Open Letter to Pope Saint Francis

Yours is a face of quiet tenderness.  Your ways follow in the footsteps of the fisherman.  Your heart beats with Saint Francis.  So, it is with a full and hope filled heart, I offer you the poem of Saint Francis as a gift, with a message from the hope that is, as yet, still silent within the suffering ones, the poor of spirit, among us today – the helpless, innocent children who wake every morning remembering, the priests who would run but cannot escape the hell burning within, and the Cardinals who knew but turned away.  You, kind soul, have been given the fortuitous opportunity to truly become an instrument of peace, to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, to do what Jesus would have done, today.  I pray you will.

My gift to you…

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;

Give me the courage to do what the law of Your Heart does compel;

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Help me to lay open the silent pulse of despair so Your Love may soothe the raw burn of our common wound; 

where there is injury, pardon;

For only then… May Your tender Mercy save us from the prison of our inaction;  

where there is doubt, faith;

For only then… May Your Presence act to restore the sacred bonds of trust now broken; 

where there is despair, hope;

For only then… May Your Compassion crack a window in the locked chamber of our neglect to welcome the first rays of healing and forgiveness;

where there is darkness, light;

Help me to bring You, Dear Jesus, the Light of the world, into our darkness so we, the blind, may once again truly see You among us…

and where there is sadness, joy.

And, finally, come to know the true meaning of being born again, to walk hand in hand, saint and sinner together, in the healing balm of Your Grace, and come to love one another as You have loved us.

O Divine Master, grant…

that I may not so much seek…
consolation as to console those laid bare on my doorstep…
that I may not so much seek…
understanding as to understand the true depth of despair of those bound fast to me…

O Divine Master, grant that I may lead Your church to love as only You would have us to love and be loved in return…

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

In June of 2012, I wrote a letter to your predecessor Pope Benedict XVI.  Having no way to know if he read the letter, I will include my charge to him here for you…

If just one child has been hurt by our lack of awareness, over-site or mismanagement; If just one child has been hurt while serving in our trusted care, indeed, it is one too many. So, unified, we rise up as the living body of Christ, ready to respond as we know our Lord Jesus Christ would have us respond. 

Starting immediately, all the major parishes of our Catholic Church, worldwide, will join with their local mental health professionals to create and sustain, free to the public, centers of healing for all those children and adult children who have been victims of sexual abuse by priests and others. Furthermore, these healing centers will also offer programs to provide care for the perpetrators of abuse, priests and others, for our Lord has said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” We will welcome all, victims and perpetrators, into the heart of our Lord through our open doors and we will soothe the wounds of the suffering with the living balm of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Kind Sir, walk in the footsteps of the fisherman.  Pulse a beacon of light to the lost.  Throw out a wide net to rescue those sinking in a bottomless sea of darkness.  I pray you be besieged by love everlasting to rise up and live out your destiny, to become the instrument of peace, Saint Francis for our times.  I believe Jesus would expect no less.

As Mother Teresa once said, “I believe Jesus is asking this of me and I never say ‘no’ to Jesus.” As a result, her healing ministry touched the world. Will you do the same?

1 Comment

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One response to “Open Letter to Pope Saint Francis

  1. Ginny Jackson

    Stephanie, This is so beautiful. I feel your authenticity when I read this. Thank you for offering it. Ginny

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