A Camillian Pope

A Camillian Pope? Pope Francis seems to have everything in order to claim – or to allow us to attribute to him – this title. This thought came to me when I was reading the text of the homily that he gave on the day that he took possession of the diocese of Rome. Three passages seem to me to be important and to allude – I would say, further, to identify with – the Camillian charism. Pope Francis talked about the guardianship, the tenderness and the identification of Jesus with the least, the poor and the sick.

Fr. Paolo Guarise has already spoken about guardianship. For me guardianship evokes the ‘taking care of’  and the ‘caring’ that are so central in our spirituality. They are deeper than simple treatment because they include an aspect of the relationship, a dimension of participation, and a passion that make the charism of St. Camillus unique!

Caring for and taking responsibility for are not mechanical actions or ascetic services. They are nourished by a richness of feelings, the most expressive of which is tenderness. Here the link with our spiritual tradition is very strong. Who does not remember the invitation of Camillus to care for the sick ‘with the same affection that a mother has for her sick only child’? Pope Francis has pointed out to us an important ingredient of relationships, a readiness that is often absent in our relationships!

Lastly, he referred to the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, a gospel passage that Camillus loved to listen to and hear commented upon. This is the Biblical reference point of our spirituality!

As one can see, Pope Francis – whether he wanted to or otherwise – used phrases with which each one of us can easily identify! Truly, a Camillian Pope!