IS MY DAD IN HEAVEN?

It was Emanuele’s turn to ask Pope Francis a question. When he got to the microphone, he froze and cried. “I can’t do it,” he said. Even a papal assistant couldn’t get him to loosen his tongue.

“Come, come to me, Emanuele,” the pope said. “Come and whisper your question in my ear.”

The aide helped the boy up to the platform where the pope was. Emanuele was sobbing, and Pope Francis enveloped him in a big embrace.

With their heads touching, the pope and the boy spoke privately to each other before Emanuele returned to his seat.

“If only we could all cry like Emanuele when we have an ache in our hearts like he has,” the pope told the children. “He was crying for his father and had the courage to do it in front of us because in his heart there is love for his father.”

With Emanuele’s permission, Pope Francis went on to share the boy’s question: “A little while ago my father died. He was a non-believer, but he had me and my brothers baptized. He was a good man. Is my dad in heaven?’’

“How beautiful to hear a son say of his father, ‘He was good,’” the pope told the children. “And what a beautiful witness of a son who inherited the strength of his father, who had the courage to cry in front of all of us. If that man was able to make his children like that, then it’s true, he was a good man. He was a good man.”

“God is the one who says who goes to heaven,” the Pope explained.

“What do you think? God has a dad’s heart. And with a dad who was not a believer, but who baptized his children and gave them that bravura, do you think God would be able to leave him far from himself?”

“Does God abandon his children?” the pope asked.

The children and all present shouted, “No.”

“There, Emanuele, that is the answer,” the pope told the boy. “God surely is proud of your father.”

Then Pope Francis encouraged Emanuele saying, “talk to your dad; pray to your dad.”

Source: Based on Cindy Wooden’s report
in Catholic News Service

CONSIDER THIS

What is heaven for you? How would you describe or define it?

Consider this short verse from Rumi:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make any sense.

Rumi as rendered by Coleman Barks in “The Essential Rumi”

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LACK OF RESPECT

A stranger, exuding joy,  went into church one day, a church that was not his own.  He mingled about with the parishioners patting them on the back, talking loudly and laughing in a gesture of friendship.  The parishioners were shocked with his familiarity and horrified at his “lack of respect” for a place of worship.  He was asked to leave.

On the doorstep, he was approached by God who said, “Cheer up, fella, I’ve been trying to get into that church for years!”

Source: Dare to Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord! by Erma Bombeck
in Ocala Star-Banner, February 26, 1970.| 7A

CONSIDER THIS

  • I cannot imagine a Christian who does not know how to smile. May we joyfully witness to our faith. —Pope Francis, February 4th, 2014
  • Evangelization in our time will only take place as the result of contagious joy. —Pope Francis, Message for the 29th World Youth Day, 21st January 2014
  • There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter.  —Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, #6
  • An evangelizer must never look like someone who has just come back from a funeral! —Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, #10
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