There is a lot of discussion out there that suggests Pope Francis is some type of Liberation Theologian by questioning the luxury cars driven by many Vatican clergy and living his radically different lifestyle at Sta Marta, eating in a cafeteria with the visiting priests, wearing a plain medal Cross, keeping his tattered brown shoes. What is he, some kind of commie?
No actually, he fought that trend when he was Jesuit superior in Argentina. He knows Christ came to win our souls back from Satan to bring us to Heaven. Period. BUT we have an obligation to remember the poor and adjust our spending to share with them.
Its just that Pope Francis, by living so radically, so visually, by his spartan lifestyle, makes it harder for comfortable Catholics to ignore and we are unhappy that our extravagant lifestyle is suddenly in question. I feel it as I consider my purchases, and I hear grumblings from fellow Catholics.
Matthew 25:31-46 (NIV)
The Sheep and the Goats
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
I have had two emotional arguments lately with devout Catholic ladies who resent his asking them to pare down their luxuries, or at least my saying this is a good thing for the entire Church, not an option for the few. This is what terrifies me: when devout Catholic laymen and priests whose blogs have tremendous followings start to disparage what the pope is preaching with his very life in order to preserve a lifestyle which may be a bit too comfy. It only proves him right, we must slim down in order to survive as a Church, to save our very souls. We have become enslaved to comfort which may not last. Look at the world economy, if our faith is to be tested by paring down a few luxuries, what will happen in the event of an economic collapse? Pope Francis lived in Argentina where they used chalkboards to write food prices, so they could raise them several times a day!
Plus I want to pose a challenge to you which the dear ladies could not answer. Name one rich saint. Oh, many started out rich, but to a man, they gave most of their goods to the poor, took up their crosses, and followed Our Lord. Aren't all Catholics called to do the same?
Folks, this is not original material. We just haven't seen it lived as closely since Mother Teresa was last on earth. She died in 1997, how much have we forgotten in 16 years?