“At the end, we will find ourselves face to face with the infinite beauty of God, and be able to read with admiration and happiness the mystery of the universe, which with us will share in unending plenitude… Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place…In the meantime, we come together to take charge of this home which has been entrusted to us… In union with all creatures, we journey through this land seeking God, for “if the world has a beginning and if it has been created, we must enquire who gave it this beginning, and who was its Creator.”
Finally, Pope Francis reflects the life and ministry of St. Francis in his ability to preach through significant and prophetic gesture. In a recent interview his secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein has observed that this is one of Pope Francis’ greatest strengths. Whether he is embracing a disfigured man, washing the feet of prisoners, choosing to live in the St. Martha’s hostel or visiting a shanty town, Pope Francis shows the gospel in action and so speaks a language without words that crosses cultural and language boundaries to touch millions.
St. Francis is loved by both Catholics and non-Catholics alike because his life too, was one of significant and prophetic action. He was a poet and prophet through the simplicity of his life, the power of his example and the witness of his action. This too has a deeper spiritual significance because at the heart of the Christian message is the truth of the incarnation: that God himself revealed his truth not primarily through a book or a speech, but through a historical person. Jesus Christ was God’s significant gesture—the Word made flesh.
St. Francis lived these three principles and through the miracle of a church which is ever ancient and ever new, Pope Francis brings alive today at the beginning of the 21st century the truths brought to life by Francis of Assisi nearly 800 years ago.
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