Fr. Bernard McGuckian, S.J., the Apostleship of Prayer director for Ireland, has been visiting me for the past few weeks. In the course of various conversations he said that for the first time in his 76 years he can say that he understands the particular spirituality of the pope. The reason is that Pope Francis was formed in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius as was Fr. McGuckian and every other Jesuit, including myself. Now, as I read various homilies and talks of Pope Francis, I look for threads of the Spiritual Exercises.
Recently, another friend of mine, Maureen O'Riordan who has a marvelous website about St. Therese of Lisieux, blogged about the connection between Pope Francis and this saint who is the second patron of the Apostleship of Prayer. When he was a cardinal visiting Rome, Pope Francis was in the habit of going to a Franciscan church where he would stop at a statue of St. Therese and pray. You can read the rest of the story here.
As time goes by and we approach the month of the Sacred Heart I'll be eager to learn more about Pope Francis' devotion to the Heart of Jesus and his involvement with the Apostleship of Prayer which is an apostolate of the Jesuits in Argentina and throughout the world.