Surprise, Surprise! Weekly Message 2-5-15

My impression of Pope Francis when he first appeared at the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square was of a man who seemed subdued, serene. Would that be the tone of the new papacy? Hardly.

Francis has been a most unpredictable figure, shunning papal palace and protocol alike and evading pigeonholing by pundits inside the Church and outside. And people generally love him.

His freshness of style is one sign that the Holy Spirit is renewing the Church in unexpected ways. Francis himself has spoken of the mysterious workings of providence. “We are afraid of God’s surprises!” he said in his homily at his first Easter Vigil Mass. “He always surprises us! The Lord is like that.”

Francis spoke those words in a spirit of wonder, not fear. For God is surprising but not intimidating. He is, after all, Truth itself, and “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

That confidence in God and his revelation is what undergirds our work at RCSpirituality.org. What God has revealed, he has revealed for the sake of our salvation. The Church is at the service of that revelation and teaches it in every generation.

Ask a Priest sees itself as part of that same mission when it fields questions from readers. We believe that there is no problem in the world that cannot benefit from the rays of light that come from the treasures of Church teaching.

This isn’t to say that the Church has easy answers for every problem. But that is OK. Our Lord seems to prefer leaving things a bit mysterious, maybe in part to keep us humble and prayerful.

Still, God has revealed a lot to the Church that can help people in all kinds of situations. That is why the e-mails that arrive at Ask a Priest, while being at times surprising, are never intimidating. Whatever problems people have, God has already foreseen them and offered some kind of response through his Church. Ask a Priest aims to relay some of those responses with clarity and sensitivity.

So if you have a question that weighs on your heart, feel free to send it along. We might all be surprised by what the Holy Spirit can accomplish through a simple exchange of e-mails.

God bless,

Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor

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