Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ: Brief exhortation at the Thanksgiving Mass for the election of Pope Francis
March 22, 2013 2 Comments
by Fr. Tim Ofrasio, SJ
We give thanks to the Lord for having given u a new Supreme Pontiff in the person of the Holy Father Pope Francis. As he begins to carry out the Petrine ministry entrusted to him as successor of St. Peter, he needs our accompaniment through prayers that he may accomplish this urgent task in the Church.
His choice of regnal name, Francis, as he himself revealed, was inspired by the Poverello of Assisi, St. Franics. We know that in his time, St. Francis was tasked by the Lord “to repair (His) Church”—not just the Porziuncula—but the universal Church, which led to foundation of the great Franciscan Order.
From the very beginning of his pontificate, the Holy Father Pope Francis repeatedly stressed two things: being rooted in Christ poor and suffering, and humble service to the poor. He seeks to live this out literally as pope, as can be seen in his first acts after his election.
The coming days will not be easy for him, as well as for the Roman curia, for the people around him, and more importantly for all Catholics who look up to him. Many will rejoice at the informal style of his papacy, while some will be alarmed and will have feeling of dread. Already, he has been termed “the unpredictable Pope!” In the midst of all these, it is good to note, as Father Thomas Reese observes, that Pope Francis brings with him to the papacy the Jesuit spirituality that unites a person with Christ in his mission of preaching the Gospel and building the kingdom of God, a kingdom of love, of justice, and of peace. In the First Week of the Spiritual Exercise of St. Ignatius, the retreatant experiences the mercy of God, a theme Pope Francis has repeatedly stressed during his first week as Bishop of Rome. After experiencing God’s mercy and love, Jesuit spirituality asks one to be open to the Spirit, which can always surprise us, as indeed Pope Francis has certainly surprised many people. There is also a practical side to Jesuit spirituality, i.e., if one thing does not work, try something else. This will also help him as he faces the daunting tasks before him.
Laudetur Iesus Christus.