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Papa Francis The First | His Holiness Papa Francisco

Pure Joy...

A few weeks ago, I went to New York to see Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at the Museum of Modern Art. Although I had visited a similar exhibition some years ago at another museum, these stunning works bear revisiting as often as one has the chance.

Matisse started working in the medium of paper cut-outs after surgery for cancer in his later years. His recovery brought an unexpected joy into his life, and a renewed sense of vigor about his work.

The cut-outs are testimony to this exuberance and joy, with bright bold colors, large seemingly random patterns, and organic compositions. Confined to a wheelchair at this point, he maneuvered through the complex process of creating the cut-outs with the help of a team of assistants.

One of my favorite parts of the exhibit was the work he did for the Chapelle du Rosaire, a small chapel on the grounds of a Dominican convent in Vence, France. The stained glass windows dance with light and vibrancy; Matisse’s designs for three vestments would wake up any sleepy congregation should reproductions ever become popular among our clerics.

I thought about this exhibit a few days ago, on Gaudete Sunday, our call to joy during the Advent season. The second reading for that day calls us to “rejoice,” and to rejoice always, words that, as Pope Francis reminds us, should be embedded in every human heart.

Whatever it is that brings us joy, whether music or art, our families or our friends, our work or our leisure –most likely all of these, at any given time – may this joy renew our sense of life in Christ as we await the celebration of Jesus’s birth.

Photo credit: Dasha Petrenko,


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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."