Blog # 424 Exhortation of Pope Francis
I just finished reading the exhortation published a year ago by Pope Francis entitled The Joy of the Gospel. As I put the book down I prayed again a prayer of thanks I have prayed many times since the conclave of Cardinals from around the world chose Francis as our current Pope. The book is thoroughly what it claims to be, an exhortation or plea to the entire Church membership in our current moment of history. Francis is obviously well aware of the seriousness, challenges, and difficulties involved in the task that has been given him. Yet he is also obviously confident in God's presence among us and the legitimate hope we have for a successful realization of God's plan for today's world if we work together as a world-wide family of Catholic believers.
Throughout the book I felt Francis was humbly sharing his own story as one of us. It was almost as though he were in the same room with me, just sitting in a different chair. I heard his concern that we keep ourselves aware of the salvation of all people as a primary agenda of the Church with Jesus as always and in all that we do in evidence as the sole Savior of all, with salvation identified in the joy and peace that comes in this world as well as the world to come beyond the grave.
Everyone counts. No one came into existence without God willing it. We have to learn to listen to others, especially the poor, and appreciate the stories of those who do not see things as we do. We have to be worthy to help them by cultivating within ourselves the attitude of Jesus and the love He has for all. Aware of our union with Jesus through faith and Baptism, sharing His life and His love in all that we do, we need not be afraid. (Col. 3: 17).