Every age has its reformers, its moral leaders.
Extraordinary saints have always led the reform, the renewal of the Church in times of crises. St. Francis for example, as the collect for the Feast of the Stigmata says:
O Lord Jesus Christ, Who when the world was growing cold, in order that the hearts of men might burn anew with the fire of Your love, did in the flesh of the most blessed Francis reproduce the stigmata of Your passion: be mindful of his merits and prayers; and in Your mercy vouchsafe to us the grace ever to carry Your cross, and to bring forth worthy fruits of penance.So we see the purpose of holy men and women and the charisms given to them. We think of St. Pio who enkindled such love and devotion in the hearts of the faithful, a simple priest, enclosed in his friary in Italy. Before him, Therese of Lisieux, a cloistered nun who never left the enclosure, but who reached millions of souls in her 'Little Way'. Like Therese - and Francis, the very little, but great Mother Teresa of Calcutta, lived a contemplative life amidst the poorest of the poor, uniting, as it were, the charism of Carmel to that of Francis, alive and active in the streets.
Like these saints, today we have Pope Francis. He combines these spiritual gifts and presents them to the Church and the world. He has captured the hearts of the most simple and re-presents the Gospel in the cross-cultural, understandable language of the heart. In the history of the Church God raised up little ones to lead the way, to reform and renew the faith. However, it seems to me, in our day he has raised a little one to the Chair of Peter to show the way - to lead the way - with authority... albeit refusing to be confined by ancient protocol.
“The Church must be taken into the streets,” he said in the cathedral of Rio de Janeiro July 25.
“This is your protocol for action: the Beatitudes and Matthew 25,” he advised the youth.Don't forget the youth and the aged.
Matthew 25 tells of the separation of the sheep from the goats at the Last Judgement: “I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in.”
“Please, do not water down the faith,” he pleaded. “Stir things up, cause confounding, but do not diminish faith in Jesus Christ.”
Finally, Pope Francis thanked his countrymen for their closeness to him. He lamented that he could not be closer to them.
“At times I feel (encaged) … how ugly it is to be encaged, I would have liked to be closer to you all,” he said, sharing his heart with them.
“Don't forget to make a mess, to disturb complacency. Don't forget the youth and the aged.”
The Pope does not marginalize, does not segregate, does not write off others by expressing confidence in some 'biological solution' or much less, some compromise of Catholic teaching to bring more people 'in'. He doesn't define and confine Catholics to this camp or that camp, to the left or the right.
“We do not let aged people speak, and as for young people – it is the same. They do not have the experience and the dignity of work … Young people must be able to go out and fight for their values,” he urged.
“Care for the two extremes of life,” he taught. As youth must be able to stand up for their values, so must “older people be able to speak out, to transmit their wisdom and knowledge.”
“You must not let yourselves be marginalized. Faith in Christ is not a joke. The only sure way, is the way of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus.”
“Faith in God's Son, who became man and who died for me, must make a mess, must disturb us out of our complacency.” - CNA Pope to Argentine youth.
If the Pope makes us uncomfortable, it is because we have been too comfortable, too self-satisfied, too complacent, too convinced of our own self-righteousness, while looking down on everyone else.