Saturday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Our third theme from Pope Francis is that of the person. I was struck after his election as Pope that for Francis, Jesus and Mary are real, living people. This might not seem a particularly revealing insight, except when we consider our own tendency to turn God and the saints into ideas or models and to turn prayer into an exercise in self-mastery and control. As much as we don’t like to admit it, we are more comfortable with laws of nature than we with people. People are much harder to control. Yet people are precisely the highest expression of our world. God Himself is tri-personal and invites us into a personal relationship.
While some have been either exhilarated or troubled by what Pope Francis did or did not say about moral issues or church law, it seems that many needless arguments could be avoided simply by reading all he says in light of the person. All that we do and all that we say are directed toward persons, persons infinitely loved by the God who created them. It is not so much a matter of radically altering the teaching of the Church as it is understanding that all teaching is directed toward persons and is best communicated by persons.
Thus we can bring together the three themes of prophesy, prayer, and persons in what Pope Francis offered the world in his interview. The prophet communicates to persons what they need to hear in order to be drawn more closely to God who is their life. But prophets are not of their own making. Prophets are formed in the school of prayer, for it is precisely there that they meet the personal God who loves them and teaches them the proper way to seek out the lost, bringing them back to the web of personal relations which is life in the Church.