“Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons …”

2013 Pope Francis embracing, blessing, and kissing a man with a skin diseaseOn so many levels this story and the accompanying picture has challenged me and others to wonder about our own ministry and our willingness to embrace “Christ in distressing disguise” (a saying of Mother Teresa of Calcutta)

Are you among the ones challenged by the example of Francis, Bishop of Rome?

Fr. James Martin, SJ, succinctly writes about why this example so moves us. Read his essay Why the Pope’s embrace of the disfigured man is so powerful on CNN.


Image: La Stampa Media

Wind Chimes: 19 Mar 2013

Earth image
“To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope….” –Pope Francis

In his own words

being a protector … means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world … It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. –Francis, Bishop of Rome

Today at a Mass celebrating the start of his ministry as Pope Francis I, the new pope addressed those gathered with words remembering St. Joseph as a ‘protector’ of Jesus and Mary (and in later centuries, a protector of the Church). These words especially give me hope:

The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!

The entire homily (translated) is here: The real power of the pope is to serve the most vulnerable in La Stampa (an Italian newspaper).

DivLine360x12 The chimes sound both tender and strong today.
What do you hear? Please leave a comment.

I mean to be one too

What hymns or songs or music help you “have the mind of Christ” that the Apostle wants you to have? (Philippians 2:1-13) It doesn’t even have to be “sacred music” that inspires you. Where does this question (and invitation to share) come from?

In yesterday’s Forum (9/25/11) we listened to Paul: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 2:3-5) We listened to the Spirit and we listened to each other. We wondered:

How do you do know the mind of Christ? How do you live with the mind (intentionality) of Christ?

Among the answers, affirming what Paul says—“it is God who is at work in you” (v. 13)—we agreed to a person that we know the mind of Christ and we live revealing Christ, by the grace of God: grace encountered in prayer and worship, grace encountered in serving others for the love of God, grace encountered in personal and communal study like this one.

Paul, according to most biblical scholars, quotes from a hymn (vv. 6-11) to help his readers understand “the mind of Christ.” In the next few days I will share some of the hymns that help me understand the mind of Christ and help me renew my dedication to live my life with the mind of Christ.

I invite you to share hymns and songs and even music—from ancient to contemporary, secular or sacred—that help you know the mind of Christ and act with the mind of Christ.

Today’s hymn for me: “I sing a song of the saints of God” (Hymn 293 in the Episcopal Hymnal 1982). Playful, an easy melody (for me), a celebration recalling that “the saints of God are just folk like me,” and a grace-filled dedication to send me on— “and I mean to be one too” —make this one of my favorites and puts me in mind of the Apostle’s teaching.

I sing a song of the saints of God,
patient and brave and true,
who toiled and fought and lived and died
for the Lord they loved and knew.
And one was a doctor, and one was a queen,
and one was a shepherdess on the green:
they were all of them saints of God and I mean,
God helping, to be one too.

They loved their Lord so dear, so dear,
and his love made them strong;
and they followed the right, for Jesus’ sake,
the whole of their good lives long.
And one was a soldier, and one was a priest,
and one was slain by a fierce wild beast;
and there’s not any reason no, not the least,
why I shouldn’t be one too.

They lived not only in ages past,
there are hundreds of thousands still,
the world is bright with the joyous saints
who love to do Jesus’ will.
You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea,
in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea,
for the saints of God are just folk like me,
and I mean to be one too.

Words:        Lesbia Scott (1898–1986), alt.
Music:        Grand Isle, John Henry Hopkins (1861–1945)