Him forever! God came to this world and suffered and died so you could be with Him. I need to work on this. A lot. Somehow, I know this is as important for me as for those He wishes to reach through me.
- Love. Not hugs and rainbows, feel-good love. Not consuming, selfish, obsessive love. Selfless, aching, powerful, life-changing, I’d-die-for-you Love with a capital L. The kind of love we puny humans best associate with our kids or, if we’re lucky, our spouse. Don’t do anything without it.
Please read it. And if you have, tell me what challenged you.
Copyright 2013 Kate Daneluk