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Thursday, March 14, 2013

What's in a Name?

Yesterday, we learned that we have a new pope, Francis.

The media discussed a bit about the significance of the name Francis, but I think it needs more unpacking. So, with apologies to my Franciscan friends let me share with you why I think it is a sign of great hope that our new pope chose the name Francis.

Francis was a 13th century Italian. He came from a family of wealth and privilege. As a young man he lived life to the fullest without much care or concern for his neighbors. Francis spoke of his moment of conversion--it came to him not in a religious ceremony, not while in a great cathedral, and not while studying scripture--it came to him when he saw the face of Christ in a leper.

Francis dedicated his life in service to the poor, to living as a poor man, and to rebuilding the church. The church of Francis' time was in need of reform and through his simple life of service, a life lived in the footprints of Christ, Francis did impact change in the church and in his home town of Assisi.

Francis is often connected to animals. Yes, it is true he cared deeply for animals, he cared deeply for all of God's creation. Francis believed in the Incarnation of Christ - a moment in time when God's abundant love for creation overflowed; God became human and dwelt among us. For Francis Jesus' mission was love. Francis was devoted to the nativity of Jesus -- who is this God that chose to enter into the world in poverty? The cross had meaning for him as well -- who is this God who freely enters into human suffering? Francis helps us see a compassionate, suffering, and human face in Christ.

One last thought on Francis, he was a man of deep joy. In the midst of suffering, his own and that of the people he served, Francis never stopped being a man of joy.

Let us pray that Francis will call all of us to the faith of his namesake.


Times for Prayer and Reflection

We offer a variety of prayer opportunities on our campus --

The Meditation Room, Marian 204, is open for use by faculty, staff, and students. You may find it a great place to go for some quiet time, or you may wish to schedule a prayer group. The space is yours, let me know how I can be of assistance.

If you would like to make a prayer request you may do so through a direct e-mail to me, by putting a note under my door -- Marian 202, by placing a request in one of the envelops located throughout the campus, or by posting a response to my blog.

Weekly Mass at noon on Mondays is at the heart of all we do at Marylhurst. We invite you to join us if you are able. Mass is also available at 11:00 Tuesday - Friday in the chapel at Mary's Woods. Mary's Woods has Sunday Mass at 11:00 -- for students involved in weekend classes here on campus.

How else can we meet your needs? Let me know and I'll see what I can do to be of service.

Bilblical Exegetical Society Workshop

Dan has graciously offered to take on the leadership for the Biblical Exegetical Society. This year the meetings will take place from 4:30-5:30 on the Fridays of cohort weekends. The first meeting will be on Friday, November 2nd. Hope to see you there!