A few weeks before his 33rd birthday, on an eight-day retreat to prepare for his ordination, Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote a short “Credo,” or statement of his personal beliefs (which can be found at the end of this blog). Here are his most intimate thoughts about the purpose and promise of love, “the greatest power for the transformation of reality.”
Invest in Love
In the poor, Jesus knocks on the doors of our heart, thirsting for our love…. To love the poor means to combat all forms of poverty, spiritual and material. And it will also do us good. Drawing near to the poor in our midst will touch our lives. It will remind us of what really counts: to love God and our neighbor. Only this lasts forever, everything else passes away. What we invest in love remains, the rest vanishes.HOMILY
True happiness is being with the Lord and living for love. Do you believe this? True happiness is not in having something or in becoming someone; true happiness is being with the Lord and living for love. Do you believe this? We must go forth, believing in this. So, the ingredients for a happy life are called Beatitudes: blessed are the simple, the humble who make room for God, who are able to weep for others and for their own mistakes, who remain meek, fight for justice, are merciful to all, safeguard purity of heart, always work for peace and abide in joy, do not hate and, even when suffering, respond to evil with good.
NOVEMBER 1, 2017
Today the Gospel presents the Holy Family to us on the sorrowful road of exile, seeking refuge in Egypt. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus experienced the tragic fate of refugees, which is marked by fear, uncertainty and unease (cf. Matthew 2:13–15, 19–23). Unfortunately, in our own time, millions of families can identify with this sad reality. Almost every day the television and papers carry news of refugees fleeing from hunger, war, and other grave dangers, in search of security and a dignified life for themselves and for their families.
Jesus wanted to belong to a family who experienced these hardships, so that no one would feel excluded from the loving closeness of God. The flight into Egypt caused by Herod’s threat shows us that God is present where man is in danger, where man is suffering, where he is fleeing, where he experiences rejection and abandonment.
DECEMBER 29, 2013
Some people ask how it is possible to speak of good news when so many people around us are suffering. Where is the good news when so much injustice, poverty, and misery cast a shadow over us and our world? But I want a very clear message to go out from this place. I want people to know that you, the young men and women of Myanmar, are not afraid to believe in the good news of God’s mercy, because it has a name and a face: Jesus Christ. As messengers of this good news, you are ready to bring a word of hope to the Church, to your own country, and to the wider world. You are ready to bring good news for your suffering brothers and sisters who need your prayers and your solidarity, but also your enthusiasm for human rights, for justice, and for the growth of that “love and peace” which Jesus brings.
NOVEMBER 30, 2017
Love is service. It is serving others. When after the washing of the feet Jesus explained the gesture to the apostles, he taught that we are made to serve one another, and if I say that I love but I don’t serve the other, don’t help the other, don’t enable him to go forward, don’t sacrifice
myself for him, this isn’t love. You have carried the cross [the World Youth Day cross]: there is the sign of love. That history of God’s love involved in works and dialogue, with respect, with forgiveness, with patience during so many centuries of history with his people, ends there—his Son on the cross, the greatest service, which is giving one’s life, sacrificing oneself, helping others.
ADDRESS TO CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
JUNE 21, 2015
Let us not forget that Jesus asked his disciples to pay attention to details.|
The little detail that wine was running out at a party.
The little detail that one sheep was missing.
The little detail of noticing the widow who offered her two small coins.
The little detail of having spare oil for the lamps, should the bridegroom delay.
The little detail of asking the disciples how many loaves of bread they had.
The little detail of having a fire burning and a fish cooking as he waited for the disciples at daybreak.
A community that cherishes the little details of love, whose members care for one another and create an open and evangelizing environment, is a place where the risen Lord is present, sanctifying it in accordance with the Father’s plan. There are times when, by a gift of the Lord’s love, we are granted, amid these little details, consoling experiences of God.
GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE, 144–145
WHATEVER YOU DID FOR THE LEAST OF THESE
To those of you who housed and fed people seeking safety—in churches, convents, and rectories—and who continue to assist those still struggling, I thank you. You are a credit to the Church. You are the pride of your nation. I personally thank each one of you. For whatever you did for the least of Christ’s brothers and sisters, you did for him (cf. Matthew 25:41).
JANUARY 17, 2015
I want to believe in God the Father who loves me like a
child, and in Jesus, the Lord who infused my life with His
Spirit, to make me smile and so carry me to the eternal
Kingdom of life.
I believe in the Church.
I believe in my life story, which was pierced by God’s
loving gaze, who on that spring day of 21st September,
came out to meet me to invite me to follow him.
I believe in my pain, made fruitless by the egotism in
which I take refuge.
I believe in the stinginess of my soul, which seeks to
take without giving.
I believe in the goodness of others, and that I must love
them without fear and without betraying them, never
seeking my own security.
I believe in the religious life.
I believe I wish to love a lot.
I believe in the burning death of each day, from which
I flee but which smiles at me, inviting me to accept her.
I believe in God’s patience, as good and as welcoming as
a summer’s night.
I believe that Dad is with the Lord in heaven.
I believe that Fr. Duarte is there, too, interceding for my
I believe in Mary, my Mother, who loves me and will
never leave me alone.
And I believe in the surprise of each day, in which will
be manifest love, strength, betrayal, and sin, which will be
always with me until that definitive encounter with that
marvelous face which I do not know, which always escapes
me, but which I wish to know and love. Amen.