Pope Francis and Ozanam – kindred spirits

by | Sep 25, 2013 | Uncategorized

Francis- ThioIn their own words ….

Listen to Frederic Ozanam as he tell his brother, a priest, to get out of his rectory and go to the “outskirts”…  “The priests must give up their little bourgeois parishes: their flocks are an elite in the midst of a vast population that they do not know…” and again: “You are not carrying out your true mission. If a larger number of Christians and especially clergymen had looked after the workers in the last ten years we would be more certain of the future”

Or again… ‘The knowledge of social well-being is learned, not from books, nor from public debate, but in climbing the stairs to the poor man’s garret,  sitting by his bed-side, feeling the same cold  that pierces him, sharing the secret of his lonely  heart and troubled mind. When we know first  hand the conditions of the poor in school, at  work, in hospital, in the city, in the country,  everywhere that God has place them, then and only then can we begin to grasp the elements  of poverty and hope we may resolve it.”

Frederic Ozanam once stated:  “Our faith, always young, is able to satisfy the needs of every era and heal the wounds of all people.”

“Ah ! my dear friend, what a troublous, but what an instructive time it is, through which we are passing ! We may perish, but we must not regret having lived in it. Let us learn from it. Let us learn, first of all, to defend our belief without hating our adversaries, to appreciate those who do not think as we do, to recognize that there are Christians in every camp, and that God can be served now as always ! Let us complain less of our times and more of ourselves. Let us not be discouraged, let us be better (a letter written by Ozanam in 1851 [addressee unknown] in Louis Baunard, Ozanam in his Letters, Benziger Brothers, New York, 1925, p. 304)

Pope Francis speaks to priests on Holy Thursday…”We cannot keep ourselves shut up in parishes, in our communities when so many people are waiting for the Gospel!” Francis said in his homily. “It’s not enough simply to open the door in welcome, but we must go out through that door to seek and meet the people.”

“…some priests grow dissatisfied, lose heart and become in some sense collectors of antiques or novelties – instead of being shepherds living with “the smell of the sheep”, shepherds in the midst of their flock, fishers of men.”

“When it comes to social issues, it is one thing to have a meeting to study the problem of drugs in a slum neighborhood and quite another thing to go there, live there and understand the problem from the inside and study it. ”

“Pope likened the Church to a “field hospital” dealing with gravely wounded patients. “It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars,” he said. “You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else.””

“We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one. This is the way of Jesus.”  ─  Pope Francis


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