January 17, 2016

The Name of God Is Mercy by Pope Francis

The Name of God Is Mercy by Pope Francis
In conjunction with the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis has published his first book as pope. The Name of God Is Mercy is a series of interviews with Vatican reporter Andrea Tornielliin. Pope Francis reveals his vision of God’s mercy, a subject close to the pontiff's heart – which has long been the cornerstone of Francis' faith, and is now the central teaching of his papacy.

Several extracts were made available by the publisher ahead of its official release on January 12. Here, Pope Francis says that like his predecessor, St. Peter, he is a sinner in need of forgiveness:

"I [Pope Francis] said it sincerely to the prisoners of Palmasola, in Bolivia, to those men and women who welcomed me so warmly. I reminded them that even Saint Peter and Saint Paul had been prisoners. I have a special relationship with people in prisons, deprived of their freedom. I have always been very attached to them, precisely because of my awareness of being a sinner.

Every time I go through the gates into a prison to celebrate Mass or for a visit, I always think: why them and not me? I should be here. I deserve to be here. Their fall could have been mine. I do not feel superior to the people who stand before me. And so I repeat and pray: why him and not me? It might seem shocking, but I derive consolation from Peter: he betrayed Jesus, and even so he was chosen."

Explaining his episcopal motto, ["Miserando atque eligendo"] Pope Francis relates an experience of God’s mercy which took place in his teenage years:

"I don’t have any particular memories of mercy as a young child. But I do as a young man. I think of Father Carlos Duarte Ibarra, the confessor I met in my parish church on September 21, 1953, the day the Church celebrated Saint Matthew, the apostle and evangelist. I was seventeen years old. On confessing myself to him, I felt welcomed by the mercy of God.

Ibarra was originally from Corrientes but was in Buenos Aires to receive treatment for leukaemia. He died the following year. I still remember how when I got home, after his funeral and burial, I felt as though I had been abandoned. And I cried a lot that night, really a lot, and hid in my room.

Why? Because I had lost a person who helped me feel the mercy of God, that miserando atque eligendo, an expression I didn’t know at the time but I eventually would choose as my episcopal motto. I learned about it later, in the homilies of the English monk, the Venerable Bede [672-735]. When describing the calling of Matthew, he writes: "Jesus saw the tax collector and by having mercy chose him as an apostle saying to him, 'follow me'."

This is the translation commonly given for the words of Saint Bede [originally written in Latin]. I like to translate "miserando" with another gerund that doesn’t exist: misericordando or mercying. So, "mercying him and choosing him" describes the vision of Jesus who gives the gift of mercy and chooses, and takes with him."

The book may be purchased through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Catholic Company.

No comments :