Thursday, March 21, 2013

When Pope Francis kissed the disabled man...

The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the
men of this age, especially those who are poor
or in any way afflicted, these are
the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties
of the followers of Christ. - Gaudium et Spes

I was reminded of Jean Vanier.

John Vanier - who is still alive - also embraced voluntary poverty, in a novel way, befriending the stranger; not just taking in the disabled but sharing his life with them - or sharing life together with them.  It's a different expression of poverty.  Living together.

God's ways are not our ways; God's choices are not the choices of society.
God chooses 'the poor, the weak, the needy',
those who recognize their poverty -
not just a material poverty but an inability to cope with life,
a feeling of powerlessness and not knowing what to do.
A mother who just lost a child is poor.
A man whose wife left him is poor.
A man who lost his job is poor.
The man who learns he has cancer is poor.
The - pope - who senses his body is growing older and weaker is poor.
People who are faced with difficult family situations are poor.
The problem is we refuse to admit our weakness, our needs, our poverty
because we are frightened of rejection.
We have been taught to be strong, to be 'the best'. to win in order
to become 'someone'.
Since society tends to marginalize those who are weak
we think that weakness means rejection.
So we try to hide our poverty for as long as we can
and to pretend we are strong;
 - self-sufficient -
we build up an appearance of being in control.
We need to hear that gentle, inner voice of God who tells us:
'You don't need to pretend.
You do not need to hide your weakness.
You can be yourself.
I didn't call you to l'Arche or to another form of community
first of all to help others
or to prove that you were generous or efficient.
I called you because you are poor,
just like the ones you came to serve,
and because the Kingdom of God is promised to the poor.' - Jean Vanier

I think that may be what St. Therese meant when she cried out, "I rejoice to be a little one!"  Or St. Paul when he exclaimed, "I am content with my weakness!"

Some things we just can't fix.  That's another dimension of the 'poverty of spirit'.

+ + +
Say a little prayer...

My God, I believe most firmly that you watch over all who hope in you, and that we can want for nothing when we rely upon you in all things; therefore I am resolved for the future to have no anxieties, and to cast all my cares upon you.

People may deprive me of worldly goods and of honors; sickness may take from me my strength and the means of serving you; I may even lose your grace by sin; but my trust shall never leave me. I will preserve it to the last moment of my life, and the powers of hell shall seek in vain to wrestle it from me.
Let others seek happiness in their wealth, in their talents; let them trust to the purity of their lives, the severity of their mortifications, to the number of their good works, the fervor of their prayers; as for me, O my God, in my very confidence lies all my hope. “For Thou, O Lord, singularly has settled me in hope.” This confidence can never be in vain. “No one has hoped in the Lord and has been confounded.” - Claude De la Colombiere, S.J.




  1. God bless you, Terry.

    And that is an awesome prayer. I pray it often.

  2. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful prayer Terry. I will be praying this prayer tonight before I sleep. Thanks for a very good article. May God bless you. :)

  3. Jean Vanier's work is a great help in deepening the understanding of what it means to be poor, which the Church will need more and more. It seems that, with Pope Francis, the Church is embarking on something great, and unknown to most of the world today.
    I love the prayer too! That's a keeper!

  4. These are excellent posts, excellent in their humility and in the way they point us toward love and service. Thank you, Terry.

  5. I clicked on EWTN last night and saw that clip. It just brought so much joy to my soul and I even teared up a little.

  6. I, too, almost immediately thought of Jean Vanier when I saw the Pope kissing the man with disabilities. I included part of Vanier's meditation on the washing of the feet on a blog post:

  7. Terry, great post. Haven't been here in a while but was drawn by a re-post of this on our Basilian FB page (my beloved and I are first-year Lay Associates). I am about to copy that prayer out and place in in my bible and LoTH.

    P.S. Reflection on your blog header: The End has always been near.

    1. Hi Owen! I miss you. My header is just in fun - I always contemplate ending the blog. Blowin' it up, maybe. :)


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