“What we all ought to be doing”

November 8, 2013
Pope Francis blesses and kisses a man with the "Elephant Man disease," neurofibromatosis.

Pope Francis blesses and kisses a man with the “Elephant Man disease,” neurofibromatosis.

Just this… from Archbishop Cranmer’s blog.

Visiting St Peter’s Square, most of us would shun this poor wretch because of his Elephant Man-like appearance. We would certainly decline to share a communion chalice with him, for fear of some unknown contagion. But, like his namesake St Francis of Assisi, this Pope abjures his royal palace, lives in a guest house with his brothers, and prays deeply – quite movingly – for a modern-day leper. Indeed, the Pope kissed the carbuncles upon this poor man’s deformed forehead.

Humility and holiness in action.

It is Christ-like.

Some will say it is prophetic – a sign of profound faith in a superficial world of beautiful people and bright young things. But it is simply what we all ought to be doing – manifesting the self-emptying love of Christ and transcending the narrow confines of the world.

Love does not solve life’s problems: it helps us to cope with them. It brings perspective and confers order. Faith working through love is creative and redemptive. Pope Francis acts for that poor distorted being because he has an appreciation of that being. Such love is the fruit of God’s presence within us.

Please note that His Grace refers to Francis’s “self-emptying love,” a reference to the very scripture I’ll be preaching on this Sunday.

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