Saturday, September 21, 2013

St Matthew and Pope Francis

Caravaggio - "The Calling of St Matthew"

The stunning interview that Pope Francis gave to La Civilta Cattolica has been the talk of the town, or of the world this week. I will share a few lines from it later on, but today I refer to the reference Pope Francis made to St Matthew, whose feast we celebrate today. In the course of the interview, the Pope says: “I do not know Rome well. I know a few things. These include the Basilica of St. Mary Major; I always used to go there. I know St. Mary Major, St. Peter’s...but when I had to come to Rome, I always stayed in Via della Scrofa. From there I often visited the Church of St. Louis of France, and I went there to contemplate the painting of ‘The Calling of St. Matthew,’ by Caravaggio.
Detail from Caravaggio's "The Calling of St Matthew"
"That finger of Jesus, pointing at Matthew. That’s me. I feel like him. Like Matthew. It is the gesture of Matthew that strikes me: he holds on to his money as if to say, ‘No, not me! No, this money is mine.’ Here, this is me, a sinner on whom the Lord has turned his gaze. And this is what I said when they asked me if I would accept my election as pontiff.” Then the Pope whispers in Latin: “I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept in a spirit of penance.”

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