10 Years of Francis: MAGIS
Fr. Ramesh Vanan, SJ, is an Indian Jesuit currently ministering in Guyana. He is today’s subject for our “10 Years of Francis” series.
MAGIS is an Ignatian value that is willfully embraced and embedded within me. It has become an integral part of me and my daily life, which in turn leads me to serve Our Lord and His people in Guyana. Pope Francis’ Papacy has underscored for me an appreciation for, and helped me to weave the essence of, this same MAGIS in a different dimension: keeping things simple, acknowledging that no one is greater than our Creator, not judging, asking for forgiveness, expressing myself in a simple manner, embracing spirituality in the smallest of things, smelling like the sheep, caring for the common good of all, keeping the Church doors open, remembering the poor, embracing the diverseness of people, being present to the reality of the world, and above all being engaged in the needs of the people.
I appreciate that through his faith and action, Pope Francis has inspired me in my ministry. The way the Church in Guyana has engaged itself in wanting to contribute to the growth of the universal Church is a great example. This can be borne out through the message Pope Francis gifts to the faithful all over the world, and specifically in Guyana. Time and time again he underscores the importance of the Church listening to its people and responding in Christ-like ways to their calls. They hear his message, and it has unlocked a strength of faith within them. One elderly participant in a hearing session for the synod said, “please tell Papa (Pope Francis) to eat well and rest well so that he might be healthy enough to continue leading the Church”.
Pope Francis’s gentleness of spirit has touched the simple people who inhabit the remotest parts of the Amazon Basin. As such, the people feel that the church hears and cares for them and their Spiritual growth. I hope and pray on the 10thanniversary of his papacy that God blesses and grants him enough graces to lead our Mother Church into these contemporary times.
Those four words, as seemingly simple themes, could be used to describe the papacy of Pope Francis that started 10 years ago today. Though the world has changed much in the last decade, Pope Francis has consistently asked for people of good will...
“I first met our Pope Francis when I entered the Society in Argentina. During my almost 3 years there, “Padre Jorge” was my Rector and we lived in the same house. Right from the beginning, we were all amazed at his creativity...”
“As I recall the ministry of my namesake, who wanted to be like the poor of Assisi, to serve the world and the Church, I find that the greatest ministry of Pope Francis is to be found NOT in his policy positions on the issues that shake humanity...”
“Pope Francis and I actually share a special date. On the morning of Wednesday, 13th of March, 2013, I met with the Jesuit in charge of vocations in my area and asked to join the Jesuits. His Papacy has accompanied my formation ever since...”
“Shaking Pope Francis’ hand, I am most struck by his tenderness in action. Rewind. It was the summer of 2019 and I was interning for the office of communications at the Jesuit Curia in Rome. One afternoon, word got around that there would be a low-key papal visit...”
“It is 13 March 2013. I am parish priest in Matero, a sprawling poor neighborhood of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. More than 10,000 kilometers away in Rome, the cardinals are in conclave. I have just celebrated evening Mass and I am chatting away with parishioners...”