Don’t change horses midstream: Pope reflects on how to deal with crises
Pope Francis prayed for government leaders during Mass on May 2 at the Casa Santa Marta. He prayed that the “Lord might help them and grant them strength because their work is not easy. When there are differences among them,” he prayed, “may they understand that in moments of crisis they must be very united…
Pope Francis prayed for government leaders during Mass on May 2 at the Casa Santa Marta. He prayed that the “Lord might help them and grant them strength because their work is not easy. When there are differences among them,” he prayed, “may they understand that in moments of crisis they must be very united for the good of their people because unity is superior to conflict.”
The First Reading and the Gospel provided the Holy Father the theme for his homily. He reflected on the fact that the Church, as well as all of us, live both moments of peace in our lives and moments of crisis. The First Reading (9:31-42) says that the early Church was at peace. The Gospel of John presents a moment of crisis when many disciples decided to follow Jesus no longer (6:31-42).
Pope Francis began his homily citing the First Reading. “The Church … was at peace. She was being built up and walked in the fear of the Lord, and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit she grew in numbers.” This description tells us that the Church at that moment was serene, experiencing consolation, the Pope said.
But the Gospel recounts the reaction of many of Jesus’s disciples to a teaching they found difficult to digest. Jesus had revealed that those who would eat His flesh and blood would have eternal life.
Moment of choice
Critical moments such as these are moments when we are required to make a choice, Pope Francis said. It is precisely at this moment that He requires the Twelve to choose if they too want to leave Him. This prompts Peter’s second confession of faith: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
“Peter does not understand” everything that Jesus is saying, the Pope continued. “But he trusts the Lord.”
A moment of crisis is a moment of choice, it’s a moment that places us before the decisions that we must make: All of us in life have had and will have moments of crisis. Family crisis, marriage crisis, social crisis, work crisis … many crises. This pandemic is also a moment of social crisis.
Pope Francis quoted a proverb used in Argentina to explain how to live through moments of crisis. “When you go on horseback and you have to cross a river, don’t change horses in the middle of the river.”
Those who decided to leave Jesus, the Pope said, changed horses midstream. Instead, moments of crisis require that we persevere, remain silent, stay grounded in our convictions.
“It is not the moment to make changes,” Pope Francis continued. It is the moment to remain faithful. It is the moment when God is faithful, he said. A moment of crisis is a call to conversion in which remaining faithful “may inspire changes for the better, but not to distance ourselves from the good.”
“We Christians need to learn how to manage both moments of peace and moments of crisis,” Pope Francis explained. Crises in the faith have been described by spiritual writers as “going through fire in order to become strong,” he said. His prayer to the Lord was that the Lord might send His Holy Spirit so that we might know “how to resist temptations in moment of crisis, that we might know how to be faithful…with the hope” that moments of peace will follow. “May the Lord grant us the strength in moments of crisis not to sell out the faith.”
Catholic University President John Garvey to step down in 2022
Garvey leaves the Catholic University of America with higher retention rates and a few new buildings John Garvey, President of the Catholic University of America, has announced he is stepping down from the role. Garvey, 72, has held the position since 2010 as only the third lay president of the pontifical university. Students will remember Garvey…
Garvey leaves the Catholic University of America with higher retention rates and a few new buildings John Garvey, President of the Catholic University of America, has announced he is stepping down from the role. Garvey, 72, has held the position since 2010 as only the third lay president of the pontifical university. Students will remember Garvey as an approachable figure, who they could have a conversation with. It was not uncommon for Garvey to be found in the Pryzbyla Center, where he would often have lunch with students. Some may even remember Garvey wandering around campus inspecting student-made igloos and cheering on sledders during the massive “Snowpocalypse” storm during his first term. The student body took to Garvey quickly, giving the president shout outs if they saw him while walking to their next class.Pillar Catholic reports Garvey’s comments on his retirement: “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as President of this University,” Garvey said in a letter to the community. “I became President of The Catholic University of America in 2010 hoping I could contribute something to building up the institution. I did not foresee how much I would fall in love with it.”Fond farewellIn the open letter, Garvey reflected on the joy he took from his work. Along with his presidential responsibilities, Garvey taught a freshman class, which he called “the best part” of his job. He noted that the world pandemic was one of the most difficult crises of the school’s 134-year history. He wrote: “We have overcome the medical and financial challenges it presented through the intelligence, hard work, and charity of our people. I am thankful I had the opportunity to lead Catholic University through this period, because it gave me the chance to see close up what makes the school so special.”As head of CUA, Garvey oversaw the raising of over $500 million, including recent research grants awarded by NASA. He ensured that the school’s athletic facilities were expanded and broke ground on several new school buildings. According to Pillar, he leaves the school with a retention rate of 88%, up from 79% since his presidency. Although his work for CUA is coming to an end, Garvey seems like he’ll still be very busy. According to America Magazine, the father and grandfather noted that he intends to spend more time with his family. He and his wife Jeanne are also learning Italian, with the hopes that they might move to Italy in the future. There, Garvey said, he intends to take up a position as a teacher at CUA’s Rome campus. Read the full letter at CUA.
