Pope Francis “Reaching Out” To Recovering Drug Addicts In Love, Mercy and Compassion

Pope Francis is showing the world how to live the life of Christ.

By John Francis Carey

Yesterday, Pope Francis visited recovering drug addicts at the St Francis of Assisi of the Providence of God Hospital located in the run-down and tough Tijuca district of northern Rio de Janeiro.

Just as he washed the feet of young people on Holy Thursday, re-creating the day Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, yesterday the Pope went out to “hug the lepers.”

Of course, medical sciences has largely saved us from leprosy so the Pope sought out other displaced and often overlooked people: the drug addicts who live in the darker corners of our crowded South American slums.

During the event, the Vatican published a very small picture of the pontiff passing under a statue of his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi.  I like to call this statue “Saint Francis Reaching For The Birds.”

The Pope reminded us of St. Francis himself and the timeless unity of effort from the saints of old until our “saints” today — men like Pope Francis.

Christ taught us what to do and how to act. The Gospels, often overlooks, and passed down to us through the ages, provide a timeless workbook on how to live the Christ-like life.

What the Gospels teach us of Jesus and his way of life are easily pushed aside by our “modern” world’s crushing pursuit of money, fame, drugs, possessions and the other distractions of the material world — the very things that consume us too easily if we neglect our spiritual development.

Among English Language idioms “for the birds” means meaningless or worthless — something not worth chasing. After all: birds eat seeds which aren’t worth much!

But here we have a photograph of one spiritual man’s journey as he passes below a statue of his namesake — and they are both, in their own way,  “reaching for the birds.”

Pope Francis has give me, and us, a reminder that what many here on earth may call work that is “for the birds” is actually the work of love and mercy Jesus expects us to be doing!

John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom

St Francis of Assisi statue “Reaching for the Birds,” Huerto de Los Cipreses, Murcia, Spain

Pope Francis earlier this year “reaching for the birds”. Pope Francis holds a dove before his weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican May 15, 2013. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

Pope Francis greets a man as he meets with patients, family and staff at St. Francis of Assisi Hospital in Rio de Janeiro July 24. The pope addressed a group of recovering drug addicts offering them a message of compassion and hope as well as a call to s elf-determination. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

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