As Reformed, we pray for the Pope of prayer
As Reformed, we pray for the Pope of prayer
As Reformed, we pray for the Pope of prayer --It’s only natural, isn’t it? “What do you think, we are reformed!” – It is certainly not natural to find and walk the narrow path between those who walk the broad highway of these two opposing opinions and have a similar understanding, neither today nor at home. According to some, the even bigger “scandal” is that we pray as Reformed pastors. In our morning and evening prayer with my fellow servant Klaudia, not only during the papal visit, on occasion, but for ten years quietly and continuously for Pope Franciscus. For the Christian man who, even under the papal tiara symbolizing spiritual power and the shiny, once-wear, expensive pontifex vestments, remains first and foremost a modest and humble brother. The one who arrived at the shiny Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica in black high-heeled shoes. Since he became the Holiness of Rome 10 years ago, he has never once worn the silk shoes that belong to all popes. We pray for the man about whom, since his election, I have had to write and publish with the spirit of inner prompting and theological, believing Christian conviction, under the guidance of God’s Spirit – pneumatically, by command from above, by inspiration. For example, on March 15, 2013, the protestant agnusradio.ro from Cluj-Napoca reported on the procedure of his election under the title “Not an eye was left dry in the Sistine Chapel” on the side. In the year of his election, he also wrote about this twice on the Cluj-Napoca blog: “The pedestrian pope and the transformation of Brazilian Christianity” (July 23, 2013), and then under the title “Holy management” versus monetary dictatorship (November 29, 2013). And then again every year, on topics like: “I apologize to you for the Catholics tempted by the devil” (2014), then on: “For the first time in history, a pope opened the UN General Assembly” (2015). However, an article written in 2016 remains the most profound and most lasting experience as an author: “In my dream, as a reformed person, I talked with the Pope – Let our thoughts and words kneel before God”. Now that I, along with my Hungarian Catholic brothers, await the arrival of the head of the church and the pilgrim pope, my brother in Christ, with interest and prayer, the dream images come to mind. A glimpse of this, when I was able to walk with the pedestrian pope in the soul-lifting great silence of St. Peter’s Basilica: “Then we moved on. The pope also made sure to walk on my left the whole time, holding my left arm tightly. What manners! The Pope’s tactful sense of etiquette was also necessary, because we could only get ahead through such a crowd that was not regulated by a cordon, there were no Swiss Guards, security guards, bodyguards, there were neither swords nor pistols, no human protection of any kind. Only attentive and respectful tact. Humility reigns. I asked: “Aren’t you afraid?” The answer was clear: – Why should I be afraid? I did not receive the Spirit of fear… Slowly we arrived at the exit of the church. He said softly: “Excuse me, I have work to do.” Mass must be said. Before he could continue, I took the floor somewhat impolitely: – As a Hungarian Reformed, I wish that the Spirit of our God would sanctify his life, his thoughts, and his words, from which he would not leave us, even the Reformed, out of them next time! It is interesting how the Lord of the dream shapes our words! Because this was the answer of Pope Francis: – I also wish God’s blessing on you. Then, as if he had read the above in my soul, he added, barely audibly: – Yes, that’s right: our thoughts and words must kneel before God! Let’s show this by kneeling together in prayer. I experienced the uplifting bliss of this moment. Kneeling, the joy of our bursting soul making a pilgrimage to God from the depths of humility. It was a glorious moment. I can still feel its mood even now, even after the dream has left…”. Today, on the first day of the papal visit, I am sitting here in the “little chapel” of my study. In front of me on a black mini wooden cross with the body of our Lord Christ made of sackcloth, which a Latin American boy brought to me during one of my trips to Rome, just after the Pope’s address at noon on Sunday. The branch of my oily, shiny green, evergreen table palm arches above and around it. Appropriately for the current papal visit, two books of Pope Francis: Apostolic Exhortation beginning with the Joy of the Gospel and Prayer – The Breath of New Life c. volume. Not far from these two papal volumes, two truly Reformed works, close at arm’s length, are my everyday companions among the desktop editions of the Bible in Hungarian and other languages. János Kálvin’s very clear, conceptual cathedral on the system of the Christian religion, an excellent translation of the 1559 edition of the famous Institutio Christianae Religionis into our modern language by our Transylvanian father Dezső Buzogány. And the book on prayer by Rudolf Bohren, the incomparable, Spirit-led, pneumatic Swiss Reformed theologian, published by Kálvin Publishing, entitled Let’s Learn to Pray. Why am I mentioning all this? Because in these three great worshipers speak: beyond times, ages, places and denominations in the harmony of the Holy Spirit, consonantly, in unison, as in the harmony of the most beautiful pieces of music, and as at the first Pentecost. Calvin, Bohren, Pope Francis. It’s strange, but it says the same thing: life is prayer – prayer is life. Prayer is the lungs and heart of our Christian life. And our personal line, and the “holy tool” that lifts the fate of the world from the death march. The prima et ultima ratio – oratio as a sustaining traversal of existence: because our first and last chance, when there is nothing else left, our only rational action – is prayer. Standing on the foundation or rampart of this fundamental Christian truth, prayer is not a passing dream, but the steel structure of our existence, the eternal source of our daily peace, our most peaceful weapon of the Spirit. This is what can “sprout” flowers, life, future, survival, blossom out of itself. The “miracle weapon” of prayer. Universal, religious, our common core value, our diamond reserve, beyond denominational dogmas. What and how Pope Francis puts it: “In the face of people who do not have good intentions, who only seek scandal, who only incite discord, who only want to destroy, even in the family: all that remains is silence. And the prayer”. Then a few lines down: “When I pray, I always take the Scriptures in my hands. And peace is growing in me.” How protestant thoughts! Because really deep, Christian truths are universal, like Christ himself. In the exhortation at the beginning of the Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium), it is not by chance that he writes about “the irrevocable ecclesiastical renewal”, which is the work of the Holy Spirit and prayer. Since he received seeing eyes from the Lord, the Holy Spirit gives his name to the many pains and human miseries of our time through his grace of insight. And the root causes: exclusionary wealth, the idolization of money, violence-inciting inequality, some cultural distortions, and the specific pitfalls of urban cultures. It is also through the calling of the Spirit in prayer and in the thus created pneumatic community that human speech is transformed into a personal one, the Word becomes alive through spiritual, pneumatic reading, into fire, warmth, and life mediated by letters.
I was close to Pope Francis at his 2022 Christmas Eve liturgy. The humility and restraint of his words intensified my attention even more. He was crystal clear. Personally, biblically, with love. I wrote about this on the Felvidék.ma portal under the title “As a Hungarian Reformed at Pope Francis’ Christmas Eve homily in St. Peter’s Basilica”. His closing prayer calling to Jesus was written in my soul: “Help us to live and practice our faith in reality.” We completely agreed/understood Pope Francis on this then and now. With a good heart and a good conscience, we do what he asks at the end of almost every speech before, during and after his visit to Hungary: Pray for me! We pray for you Franciscus… (Dr. Lajos Békefy/Felvidék.ma) The article is in Hungarian Tags: Reformed pray Pope prayer