TC 272: Pope Francis – Beacon of Compassion
In this episode of the Transformation Cafe podcast, host Robin Masiewicz and her guests discuss the recent visit of Pope Francis, and the concept of being a change-agent for compassion. They talk about their reactions to the Pope’s visit, and how he personifies caring for the least among us. They discuss tools for cultivating compassion for ourselves and toward others. At the bottom of this blog post you’ll find one such tool – a video of a Loving Kindness Meditation.
Pope Francis visited the United States from September 22-27. He traveled to Washington, D.C. , New York, and Philadelphia. The news covered his visit extensively, including his speech to Congress, his visit to the United Nations, and his participation at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
Rather than traveling in an enormous limousine that one would expect for a person of his position, he traveled in a tiny Fiat 500L. At each stop he provided a thoughtful and encouraging message to the world: We share this world, and we must each do our part to protect it. And we must take care of each other no matter our station in life.
While these events were certainly important, it was his interaction with the people as he moved from place to place that may have had the biggest impact. He showed a jaded public what true compassion looks like. He visited the poor and the imprisoned, and blessed the masses as he made his way to each new location. He asked each person he met to pray for him. The joy that people felt as he kissed babies and waved at the enormous crowds was something that we haven’t experienced before. Nearly everyone, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, were deeply moved by what they witnessed.
The thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful. – Pope Francis
While he was in the US, the Pope made it a point to visit the homeless. “”He doesn’t change the doctrine” of Catholicism, said Monsignor John Enzler, the President and CEO of the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of D.C. “Those are things the Catholic Church has said for years.” Rather, Enzler explains, “It’s his emphasis. His words are for the poor.”
“We can find no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing,” he said. “The Son of God came into this world as a homeless person. The Son of God knew what it was to start life without a roof over his head.”
Pope Francis, formerly Jorge Mario Bergoglio, chose to name himself after St. Francis, the patron saint of animals and the environment. Like St. Francis he seeks to imitate the life, and carry out the work of Christ, in Christ’s own way. While not everyone agrees with the doctrine of the Catholic church, there is no denying that Pope Francis continues to inspire compassion by his actions.
How can we cultivate compassion for ourselves, and for others? One way is to practice by meditation. Below is a Loving Kindness meditation.
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