Have you seen this?

This is so beautiful, so touching, so Christ-like that I had to post it, in case anyone has not yet seen it.  Pope Francis reminds me so much of Jesus, in his tenderness toward the poor and the handicapped and those who suffer from disfigurement.

I wonder what this young man must have felt as he was embraced and kissed by our Holy Father.  I imagine he felt love and acceptance…two things no child of God should ever be deprived of.  God bless you, Holy Father, Francis!  Thank you for showing us how to be Christ to one another.

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Pope Francis and the baseball cap…..

Oh my! Wouldn’t you love to just follow Pope Francis around with a camera? This is a charming video of him filled with concern about the children having their heads covered in the glaring hot sun in St. Peter’s Square. Our Holy Father even reaches into his pope mobile to retrieve a hat for one little guy. As always, he’s kissing babies like a warm and loving grandpa. God bless him!

“The beatitude of faith…..”

thomasagain

I love today’s gospel.  Even when I was a child, I was so delighted to hear those beautiful words Jesus spoke to Thomas:  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.

“That’s me!” I would inwardly exclaim.  And so it is, and hopefully, it is you too!

Our Holy Father Francis focused on these words from the gospel in his Regina Caeli message, on the Feast of Divine Mercy, in Rome today.  He too seemed to say, “That’s me!”

poperegina
Vatican City, Apr 7, 2013 / 07:12 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On the Feast of Divine Mercy, Pope Francis emphasized that when Jesus said “blessed are those who do not see and yet believe,” he was also referring to those who believed the testimony of the Apostles and everyone today who hears the witness of Christians and believes.

“And who were they who believed without seeing? Other disciples, men and women of Jerusalem that, while they did not meet the resurrected Jesus, believed in the testimony of the Apostles and the women,” Pope Francis said April 7 before a crowd of around 100,000 people.

The Pope made his remarks before praying the Regina Caeli from the window of the papal apartment that overlooks St. Peter’s Square.

He focused on the Gospel reading for today, which recalls the encounter between St. Thomas and Jesus after the resurrection.

When he first heard the news of the resurrection, the Pope noted that Thomas responded, “If I do not see and do not touch, I will not believe.”

But eight days later, Jesus appeared to the Apostles in the upper room and invited Thomas to look at his wounds, to touch them, and he exclaimed: “My Lord my God.”

“Jesus replied, ‘because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.’”

“This is a very important word on faith,” Pope Francis stated, adding that “we can call it the beatitude of faith.”

“At all times and in all places are blessed are those who, through the Word of God proclaimed in Church and witnessed by Christians, believe that Jesus Christ is the love of God incarnate, Mercy incarnate.

“And this is true for each of us!” he exclaimed.

Source: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-those-who-believe-without-seeing-includes-us/

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Today is my dad’s birthday. He passed away in 2008 at the age of 93. I would be most grateful to anyone who offers a prayer for the repose of his soul. And, I will remember all of you at Mass today. Thank you!

An Easter gift to the world….

Can we ever really tire of this beautiful scene? Below is young Dominic’s father’s account of this unforgettable moment, in his own words.

Paul Gondreau is a theology professor in Rome. He and his wife and their five children had come to St. Peter’s Square for a glimpse of the Holy Father. The Swiss Guard allowed his handicapped son, Dominic, and one other family member, his mother, to move to the front of the barricade. Dr. Gondreau and his four other children watched the jumbotron in joyful disbelief, as Pope Francis and Dominic unexpectedly embraced.

Vatican Pope Easter

“Small acts with great love,” Mother Teresa was fond of saying. Yesterday, Pope Francis bestowed an extraordinary Easter blessing upon my family when he performed such an act in embracing my son, Dominic, who has cerebral palsy. The embrace occurred when the Pope spied my son while touring the Square, packed with a quarter million pilgrims, in the “pope mobile” after Mass. This tender moment, an encounter of a modern Francis with a modern Dominic (as most know, tradition holds that St. Francis and St. Dominic enjoyed an historic encounter), moved not only my family (we were all moved to tears), not only those in the immediate vicinity (many of whom were also brought to tears by it), not only by thousands who were watching on the big screens in the Square, but by the entire world. Images of this embrace quickly went viral, and by Easter Sunday afternoon it was the lead picture on the Drudge Report, with the caption, “Change Hatred into Love” (a paraphrase of Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi message that followed shortly thereafter), where it remains even as I write this. Fox News, NBC Nightly News, ABC Nightly News, and CNN all showed clips of it. Lead pictures of it were found in Le Figaro, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Philadelphia Inquirer, inter alia.

It is often difficult to try to express to people who do not have special needs children what kind of untold sacrifices are demanded of us each and every day. And as for Dominic, he has already shared in Christ’s Cross more than I have throughout my entire life multiplied a thousand times over. What is the purpose in all this, I ask? Furthermore, I often tend to see my relationship with Dominic in a one-sided manner. Yes, he suffers more than me, but it’s constantly ME who must help HIM. Which is how our culture often looks upon the disabled: as weak, needy individuals who depend so much upon others, and who contribute little, if anything, to those around them.

Pope Francis’ embrace of my son yesterday turns this logic completely on its head and, in its own small yet powerful way, shows once again how the wisdom of the Cross confounds human wisdom. Why is the whole world so moved by images of this embrace? A woman in the Square, moved to tears by the embrace, perhaps answered it best when she to my wife afterward, “You know, your son is here to show people how to love.” To show people how to love. This remark hit my wife as a gentle heaven-sent confirmation of what she has long suspected: that Dominic’s special vocation in the world is to move people to love, to show people how to love. We human beings are made to love, and we depend upon examples to show us how to do this.

But how can a disabled person show us how to love in a way that only a disabled person can? Because the Cross of Christ is sweet and is of a higher order. Christ’s resurrection from the Cross proclaims that the love he offers us, the love that we, in our turn, are to show others, is the REAL reason he endured the Cross in the first place. Our stony hearts are transformed into this Christ-like love, and thereby empowered to change hatred into love, only through the Cross. And no one shares in the Cross more intimately than the disabled. And so the disabled become our models and our inspiration. Yes, I give much to my son, Dominic. But he gives me more, WAY more. I help him stand and walk, but he shows me how to love. I feed him, but he shows me how to love. I bring him to physical therapy, but he shows me how to love. I stretch his muscles and joke around with him, but he shows me how to love. I lift him in and out of his chair, I wheel him all over the place, but he shows me how to love. I give up my time, so much time, for him, but he shows me how to love.

This lesson, to repeat, confounds the wisdom of the world. Heck, it confounds me when I, as his parent, so often fail to see my son’s condition for what it is. The lesson my disabled son gives stands as a powerful testament to the dignity and infinite value of every human person, especially of those the world deems the weakest and most “useless.” Through their sharing in the “folly” of the Cross, the disabled are, in truth, the most powerful and the most productive among us.

One more thing. Pope Francis’ embrace of my son, Dominic, indicates that we should not interpret the new Pontiff’s expressed devotion to the poor, already a cornerstone of his pontificate, in facile, purely material (let alone political) categories. His Easter embrace of my son stands out as a compelling witness to the kind of “poverty” that he urges us to adopt, the poverty that he pointed to in the opening line of his Urbi et Orbi message yesterday: “I would like [the message of Christ’s resurrection] to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest…” Parents of disabled children, stand up and find solace and encouragement in these simple yet profound words.

Source: Catholic Moral Theology: http://catholicmoraltheology.com/a-special-vocation-to-show-people-how-to-love/