In what passes for calm in the current norm, I ponder. And, I wonder at God’s mighty wonders. He who created all things did so in an instant word of His divine love. Love that spreads and permeates all things. It is the cardinal principle of His divine grace. When He created and gave life, He did so, not as a dictator (as was His right), but as a loving father; the essence of Love. Plants and all living things were engendered with their own nature. To His crowning glory, our first parents, he gave intellect and the freedom of choice. He offered them the choice between “Life” and “Knowledge”, with no provisos – no “Thou shalt, or, shalt nots”. They were free to move through the Garden of Eden, and taste its fruits. All they needed was to respect and abide by the natural law of “Cause and Affect”. The dynamic that held things in balance, and extended through to consequences. If they ate the fruit of Life they could have had life, perpetuated in their existing state. But, they chose the fruit of Knowledge, making them aware of good and evil. Bringing with it the consequences of good and bad, decisions. For the first time they saw both the beauty and dark sides of the universe. And, they were ashamed because they were naked. Through the history of the Jewish people, reflected in The Bible, it’s the recurrent story. People sin. God forgives and the people continue on their arrant ways. But, the love of God does not change. He who created all, and found it all very good, continues to allow his creation to evolve freely uninterrupted, gathering all into a grand and diverse mass, progressing towards a predetermined point of fulfilment. Where, The Son will finally decide what is to be the end of things.

All religions have been founded on principles of love and peace. How we have strayed from those founding principles! The Lord when He created the world saw it at peace and in harmony. “The lamb snuggled with the lion” and so forth. His fatherly love moved over all things and when he communicated with the humans it was in a spirit of love and respect. He did not tell the man “You shall do this or that”.
His instructions came with open ended invitations, offering alternatives. The Lord respected His humans’ dignity and the supreme gift of liberty. Why then do we, less perfect, prescribe action dressed with an air of authority? “Do this or there will be punishment”. Somewhere in history God’s servants embraced two masters: The Lord Himself and the ruler of the realm. With the complicated relationships, the priests became increasingly authoritative. What began as a loving fatherly relationship became a ruling rod. Moses himself had an intimate encounter with Yahveh, but in his turn passed on The Lord’s word predicated with “Thou shalt” and “Shalt not”.
The simple Way shown by Christ to simple fishermen became ( through the association with nobility down the ages), an auger that could bring princes to their knees. Power corrupted, and to fight its influence there were successive Reformations, Protestantism, several Councils within the Church. Yet the clay hangs on, using devises and traditions to manipulate arguments.

Little wonder that labels of Heresy, Anti-Christ etc are thrown at The Good Shepherd’s image now in Rome. When Pope Francis sees the historical Church falling into ruins, just as St Francis of Assisi had earlier, by his example the Pope tries to rebuild with his own sweat and blood. His voice is gentler and fatherly. Unlike Popes in history he does not rule by fiats; but a gentler form of cajoling, exhortations and persuasion. Looking deep into his message we find nothing new, heretical or subversive. He only shows fresh light on truths using current terms and imagery. A lot had already been covered in Vatican II, when it tried to open out dusty libraries to the fresh air from the world outside. The old Church Militant brooked no dissent, often resorted to abominable methods to rule and sway. We have progressed from those dark ages into a more sensitive and humane chapter of our history. We need leaders that can read the signs and save souls in the current turbulent times. Pope Francis has the learning and the spirit to be our shepherd. His flock know his his voice as he leads them to fresh pastures. He falls back to pick up the weak, to carry it on his shoulders. None are left behind.