Monday, March 18, 2013

Fill the Church with the fragrance of the Gospel

“With you, the Church returns simply as in La Verna”

On March 17, 2013 while greeting Pope Francis at the end of the Mass celebrated in the parish of St. Anna, the Archpriest of St. Peter’s Basilica, Cardinal Angelo Comastri revealed a background of the Conclave just finished:
“Holy Father during these days we have heard the wind of Pentecost which has shook the walls of our soul. When, I looked at the clock last Wednesday at 7:05, you said that you would be called Francis.  You should have seen the faces of the Cardinals. For two thousand years it has never happened that a Pope should want to be called Francis! Upon hearing it, one of the Cardinals asked, ‘What did he say!? ‘Francis’, ‘Francis!? And they spread the word among themselves, saying, ‘We a Pope Francis’.
I personally had a memory come to mind when John Paul II went to La Verna on September 17, 1993, where I was bishop in Tuscany at the time. All the bishops of Tuscany went there to greet him. In the large refectory of La Verna after lunch, while John Paul II was speaking with the brothers and bishops, he said here at both La Verna and Assisi, Franciscanism was born and in a certain way Christianity too by rediscovering the simplicity and fervor of the beginnings”. Hence, this is also ‘what’s happening, Holy Father; you are rediscovering he simplicity and fervor of the origins.
Later, on Election Day, when you looked out for the first time from the balcony to greet the people, we were on the side balconies. The speakers were facing the square so that we did not see anything or hear anything. Then we saw people all in silence praying. We did not realize that you had invited them to pray, so we were wondering what had happened that everyone should be so suddenly quiet! When I left, I asked the first person I came across. I think it was a worker from the TV Centre, I asked him, “Do you know what happened?” He replied, “The Pope asked the people to pray for him and so he bowed to receive the prayers of the people.” He added, “You know that I smelled the scent of Bethlehem, the scent of the Gospel” and two tears fell from his eyes. I also was easily moved. Holy Father, the world is waiting for the scent of Bethlehem and the scent of the Gospel. Fill the Church, then, with the fragrance of the Gospel which is none other than the scent of Jesus and we will follow right behind you. Thank you!

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