I am a writer, artist, and homeschooling mom. Here you will find musings on life, readings, and a relationship with God. To add a RSS feed to this blog, go to http://feeds.feedburner.com/SpiritualWoman
by Msgr. Charles M. Murphy
Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2014
A funny thing happened as Msgr. Charles M. Murphy was
putting the finishing touches on a manuscript about St. Francis and how he
could be a role model for the new evangelization: Jorge Mario Bergoglio of
Argentina was elected to lead the Catholic Church and took the name of Francis
to be his own. While the Monsignor needed to update his book, Reclaiming Francis, he was far from
disappointed. He writes, “I prefer to think that this was not really a
coincidence but rather a shared vision of how the Church can be renewed and how
people today can be helped to find faith once again.”
In explaining why he chose the name, Pope Francis stated, “For
me, he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects
creation.” All three of these aspects are desperately needed in our world.
Monsignor Murphy offers a short biography of the man Christ asked to “repair my
house for it is falling down.” Francis who embraced Lady Poverty with all he
had soon attracted followers to his austere lifestyle. His life offers a
reminder to the Church and the world that we need to emphasize human beings
rather than the “cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is
faceless and lacking any human goal.”
While the quote “Preach the Gospel Always. If Necessary, Use
Words” is often attributed to St. Francis, there is no doubt that his life
embodied that concept. His preaching had power “because he prioritized prayer
and embodied witness over preaching.” Both St. Francis and Pope Francis
emphasize the cross in their preaching and the need to join Christ by carrying
one’s own. However, they also have an innate joy that makes people want to
listen to them because they have personally renunciated worldly goods. They both
keep prayer, fasting and penance, and charity at the center of their message.
For those of us who want to be an active part of the new
evangelization, reaching out to those who have drifted away from the faith, our
mission must have three parts. First, we must have the example of personal
witness.We must live the Gospel “in all
its novelty and challenge.” Second, we must follow the commandment to love God
and neighbor.Third, we must transform
the places in which we live and work. That is where our influence lies.
Monsignor Murphy offers much to think about in Reclaiming Francis. The spirit of St.
Francis, always alive and important in the story of the Catholic Church, is
gaining renewed focus in light of the name and example of our current pontiff.
As he continues to challenge the Church to return to its roots as a Church for
the poor, we can change our own lives to regain focus on the example of Christ
and what really matters in this sojourn on earth.