(Prayer offered by Christine Estes on the Public Address system at La Salle Academy on Thursday, 14 November)
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God.
Most people who know me know that I am a huge fan of Pope Francis. In fact, last Wednesday Mr. Ciccone came running to my office to show me a photo of our Pope that so inspired me I want to pray about it.
Last week, in a crowd of about 50,000 in Vatican City, the Pope paused for a moment to embrace a man whose face was completely disfigured with tumors and boils. The man suffers from a genetic disorder that causes thousands of tumors to painfully form all over his body, making his face barely recognizable as human. In a moment that went viral last week, the man buried his head in the Pope’s chest, while the Pope pulled him close for an embrace and a blessing. If it is OK with your homeroom teachers, I invite you all to find this image using your phones after prayer.
In a recent tweet, the Pope commented, “Teach us to step outside ourselves. Let us overcome the fear of getting our hands dirty so as to help those in need.” In his short time as Pontiff, Francis has chosen to embrace so many. Rather than getting caught up in the trappings that come with being Pope like a fine residence or sweet pope mobile, Francis has reminded the world of what Jesus came to preach. Jesus–the one who was not afraid to dine with prostitutes, to be touched by a hemorrhaging woman, or call the tax collector Zaccheus down from a tree–this Jesus came so that all might know the infinite mercy and unconditional love of God. But the story does not end here.
Here’s where you and I come in. Once we have experienced that love and mercy, we are compelled to share it with those most in need. Last week, Dean Kelly prayed about how God’s humble beginnings made it so that we have an approachable God. But friends, here’s the thing. God becomes approachable only insofar as we are unafraid to approach where there is pain, injury, loneliness, or suffering. I’ve often commented to anyone who’ll listen that we live in an emotionally scarce world. People go through pain and suffering alone and in silence. But it doesn’t have to be that way. People are starving for connection, for someone who will pause and listen. Will that person be you today?
Today, I challenge everyone in our La Salle family….find this picture of the Pope. Make it the screen saver on your phone or iPad or desktop. Let it inspire you so much that the next time someone in need crosses your path, do not shy away or run in fear. Be courageous. Approach. Bless. Embrace.
Let us pray–
God of Mercy,
We have a million reasons why we are afraid of the pain of others. But all of these reasons pale next to the light of your infinite goodness. Give us the courage to step out of our places of comfort to be your presence in a hurting world.
St Francis of Assisi: Pray for us
St John Baptist de La Salle: Pray for us
Live Jesus in our Hearts: Forever
Christine Estes (Campus Minister)