Friends of Christ, Suitcase in Hand

Today Pope Francis addressed one hundred fifty papal nuncios and representatives gathered in Rome to reflect on their roles in light of the Year of Faith.

Vatican Radio has issued a translation that is rather wooden, but provides the substance of his remarks. The style is personal and to the point as when the Pope says:

Now I would like to offer you some simple thoughts on certain, I would say existential, aspects of your being Papal Representatives. These are things I reflected on in my heart, above all by trying to place myself alongside to each one of you. In this meeting, I do not want to address purely formal or perfunctory words to you. What I now say comes from deep within my heart.

The Pope recognizes the existential rootlessness of their lives from a physical and psychological perspective (hence the suitcase metaphor), and urges them to be rooted in Christ and his Gospel. He also warns them against ambition and "spiritual worldliness" (quoting de Lubac yet again) which seeks self-fulfillment instead of God's greater glory.

Though Vatican Radio does not mention this, today's L'Osservatore Romano reports that at the end of his own remarks, the Pope invited some of those present to come to the microphone to share some of the questions and concerns they experienced. A number did. Francis thus demonstrated not only by his words but by his actions that he truly sought to "place himself alongside each of them."



Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.

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