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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Why St. Francis of Assisi?
Many have expressed that perhaps Pope Francis should have chosen a Jesuit-inspired papal name.  It turns out he has!  Pope Innocent III (1160-1216),  church reformer, had a dream/vision of St. Francis of Assisi holding up a falling St. John Lateran Basilica of the Vatican.  It was then that Pope Innocent III decided to allow Francis to start his religious order. Here is the Jesuit connection:

"While some people thought maybe Pope Francis took his name thinking also of the great Jesuit St. Francis Xavier, Father Blaszczak said Jesuits know just how important the life, example and spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi was in the conversion of their founder, St. Ignatius, and in the development of what has come to be known as Ignatian spirituality.

"St. Ignatius, who lived 1491-1556, was from a Spanish noble family. After being wounded in battle, he began reviewing his life and thinking about his future. Father Blaszczak said he saw his choices as life and a career in the royal court or a life spent imitating St. Francis of Assisi.

"'For Ignatius, Francis is the alternative to the life of the world. Francis, with his itinerant ministry and his intense devotion to the life of Christ and his ascetical lifestyle,' is the counterbalance to the worldly life in the court, the Jesuit said.

"'Ignatius, as he admits himself, was given to womanizing, gambling and feats of arms,' but at the time of his conversion, 'to his great surprise,' Ignatius finds himself 'much more attracted, much more consoled, enlivened and given joy when he thinks about imitating the life of St. Francis,' the founder of the Franciscans, who died in 1226." *

In light of these revelations, it's hard to imagine Cardinal Bergoglio choosing any other name!  Perhaps our new Pope Francis is the man, inspired by the good and humble St. Francis of Assisi, who will "right" the church in turmoil as Pope Innocent III envisioned

 Pray the rosary for our church leaders and especially Pope Francis!


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