Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Pope and the Paulines -- a match made for heaven!

Pope Francis comes to the United States ...

Courtesy of @CatholicTV

Pauline Family display tables in Philly: waiting to be filled
... And the Pauline Family is there to share the wealth.

    What wealth?  Pope Francis has made it clear that material wealth is not the capital that makes us happy or the grease that oils the machinery of true human goodness.

    The wealth of the Gospel is found in
[P][p]ersons: from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to the disciples, evangelists, fathers, mothers, workers, thinkers, pray-ers, sisters, brothers, and more. And as Sister Anne Flanagan makes clear in her NunBlog, the Paulines will be spreading the gospel bounty throughout the time of Pope's visit in Philadelphia:

Sister Paulamarie sporting her new
button.
"At the convention center, there will be a whole aisle for the institutes of the Pauline Family, and visitors will get a prayer card and a button (all the senior sisters here were solemnly invested with the button as a sign of their commitment to be the Official Prayer Warriors for the event; can I enlist you in the same effort? If there are any buttons left, I will send you one!). The novices will be holding iPads, inviting passers-by to sign up on the spot for our 'Discover Hope' newsletter. Many of our Pauline authors will also be in attendance, either as presenters or participants, and we'll be posting insights from their books on our official social media channels."
Pauline Family display tables in Philly: full to overflowing
    But what of Pope Francis himself? What does he, the first Pope from America, have to say to the northern Americans?  Addressing the bishops of the United States in St. Matthew Cathedral, Washington, D.C., Pope Francis speaks to all of us. Let us listen to his thoughts on this historic occasion:
The heart of the Pope expands to include everyone. To testify to the immensity of God’s love is the heart of the mission entrusted to the Successor of Peter, the Vicar of the One who on the cross embraced the whole of mankind. May no member of Christ’s Body and the American people feel excluded from the Pope’s embrace. 
Courtesy of @CatholicTV
 Wherever the name of Jesus is spoken, may the Pope’s voice also be heard to affirm that: “He is the Savior”! From your great coastal cities to the plains of the Midwest, from the deep South to the far reaches of the West, wherever your people gather in the Eucharistic assembly, may the Pope be not simply a name but a felt presence, sustaining the fervent plea of the Bride: “Come, Lord!”
    Encouraging dialogue and not harshness as the way for bishops to shepherd, Pope Francis cannot help but encourage us--the flock of those bishops--to reject harsh words and to love and respect yes, even our enemies:
... we are promoters of the culture of encounter… Dialogue is our method, not as a shrewd strategy but out of fidelity to the One who never wearies of visiting the marketplace, even at the eleventh hour, to propose his offer of love (Mt 20:1-16). 
The path ahead, then, is dialogue among yourselves, dialogue in your presbyterates, dialogue with lay persons, dialogue with families, dialogue with society. I cannot ever tire of encouraging you to dialogue fearlessly... 
Do not be afraid to set out on that “exodus” which is necessary for all authentic dialogue. Otherwise, we fail to understand the thinking of others, or to realize deep down that the brother or sister we wish to reach and redeem, with the power and the closeness of love, counts more than their positions, distant as they may be from what we hold as true and certain.  
Harsh and divisive language does not befit the tongue of a pastor, it has no place in his heart; although it may momentarily seem to win the day, only the enduring allure of goodness and love remains truly convincing.
    And are we not all pastors, by virtue of our baptism?  Prophets, priests and kings we are. At this moment when the Vicar of Christ is visiting our shores, can we not renew ourselves in loving dialogue?

    To paraphrase Frank Sheed, co-founder of Sheed and Ward Publishers and street corner apologist for the Catholic Evidence Guild:
When you are tempted to put someone in his place, remember that his place is in heaven, at your side in front of the throne of God.
_________________________

Rae Stabosz has been a member of the Association of Pauline Cooperators since 2003. She and Bill Stabosz, her husband of 46 years, have six sons, three daughters, nine grandsons and six granddaughters; they eagerly await the birth of grands #16 & #17. Rae retired in 2007 from the University of Delaware, where she was a technology and media specialist for 27 years. She is co-founder and past president of The Society of Catholic Scholars of Delaware and proprietor, since 2004, of the Pious Ladies Bookmobile.

1 comment:

Sr. Margaret J. Obrovac, FSP said...

Rae, I'm so glad you covered this historic and life-changing (It can be!) event. And I loved the quote of Frank Sheed at the end. Plus the thought that on some level we're all pastors. That was the conviction of Fr. Alberione with respect to the Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd, who came to be known as the "Pastorelle" or "Little Shepherdesses." It communicates a sense of caring responsibility for others, not just for ourselves.