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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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The wisdom of Pope Francis in honor of his visit to the United States

The wisdom of Pope Francis in honor of his visit to the United States

In honor of Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States this week, I am dedicating this column to him. I have taken the following quotations from Pope Francis’ writings and talks.

This first quote is what the Pontiff says about himself. “If I’m not mistaken, Sigmund Freud said that in every idealization there’s aggression. Depicting the Pope as a sort of Superman, a star, is offensive to me. The Pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps calmly and has friends like everyone else – a normal person.”

Following that line of thinking, the Pope says holiness is for everyone.

“We need saints without cassocks, without veils. We need saints with jeans and tennis shoes. We need saints that go to the movies that listen to music, that hang out with their friends. We need saints that drink Coca-Cola, that eat hot dogs, that surf the internet and that listen to their iPods. We need saints that love the Eucharist, that are not afraid or embarrassed to eat a pizza or drink a beer with their friends. We need saints who love the movies, dance, sports, theater. We need saints that are open, sociable, normal, happy companions. We need saints who are in this world who know how to enjoy the best in this world without being callous or mundane. We need saints.”

“This is the struggle of every person: to be free or to be a slave.” So many people today have become slaves to drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, food, material possessions, the latest fad, etc. that they are no longer free. God wants to free us. Just ask for the grace to put God first.

This quotation is good to remember during this election year when politicians use so many sound bites. “Where there is truth, there is also light, but do not confuse light with the flash.”

God’s mercy is the theme of the Holy Year that will begin on December 8.

“God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.”

We should never give up on anyone. “Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs, or anything else – God is in this person’s life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life. Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.”

We all need to grow. “No one can grow if they do not accept their smallness.”

Disciples of Jesus need to reach out to others. “Before all else, the Gospel invites us to respond to the God of love who saves us, to see God in others and to go forth from ourselves to seek the good of others.”

Once we reach out to others, we experience the happiness and joy that we all seek. “And here the first word that I wish to say to you: joy! Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! Never give way to discouragement! Ours is not a joy born of having many possessions, but of having encountered a Person: Jesus, in our midst.”

The Holy Father wants us to protect human life in all its forms. “It is not ‘progressive’ to try to resolve problems by eliminating a human life.”

Both men and women reflect God’s image. “God’s image is the married couple, a man and women, together. Not just the man. Not just the woman. No, both of them. That’s God’s image.”

The Pope on the media: “The media only writes about the sinners and the scandals but that’s normal, because a tree that falls makes more noise than a forest that grows.”