I've been thinking recently how great it would be when Pope Francis would get his first encyclical out, but I didn't know when that would happen. And it happened this weekend, I think! Anyway, I know it's out because I've read it and I love it! I also love that the first draft was written by Papa Ben before he stepped down. I love that there is the melding of the two in this letter that fits so well with the historic way this particular succession has gone.
So many things... I hope I will have the perseverance to go back and reread this and soak it up a bit more. But I loved how it put into words so many things that I have been feeling recently, only of course it said it better than I could and also added so much. It is about the light of faith, and it is a light that is desperately needed right now!
Allow me to let Pope Francis say it from his words in the Intro:
We come to see that faith does not dwell in shadow and gloom; it is a light for our darkness. Dante, in the Divine Comedy, after professing his faith to Saint Peter, describes that light as a "spark, which then becomes a burning flame and like a heavenly star within me glimmers". It is this light of faith that I would now like to consider, so that it can grow and enlighten the present, becoming a star to brighten the horizon of our journey at a time when mankind is particularly in need of light.
I mean, how could you not love this:
Faith is no refuge for the fainthearted, but something which enhances our lives. It makes us aware of a magnificent calling, the vocation of love. It assures us that this love is trustworthy and worth embracing, for it is based on God’s faithfulness which is stronger than our every weakness.
To speak of faith often involves speaking of painful testing, yet it is precisely in such testing that Paul sees the most convincing proclamation of the Gospel, for it is in weakness and suffering that we discover God’s power which triumphs over our weakness and suffering.
I don't often sit down and read an entire encyclical, though I have had the intention of doing so at various times. I did read this one though, fairly easily. I highly encourage you to head here and check it out for yourself because it is definitely worth it!