Saturday, December 13, 2014

Peace and the two Francis

In a month's time, Pope Francis, the charismatic head of the Roman Catholic Church will be visiting the Philippines, a country with around 80% of its population or roughly 75 million professing to have "Roman Catholicism" as their religion. Like the saint from whom he got his name, St. Francis of Assisi, the Pope is said to be pro-poor. He would rather spend time with the poor of the Yolanda-stricken Leyte than hobnob with the rich of Manila (who he said can go and visit him in Rome) although he will spending most of his time there as scheduled by his organizers. Nevertheless, Filipinos are excited about his visit even if most will just be able to see him on television. He is seen to be a whiff of fresh air and a shining hope for the Filipino Catholics, only 5-30% of whom are pious and practicing ones. 

This brings to mind the prayer of St. Francis which if meditated upon would make every Christian, not just Catholics, a true follower of Jesus Christ and a bringer of peace to the world, probably just like Pope Francis. It is a prayer that is less of self, and more of others which eventually leads everyone to God, the giver of peace that passes all understanding.

The Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

Let us therefore love, give pardon, encourage faith and hope, be lights and bring joy to those around us, especially to our families and to those who are last, least and lost. Our mission is to console, to understand and to love as well as to give and die to our own selfish desires.

Come to think of it, isn't this the message of Christmas?

[Photos from the internet. The thumbs up sign photo is from The Independent.]


  1. And I like the theme of his visit: Mercy and Compassion. :-)

    1. Yeah, Louie. It's a good thing Pope Francis would like to meet the poor, not the "Gucci and Coño-fashion" lot. Mercy and Compassion, indeed 😊


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