Friday, October 4
Today is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi and, while Pope Francis is on pilgrimage to Assisi, I find myself at the end of Day 1 in Rome. What a great day to begin this journey: the feast of St. Francis.
The purpose of this journey is for the President (Cardinal Dolan) and me as Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to meet with prefects and staffs of various congregations in Rome to discuss issues of importance to the Catholic Church in the United States. Cardinal Dolan and I are accompanied by the General and Assistant General Secretary of the USCCB, Msgr. Ronny Jenkins and Msgr. Brian Bransfield.
I just read the news from Assisi. Pope Francis called on all to imitate St. Francis as this great saint imitated the Lord Jesus in his simplicity of life and generosity. That generosity in sharing what he had with others uncovered for him a joy that is lasting in this world and provided a glimpse of what we hope for in heaven.
Our Holy Father asked that we live in a way that is more mindful of those who are poor and to share more freely. I could not help but think of the annual Catholic Services Appeal in the Archdiocese of Louisville and how our family of 111 parishes in 24 counties of Central Kentucky helps one another. When we are generous, we experience that relationship of joy and giving in our lives: joy, which is a true gift or grace from God, brings forth sharing. Sin, not only original sin but also personal sin, has a way of masking our true nature of being “made in the image and likeness of God,” a nature that calls us to be abundantly generous.
The power of example – St. Francis, Pope Francis, and so many generous friends whom we encounter – also can move us to deep generosity. I have never regretted giving; though there have been times in my life that I look back at lost opportunities to share with others. Thank God for the witness of Pope Francis!