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The Light of the World

[caption id="attachment_1424" align="alignright" width="200"]Blog by Sr. Amy McFrederick, OP Blog by Sr. Amy McFrederick, OP[/caption] Jesus said: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." - John 8:12.
Three years ago yesterday, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected the 266th and current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, ex officio Bishop of Rome, and Sovereign of the Vatican City. These must have been intimidating titles to the then Jesuit Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires when his name was called. I remember being impressed at his response when asked "What did you feel when you realized you were elected Pope?" He said he felt PEACE come over him. And when he told journalists that he had chosen the name in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi because he was especially concerned for the well-being of the poor, we knew the Light of Christ was shining in a new way in the Vatican. And the light of Christ has radiated from/through Pope Francis to the world, both in his actions and his words—as we read about him washing the feet of inmates including women, riding the bus with the other clergy, and living in the Santa Marta hotel where he stayed with his fellow cardinals during the conclave, because, as he told a friend, he likes being in daily contact with ordinary people, does not want to be isolated, and enjoys sitting down to meals with visiting clergy. What is this LIGHT that fills us with hope and gratitude, that causes even our Buddhist neighbor to exclaim to us in a friendly visit: "That Pope of yours! WOW! the world is watching and taking notice! Something new is going on there, isn’t it?" Recently in his visit to the USA, we saw close up Pope Francis’ joy radiating in his ever present smile, a spirit of inclusive love, his caring and connection with the vulnerable ones of society, his simplicity and anti-consumerism as he chose to travel in a small FIAT rather than the usual limousine, and his courageous proclamation of truth as he calls the world to take responsibility and care for our common home and all Earth’s inhabitants. 800 years ago Dominic Guzman, whom we address in song "Light of the Church," radiated that same joy, inclusive love, simplicity, passion for truth, and care for the poor. In 1216 the Dominican Order of Preachers—friars, nuns, religious sisters/brothers, and lay members, whose mission is to proclaim the Gospel in word and action, was officially recognized by Pope Honorius III. Dominican Sisters of Peace and our Associates continue in that tradition, and invite others—men and women of all walks of life--to join us in that saving mission, to live in the light of Christ, to search out and preach truth, and to radiate God’s love, joy and peace—in prayer, study, community and service. For more information, contact us.

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