I'm reading in the morning "God is Near Us" on the Eucharist by then Cardinal Ratzinger (emeritus pope "Father Benedict" -- as he prefers to be called now). It's a pretty dense and academic book at least for me for 4:17 a.m. I was sluggishly working through it while on my heart was to read Pope Francis' comments to the Roman Curia from yesterday.
The Roman Curia is the administrative body of the Catholic Church. I saw yesterday on social media that Pope Francis gave a rousing challenge to those in the attendance. I was curious to read what he said, so I visited the Vatican's news site and read the following article here.
In the monastery, we set aside two or more times a day for Lectio Divina -- simply put, it's an intentional way to read and pray with scripture or other spiritual material. Occasionally, lectio-type revelations strike me from very modern-day texts ... such as Pope Francis' rousing challenge to the Curia.
Here's a simplified list of his "ailments" from his address:
- The sickness of considering oneself 'immortal', 'immune' or 'indispensable'
- 'Martha-ism', or excessive industriousness; the sickness of those who immerse themselves in work
- The sickness of mental and spiritual hardening
- The ailment of excessive planning and functionalism
- Sickness of poor coordination develops when the communion between members is lost, and the body loses its harmonious functionality and its temperance
- 'Spiritual Alzheimer's' disease, or rather forgetfulness of the history of Salvation
- The ailment of rivalry and vainglory
- Existential schizophrenia: the sickness of those who live a double life; This ailment particularly afflicts those who, abandoning pastoral service, limit themselves to bureaucratic matters
- The sickness of chatter, grumbling and gossip
- The sickness of deifying leaders is typical of those who court their superiors, with the hope of receiving their benevolence
- The disease of indifference toward others
- The illness of the funereal face: or rather, that of the gruff and the grim
- The disease of accumulation
- The ailment of closed circles
- The disease of worldly profit and exhibitionism
(Visit the link above for further details he provided on each. Worth the read!)
In years past, I said I would exercise more throughout the new year, or do a certain amount of pushups every day or walk after lunch, etc. In a conversation with a friend yesterday, we were talking about the body, the mind and the spirit. He said that when he focuses on fulfilling his spiritual needs the rest seems to fall into place. For him, healthy spiritual practices lead to healthy practices of the mind and body. This resonated with me.
So, this year, I'm looking to trim the spiritual fat out of my life. The journey inward in monastic life has been a blessing because I am seeing more and more the "immensely-greasy", "heavily-sugared" and "chemically-charged" "stuff" I am soaking in and seeping out. Each day in this journey, though, is a workout toward a healthy, balanced, nourishing and fruitful life of prayer and work.
On another note, last year, I found this link to a list of Pope Francis'ism that were listed in a New Year's resolution list. It's another helpful resource: http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/46933-new-year-resolutions-pope-francis-quotes
P.S. All 5 of us candidates were voted upon by the solemnly professed monks to move on to novitiate. We start our novitiate on January 19, 2015 for a year and day. It's a more formal period of discernment, prayer, work and study before, and God-willing, we make our temporary vows as monks.