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Papa Francis The First | His Holiness Papa Francisco

Being small, thinking big in a benevolent universe...

Have you ever had a chance to think about your role in the universe that is about an estimated 46 billion light years in radius and apparently expanding at an accelerating rate?

We oftentimes consider that in this community of planets, stars, galaxies, let alone the world, our nation, city or town, that we have a singularly important place – that it is all about us.

Eager to Love coverMaybe it is because it is just so unfathomable to take in the enormity and complexity of it all. Or maybe because we just don’t have the time or the grounding to consider it.

It is within that context I had the unique chance to attend the Aug. 31-Sept. 2 Center for Action and Contemplation “Conspire 2014” symposium featuring Father Richard Rohr, Sister Ilia Delio and Rob Bell.

The focus was on the cosmos. But the discussion was not about physical universe divorced from the spiritual, from the divine. Rather, as Father Richard stressed we were created in unity, proceed forward insofar as we are in unity and return to God’s full gift of final unity, “the essential unity of matter and spirit, humanity and divinity.”

As he brings into focus in his new book from Franciscan Media, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, Franciscanism at its best helps us “move beyond the negative notion of history being a ‘fall from grace’ and invite us into a positive notion of history as a slow but real emergence and evolution into ever-greater consciousness of who we are.”

This is a hopeful, benevolent universe, one of purpose, of place, of being co-creators and of ongoing life, rather than despair, lack of direction, desolation, death.

Tram Sandia mountains 090214Interestingly, immediately after the conference, my wife and I took a trip on the Sandia Peak Tramway, just outside Albuquerque, N.M. The 2.7-mile tramway is the world’s third longest single span and is North America’s longest aerial tram.

And despite feeling small suspended over the deep canyons and terrain, I had a sense from the conference of appreciating more about how connected everything is, of celebrating the beauty and majesty of the 11,000 square-mile panoramic views of the Rio Grande Valley and sunset, of really feeling how in faith I am a part of a growing, expanding reality of God’s creation. What gifts!

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Photos by Mark Lombard

 

 

 

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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."