"God’s style is closeness, a special, compassionate and tender closeness. These are three words that define the life of a priest, and of a Christian as well, because they are taken precisely from God’s style: closeness, compassion and tenderness."Pope Francis shows us by his words and example that God’s style is not aloof, distant, detached, disinterested, indifferent, or judgemental. Rather, our God is close, tender, and compassionate. Having had the opportunity to see Pope Francis up close and to encounter him on several occasions, I have been touched by the way that Pope Francis witnesses to this style of God not only with his words and teaching, but most of all with his life and his way of being with people.
"True faith in the incarnate Son of God is inseparable from self-giving, from membership in the community, from service, from reconciliation with others. The Son of God, by becoming flesh, summoned us to the revolution of tenderness." (Evangelii Gaudium, #88)
"God never ever tires of forgiving us! […] The problem is that we ourselves tire, we do not want to ask, we grow weary of asking for forgiveness. […] Let us never tire, let us never tire! He is the loving Father who always pardons, who has that heart of mercy for us all. And let us too learn to be merciful to everyone. Let us invoke the intercession of Our Lady who held in her arms the Mercy of God made man."
"Dear brothers and sisters, may this Synod be a true season of the Spirit! For we need the Spirit, the ever new breath of God, who sets us free from every form of self-absorption, revives what is moribund, loosens shackles and spreads joy."As we mark ten years of his ministry as Pope, let us thank God for Francis’ witness to Jesus as a pastor who lives the style of the Gospel. Let us be touched by the ways that we have witnessed God’s style living and active in our Holy Father. More importantly, let us humbly receive God’s closeness, tenderness, compassion, and joy in our own lives, and be encouraged and moved to live out God’s style in our daily relationships with the people around us, beginning with those most in need. May Francis’ example inspire us to let our hearts be touched by Jesus, so that we may go out to touch the flesh of Christ in our brothers and sisters in humanity. Father of tender mercy, pour into our hearts the Spirit of Your love, so that we can follow Jesus as we walk with our brothers and sisters. Bless our Pope Francis, and make his ministry bear much fruit in the mission of Your Church, for the life of the world that You so love. Amen.