Pope Francis’ pacific revolution. On the fifth anniversary of his election, recently celebrated, let’s see how the Church has changed and if it is changing under the lead of this special man.
‘There is nothing greater and more fruitful than love: it bestows all dignity to the person, while, on the contrary, hatred and vengeance decrease it, marring the beauty of the creature made in God’s image.’
Pope Francis uttered that during the Angelus in Piazza San Pietro on Sunday, February 24 2019. We chose to open our article with that, as we want to commemorate Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s actions who became the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church and Bishop of Rome from March 13 2013. It is also a wish for all of his achievements during these years to keep animating and inspiring the Church.
Pope Francis and Love
It is not by chance that the sentence we chose is about love. Love, and in particular the love God feels towards us, is the core of Pope Francis’ doctrine, who never gets tired of repeating how unique and special it is. The Pope often speaks about what he calls ‘The gratuity of Salvation’. We are so used to hear that Jesus, son of God, descended to Earth for love, to save us, and that he died for us, that we don’t even realize the greatness of such revelation anymore, as if we would be afraid in recognizing it. The Pope invites us to rediscover the mystery of this love every day, a limitless love, and to welcome it with the wonder it deserves.
But not just that. Pope Francis always reminds us that Jesus’ message for us was a message of love, and even more, an example of love for God Father, but also for brothers and sisters: “And for that, Jesus says: ‘The greatest love is this: loving God with all our life, heart, strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves’. Because that’s the only commandment that is worthy of the gratuity of salvation of God. Then Jesus adds: ‘In this commandment are included all of the others, because that one calls all of the others’. But the source is love; the horizon is love. If you closed the door and took the key of love away, you will never be worthy of the gratuity of salvation you received.”
Therefore, it is not possible to separate prayer, the observance of Commandments, that is, love towards God, from the love for your neighbors: “Are we able to recognize God’s face in one another? We cannot separate the religious life from the other.”
Of course, the love Pope Francis talks about is not a love made of only good words, but made of concrete facts. “The true love is concrete, it can be found in works, and it is a constant love. It not just a mere enthusiasm.”
A humble Pope
A Pope that speaks of love, then. Always ready to be humble, to kneel not just before God but also before men. Just think of the time he first showed on the Vatican Balcony on March 13 2013 to salute the crowd that came to praise him in Piazza San Pietro, and he wasn’t wearing any golden and ermine ornaments. Instead of blessing the people, he asked all of the present to bless him. “And now I would like to give the blessing, but first I want to ask you a favor. Before the bishop blesses the people, I ask that you would pray to the Lord to bless me — the prayer of the people for their Bishop. Let us say this prayer — your prayer for me — in silence”. No Pope had ever addressed the crowd with such simplicity.
The way of the Good Shepherd
Pope Francis led then his revolution, humbly and with love, and on such foundation, he has conducted his apostolic program for five years, and each crowd becomes a family. The Church he prophecies is a Church that goes forth, that goes where men are, on the streets of the world.
But how should men of church move? During the Mass celebrated on Monday, October 30 2017 at Santa Marta, the Pope defined that rule, that lifestyle that must come from the heart, as all Jesus actions did. ‘Jesus always shows this way, close. Many times in the Gospel we see that such closeness comes from what Jesus feels in his heart: ‘Jesus was moved’, says a passage of the Gospel, he feels mercy, he comes closer’.
Pope Francis indicates five verbs of closeness that Jesus experienced himself, and that should be an example of life and conduct for shepherds, but in general are valid for everyone: to see, to call, to talk, to touch and to heal. Nice words are not enough, we need to take action and touch those next to us with our own hands, especially if they’re suffering. The good shepherd must be meek and humble of heart, must not be ashamed of touching the wounded flesh, and cannot say: ‘Well yes, that’s fine, yes, I’m close to you in the spirit’.
Love again then, and closeness, presence. Because ‘a good shepherd is close, always’.
Theological studies and communication
Pope Francis put his doctrine of love and humility at the base of a deep reformation in the approach to theological studies, aimed to sustain and promote the spread of his Church that goes forth.
The teaching of theology and doctrine must adapt to modern times, to the needs of the current world, like the language. It is not by chance that Pope Bergoglio wanted to reform the Vatican media as well, promoting initiatives as the documentary movie “A selfie with the Pope”, built thanks to the selfies taken by the faithful with the Pope during his journeys, celebrations and hearings. A Pop Pope, as the Rolling Stones magazine defined him.
Holyart cannot but reserve a special place in its catalog to articles related to Pope Francis, starting from the statues of Sleeping Saint Joseph. We all know that Pope Francis has always been devoted to this particular representation of a sleeping Saint Joseph. ‘On my desk I have a picture of a sleeping Saint Joseph. And while he’s asleep, he takes care of the Church! Yes! He can do that, we know. And anytime I have a problem, a difficulty, I write a little note on a piece of paper and put it under Saint Joseph, so that he can dream about it!’ said the Pope many times. There are also many other devotional objects dedicated to this revolutionary Pope, suitable for any special occasion, for example a First Holy Communion: party Favors, bracelets, rosaries, pictures, key holders with the picture of the Pope and papal cross of the Good Shepherd. Many ways to always remember him and feel him a bit closer every day.