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Pope at Santa Marta Copyright: Vatican Media

Pope at Santa Marta: “A Priest Must Look with the Eyes of Man and with the Eyes of God”

The Pontiff’s Homage to Don Bosco

“Don Bosco had the courage to look at reality with the eyes of man and with the eyes of God. May each priest imitate him, looking at reality with the eyes of man and with the eyes of God,” tweeted Pope Francis on January 31, 2019, words taken from his meditation during this morning’s Mass at Saint Martha’s.

In his homily, reported by “Vatican News,” the Holy Father recalled the figure of Don Bosco’s mother, a simple woman “who had not studied at the Faculty of Theology,” and who, at the moment of his Ordination, said to him: “Henceforth, you’re going to begin to suffer.” The Pontiff explained that a priest suffers, not because he is a “fakir,” but because he looks at reality with the eyes of men and of God.

Seeing boys left to themselves in the streets, Don Bosco “was moved as a man, and he began to think of ways . . . human ways, to make the young grow. And then he had the courage to look with God’s eyes . . . with a father’s love. And looking at God with the eyes of a beggar who asks for light, he began to go forward, “ stressed the Pope.

A priest must have “these two polarities,” continued Pope Francis. “To look at reality with the eyes of man and with the eyes of God,” and, to do so, he must spend “much time before the Tabernacle.”

Don Bosco “didn’t come only with the catechism and the crucifix, saying ‘do that.’ The youths would have said to him “Good night, see you tomorrow.’ No, no, he approached them with their vivacity. He made them play . . . he walked with them, he listened to them, he saw with them, he cried with them and he led them further.”

A priest must look at people “humanly,” and be “always unpretentious.” And the Holy Father warned once again: the priest “isn’t a functionary who receives from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm.” “We have so many good functionaries, who do their job . . . but a priest can’t be one. A priest looks with a man’s perspective to “understand that they are (his)children, (his) brothers” and he has “the courage to go to fight there: the priest is one who fights with God.”

If We Don’t Take the Risk

“There is always the risk of looking too much at man and not at the divine, or too much at the divine and not at man,” admitted the Holy Father, but “if we don’t take risks in life, we’ll do nothing.”

“What is the sign that a priest is doing well, that he looks at reality with the eyes of man and the eyes of God?” asked the Pope. Joy . . . When a priest doesn’t have joy in himself, he must stop immediately and ask himself why. Don Bosco’s joy is known, he is the master of joy, huh? Because he rejoiced others and he himself rejoiced.”

“Let us ask the Lord today, through the intercession of Don Bosco, for the grace that our priests be joyful, joyful because they have the true sense of looking …. . . with the eyes of man and with the eyes of God,” he concluded.

About Anne Kurian

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