Holy Father, I cannot imagine the weight of being the 266th successor of St. Peter! The entire Church of more than a billion people, look to you for leadership, clarity, and nuturing. It is an awesome responsibility. The world is much different than in the days of St. Peter, but the instruction from our Lord Jesus Christ remains the same: “Feed my lambs..Tend my sheep…Feed my sheep…Follow Me.” John 21:15-19
I love the Church Jesus founded on His rock, St. Peter. I was baptized Catholic as an infant, was married in the Church, and in recent years have witnessed my grandchildren receive their First Communion. I love the sacraments and understand how precious and wonderful are the treasures of the Church. These treasures are not money or priceless art, but the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. His living presence is among us to this day! The Eucharist is guarded by His Church, but also worshipped and adored. Along with His physical presence, the Church and its leadership are entrusted with keeping sacred the Words and Teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Truth and the Way.
These are dark days. As the world blocks out the light of Jesus, darkness prevails. Many have fallen into this darkness, including some who were ordained into leadership roles of the Church. Humans are weak. Even St. Peter at the dawn of the Church denied Jesus Christ. It was a dark time, but the Holy Spirit gave courage, wisdom and guidance. A few men fed a handful of sheep with the Truth, which led to a world wide Church today.
Holy Father, you are a man of great humility. I see God’s mercy in all that you do and say. As we celebrate Advent and the coming of Jesus, my birthday wish for you is that the Holy Spirit give you the courage, wisdom and guidance to bring the light back. Please have the courage to speak the Truth and “speak the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:31
The flock of Jesus need to understand that sin does exist, so as to avoid the darkenss. “If your brother sins rebuke him, and if repents, forgive him.” Luck 17:3
Being cautious of offending, has watered down the Truth of Jesus Christ. Holy Father, be the voice of clarity and truth in this precious Church. May the Holy Spirit always inspire you and give you courage to feed His lambs, tend His sheep, feed His sheep and Follow Him.
Happy Birthday Pope Francis!