Holy Spirit of Love you moved the water and gave light and colour to our world.
You fill all things with life and beauty and give to our heart the joy of love.
Fill my mind today with your light so that I may rejoice in your creation
and in my happiness raise my heart to you.
I pray with Mary and the whole Church for the Pope’s intentions this month:
That we may take good care of creation – a gift freely given – cultivating and protecting it for future generations.
That opportunities may increase for dialogue and encounter between the Christian faith and the peoples of Asia.
‘What name have you chosen?’ ‘Francis’, responded the newly elected Pope. The reply surprised many for there had never been a Pope Francis.
One day in a derelict church in Assisi, some 800 years ago, a young man named Francis heard a voice saying, ‘Go and repair my church which is falling down.’ Francis did so. This drew him to a life of poverty, humility and simplicity. Pope Francis is a man of similar mindset.
Most of the countries in South-East Asia are Buddhist. Their brand of Buddhism is known as MAHAYANA, which is open minded and reaches out to people and dialogue.
In the late eighteen hundreds, the British moved from India into Myanmar and it became a crown colony. Then came missionaries, Protestant and Catholic, mainly. The French army pushed into Vietnam, colonising it, as well as Cambodia and Laos. Only Thailand escaped colonisation, which today is something of the past, but memories of brutal suppression linger. Pope Francis advises today’s missionaries to be humble, simple, showing due respect for indigenous religions. Dialogue rather than confrontation should be sought. Pope Francis’ off the cuff, ‘Who am I to condemn someone?’ must have given hope to many people around the world. There are encouraging signs in the East. Korea has seen a surge in the number of Christian converts. Each summer in Japan, an international meeting of Christian, Buddhist and other religions takes place in Kyoto. Dialogue meetings involving Catholics, Buddhists and others are held at least every two months in Tokyo and annually a much larger meeting for people from all sorts of background.
- Fr Patrick Brangan SJ, extracted from Living Prayer