My favorite place in Italy is Assisi, the home of Saint Francis. I was there on Saturday with some friends and – as always – had a wonderful time.
As we visited the places where Saint Francis lived and talked about his life, Pope Francis kept coming to mind.
One of the big dilemmas in Saint Francis’ life was whether he should spend his life only in prayer, or also preach to the people. He asked his friends brother Sylvester and Saint Clare what they thought, and both replied that “God has not chosen you for yourself, but to help others, so you must go throughout the world preaching about Him.”
Pope Francis has been saying mass every day for different groups of people and preaching to them. I love reading accounts of these 2-minute homilies of his. While he could have chosen to just say mass for his friends, Pope Francis is going out of his way to connect with people.
They say that the preaching of Saint Francis was so powerful, that one time a whole town wanted to leave everything and follow in his footsteps. Pope Francis is a powerful preacher as well. His Regina Caeli address yesterday was probably the most fun-filled one I’ve ever listened to. He had the crowd answering his questions, and when they didn’t give an answer, he’d say, “I can’t hear you!” and they’d roar back at him.
He also has his own style of problem-solving that reminds me of Saint Francis. When there’s a problem, Pope Francis doesn’t tell his aids to gather data or talk to people. He himself picks up the phone, calls the people involved and asks for their point of view, and then he makes the decision.
All this is to show that Pope Francis chose the right name! It’s who he is.
If you ever have a chance to come to Italy, I recommend spending a day or two in Assisi. It will be well worth your time. Every time I go, I receive some special grace – a little encouragement or a little light on the path of my life. Just try it, you will too!
God bless you,Brother Kevin