The Francis Effect

Like many people, I am fascinated by Pope Francis.  I know that he most likely won't change church doctrine.  However, I am drawn to his philosophy of encounter and living into the abundant joy of the gospel.  Our belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of this joy.

In the days that he was in Cuba and the United States of America I remember feeling proud to be a Catholic and proud of the pope.  There have been few times in the past when I have felt this way and few times when I have felt like this about a pope.

I know that Pope Francis and the church are far from perfect.  I know that there are many sins that the church have committed against those it has been called to protect and love.  In spite of this Pope Francis makes me want to experience that joy of the gospel that he so often speaks of.  He experiences people as opportunities of encounter were we are called to not look at our differences, but the way that we are brothers and sisters to one another united through one God.

This joy and encounter can only be experienced when I am in a life-giving relationship with God and with my brothers and sisters.  How can I really experience this joy if I am not working on improving my relationship with others and with self?

Mahatma Ghandi said, "We need to be the change we wish to see in the world."  This change can only come from within me and flow out through me.

Am I living into the change I want to see?

Lystra Long, OP

New Grant, Trinidad


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