On March 13, 2013, Pope Francis caught the world’s attention by choosing St. Francis of Assisi as his patron - and he continued his journey towards becoming our spiritual guide.
He quickly showed what that means for him: riding the bus with the cardinals back to the Domus Sanctae Marthae (where he has chosen to live) and paying his own bill at the hotel where he stayed before the conclave. A few months later, he carried a small bag onto the plane for his trip to World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro.
Last October, the pope visited Assisi and, in effect, explained how St. Francis inspires him. Among his audience were the eight cardinals who had completed the first of several meetings to advise him about the reform of the Roman Curia and the governance of the worldwide Church.
At the bishop’s residence, in the room where Francis stripped himself of the clothes provided by his father, Pope Francis told a group of poor people assisted by Caritas: “The Christian cannot coexist with the spirit of the world, with the worldliness that leads us to vanity, to arrogance, to pride. And this is an idol; it is not God. It is an idol! And idolatry is the gravest of sins!”
Pope Francis continued: “And we all must strip ourselves of this worldliness: the spirit opposing the spirit of the Beatitudes, the spirit opposing the spirit of Jesus. Worldliness hurts us. . . . Spiritual worldliness kills! It kills the soul! It kills the person! Kills the Church!
“It is God’s strength that supported Francis’ renunciation,” said the pope. It was a renunciation of the spirit of the world, “the cancer of society and the enemy of Christ.”