Worried about the future? Find peace in this short prayer
It’s relatively easy to be worried about the future. We simply don’t know what is going to happen today, tomorrow, or next year. This state of uncertainty can cripple us at times, keeping us from doing anything out of fear of the unknown. St. Josemaria Escriva consoled someone in a similar frame of mind, who…
It’s relatively easy to be worried about the future. We simply don’t know what is going to happen today, tomorrow, or next year. This state of uncertainty can cripple us at times, keeping us from doing anything out of fear of the unknown.
St. Josemaria Escriva consoled someone in a similar frame of mind, who said to him (as quoted in The Way of the Cross), “Father, I am having a very rough time.”
In response, the saint composed a short but peaceful prayer of abandonment, entrusting to God everything past, present and future.
My Lord and my God: into your hands I abandon the past and the present and the future, what is small and what is great, what amounts to a little and what amounts to a lot, things temporal and things eternal.
Asking his friend to pray this prayer, St. Josemaria wrote, “Then, don’t worry any more.”
The only way we can move forward in calm is to entrust our “rough times” to God and then let the worry go. He is in control, and will be with us every step of the way.
Pope Francis reminisces about 6th grade
Perhaps it wouldn’t be wrong to say that our Jesuit pope also has Salesian roots. Pope Francis hinted at this on Sunday, May 24, the feast of Mary Help of Christians, which is an important Salesian feast. “Today, on the day of Mary Help of Christians, I address an affectionate and cordial greeting to the…
Perhaps it wouldn’t be wrong to say that our Jesuit pope also has Salesian roots. Pope Francis hinted at this on Sunday, May 24, the feast of Mary Help of Christians, which is an important Salesian feast.
“Today, on the day of Mary Help of Christians, I address an affectionate and cordial greeting to the Salesians,” he said, following the midday Regina Coeli prayer at the Vatican’s Apostolic Library. “I recall with gratitude the spiritual formation I received from the sons and daughters of Don Bosco.”
The Pope did not mention it directly, but he was referring to 1949 when he and his younger brother, Oscar, were enrolled as boarders at Colegio Wilfrid Barón de los Santos Ángeles run by the Salesians at Ramos Mejía.
Pope in Salesian school
The Virgin Mary, under the title Mary Help of Christians, is the principal patroness of the Salesians of Don Bosco, the religious congregation that Don Bosco founded in 1859 in the northern Italian city of Turin, to serve the young people.
The city’s Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, which was commissioned by Don Bosco himself, remains the heart of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
The Argentine Pope’s remarks on Sunday is not the first time that he has spoken about the influence of the Salesians of Don Bosco in his childhood.
Turin, June 22, 2015
Pope Francis visited Turin, June 21-22, 2015, during which he joined the Salesians in celebrating the 200th birth centenary of Don Bosco, who was born on August 16, 1815, and died on January 31, 1888.
During his visit, the Pope met the Salesians, including the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, known as the Salesian sisters, which Don Bosco co-founded with Saint Mary Mazzarello.
While commending Don Bosco’s ministry for young people, the Pope recounted fond childhood memories of his family’s closeness to the Salesians and how, when his mother was ill, he was taken out of public school to spend one year studying with the Salesians.
The Holy Father spoke of how he grew very attached to the Salesian community in the year he spent with them and that one priest, in particular, followed him from Baptism to the realization of his vocation, accompanying him ultimately on his journey to the Jesuit Order.
Salesian priests Fathers Enrico Pozzoli and Cayetano Bruno are particularly remembered by the Pope.
“Evangelii gaudium with St John Bosco”
Again, in January 2019, Pope Francis wrote a preface to the book, “Evangelii gaudium con don Bosco” (Evangelii gaudium with St John Bosco), a collection of reflections by 25 members of the Salesian family.
Commending the spirit of joy of Don Bosco, despite the thousands of “difficulties that besieged him every day”, the Pope recalled his association with the Salesians as a boy in Argentina.
While studying in a Salesian school, he wrote in the preface, he found that same “climate of joy and family.” The Salesians, he said, trained him to appreciate beauty, work, and cheerfulness – and this, he told the Salesians, “is your vocation.”