Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Met. Siluan Muci's Meeting with Pope Francis

Met. Siluan of Buenos Aires, himself born in Venezuela, was the representative of the Patriarchate of Antioch at the inaugural mass for Pope Francis. He has been sharing reflections on some of his experiences in Rome on the website of his diocese. Spanish originals here and here.

Pope Francis' Private, Informal Audience with Metropolitan Siluan

March 17, 2013

This first night at the Vatican, Sunday, March 17 was wonderful and unexpected. The location was not so special, rather the meeting with a man who is "great" but also very easygoing in his approach with others.  "Great" men, in the functions and roles that they have always put on-- or rather, we dress them with-- magnificense, grandeur, etc., something that does not cause us to approach such majesty.

All this would change that night for me. This change was important in order for me to find the words that I felt and wanted to express to Pope Francis.

Very simply, during the dinner in the dining room of the "Saint Martha House", I commented to the pope, to whose right I was sitting in the meeting with the Orthodox bishops from Buenos Aires, that I had a letter from our patriarch His Beautitude John X, as well as a personal gift that I wanted to give him. So he offered to receive me directly after the meeting in his apartment. In reality it was not an apartment, but rather a bedroom that they had assigned him during the Conclave, where he is still residing.

He told me the room's number and I went up to see him.

Everything that I wanted to say to convey was said-- this time in Spanish! Some things that we exchanged will remain in the privacy of this meeting, out of respect for the personal thoughts that were brought up there.  This informal papal audience lasted ten minutes. A time outside of time and the protocols that we see in the media: in humility and simplicity. Nothing more.

But I can indeed share some of what we said when I gave him the icon of Saint Silouan. I had written a personal letter to him, thinking that I would not have the occasion to express it personally. I will share it here:

Your Holiness Francis
Bishop of Rome and Pope of the Roman Catholic Church

Your Holiness,

I approach with this very particular "present": it is not a gift, but rather a saint, always "present". It is of the one whose name I bear: Saint Silouan of Mount Athos (+ 1938). I hand you a saint with his prayer, "Merciful Lord, I pray that you may cause all the peoples of the world to know You by Your Holy Spirit." He will accompany you on this path that God's Providence has chosen for you. "

The icon is "simple", but written with Argentine hands, from our Church, with much love and prayer. This way you  will be able to have it in the cell where you pray. I am also including the book of the writings of Saint Silouan in Spanish and a small cross from the place where Saint Silouan lived. It is something "simple" in form but with deep meaning, which I would like for Your Holiness to have have now. May God grant that it be for your benefit, inspiration, and illumination on the paths of the Lord.
This is the best communion that I can offer in response to the repeated supplications that Your Holiness has never ceased to make from the ministry that you occupied and that you now occupy.
May God bless us for the service of His holy name!

+Metropolitan Siluan
Archbishop of Buenos Aires and all Argentina
Of the Patriarchate of Antioch and all the East

Pope Francis' Three Qualities

March 19, 2013

The twofold act of asking and listening is a very enriching experience. This is how one goes about learning and growing.

I want to share such an experience in these lines, that of the three qualities of Pope Francis. I had the opportunity at today's dinner, March 18 2013, where various cardinals were present alongside the Patriarch of Constantinople and the delegation from the Patriarchate of Moscow.

At the table where the cardinals from Cuba, Ecuador, Santo Domingo, etc. were gathered, I wanted to know the opinions that they had of the pope. So each one of them agreed to answer the question: What are the qualities of Pope Francis?

I will share below some of the answers that I received. Some of it I already shared with [Argentine news station] C5N, who asked me to share some of what I experienced here.

One emphasized the fact that the pope is an organizer, who knows where and how to get something done, a man of great simplicity and mercy.

Another emphasized that the pope is a man who understands his surroundings well, who is generous, a man of words who knows how to speak without offending.

A third said that he is a humble man, who is transparent, honest, who knows things in Latin America who will know how to tell those who correspond from each of those countries what he will have to do.

A fourth spoke of the sacramental aspect, of the Eucharistic celebration, of his knowledge of the fact that he is very hard-working.

As for me, something I did not share at the table, I believe that he is a person who deeply loves Jesus Christ, respects every person without discrimination, and who is a person who does not worry about things, whether or not they go well, but rather keeps to prayer and from there waits for strength and the response. He really has faith and knows how to live faith and who also, by his sincerity, inspires others to think that faith is something real, true, and authentic, leaving them the time and the freedom to live it.

No comments: