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When I was growing up there was a wonderful series on that still new medium … television.

“You are there” featured dramatic recreations of events in history – the Boston Tea Party, the Pony express, the Battle of the Alamo, Pearl Harbor, the Crusades, and even the Death of the great philosopher Socrates.

The legendary Walter Cronkite, at his anchor desk in New York City, spoke briefly on what was about to happen.  CBS News reporters on the scene reported the action and interviewed the people involved in each of the historical episodes. An announcer then proclaimed a loud and boldly spoken: “You are there!” At the end, Cronkite’s trade-mark closing…

“What sort of day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times… all things are as they were then, except you were there.”

So what is it like to have a personal audience with the Pope?

I asked myself that question when I experienced the latest in a little-known series of one-on-one videos of Pope Francis.

I use a large desktop monitor as a favor to my eyes. I watched the latest in the series of the Pope explaining his prayer intention for the month of November People who suffer from depression. For one minute and 25 seconds, I was almost nose to nose with him. Very brief, yet powerful, video cut-aways made his words even more meaningful.  

His 150-word message clearly came from his heart. At various points, it seemed he looked straight into my heart. I felt I was there! … I wasn’t, but it felt like it!

A pastor speaks to a stressed out flock

Overwork and work-related stress cause many people to experience extreme exhaustion —mental, emotional, affective, and physical exhaustion.

Sadness, apathy, and spiritual tiredness end up dominating people’s lives, who are overloaded due to the rhythm of life today.

Let us try to be close to those who are exhausted, to those who are desperate, without hope. Often, we should just simply listen in silence, because we cannot go and tell someone, “No, life’s not like that. Listen to me, I’ll give you the solution.” There’s no solution.

And besides, let us not forget that, along with the indispensable psychological counseling, which is useful and effective, Jesus’ words also help. It comes to my mind and heart: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Let us pray that people who suffer from depression or burn-out will find support and a light that opens them up to life.

And we are there at the last supper!

Every time we gather in Eucharist, we relive the memory of Jesus washing the feet of disciples and instructing them to wash one another’s feet as he has washed their feet!

An invitation

If you experience this video as I did you may wish to experience other visits with the pope.

Here are links to 5 recent videos I was touched by. They are each one to two minutes long.

  • The Sacrament of reconciliation A particularly powerful clip showing the Pope entering confessional just as any other penitent in St. Peters to confess to whoever was on duty.
  • Missionary disciples “The mission is based on an encounter between people, on the testimony of men and women who say, “I know Jesus, and I’d like you to know Him too.”
  • Church on the way “Let us begin reforming the Church with a reform of ourselves”
  • The beauty of marriage Marriage is “a demanding journey, at times difficult, and at times complicated, but it’s worth making the effort.”
  • Women who are victims of violence “The testimonies of the victims who dare to break their silence are a cry for help that we cannot ignore. We must not look the other away.”

Click below for an audio version of this Vincentian Mindwalk

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