The Holy Father affirms WINE: Women In the New Evangelization, BIG TIME!
I think the article POPE FRANCIS: WANT TO CELEBRATE WELL? DRINK WINE, by Catholic News Agency, shows that Pope Francis knows a WINE pilgrimage is heading his way!
The Holy Father's words this week echo that which runs through everything WINE: Invitation, God-given Gifts of Women, JOY, Relationship with Others, Deeper Relationship with Jesus, Taking Mary's final words to heart and doing the will of God! All of these are the essence of WINE and all of these are going to be at the heart of our WINE & Shrine Pilgrimage—all of them!
Invitation: The focus is "the wedding feast in Cana"... someone invited Mary to a wedding. Scripture tells us that and it tells us that "Jesus was also invited "(John 2:1-3). A miracle began with a simple invitation. WINE is all about inviting women into relationship with other women, such that they can be supported and nurtured as they grow in relationship with Jesus.
God-given Gifts of Women: One of these key moments, Francis said, comes with Mary’s observation that newlywed couple’s resources have depleted, and that at a certain point “they have no wine.” WINE teaches women to embrace the gifts of womanhood, the gifts Pope John Paul the Great illuminated for us, the gifts of receptivity, sensitivity, generosity, and our maternal gifts.
Joy: While water is necessary to live, “wine expresses the abundance of the banquet and the joy of the feast,” Francis said. WINE is infused with JOY—always! (John 16:22)
Relationship with Others: In the expression that Jesus was “with his disciples,” it’s made clear that the ones Jesus has called to follow him are now bound together as a community and as a family, he said. WINE is all about relationships, because women are all about relationships. In fact, we are radically relational!
Deeper Relationship with Jesus: Francis said that the foundation of our faith is “an act of mercy with which Jesus has bound us to himself.” The Christian life, then, “is a response to this love, it’s the story of two lovers.” WINE & Shrine is a journey to bring us closer to the heart of our Beloved bridegroom during an extraordinary year of mercy.
Following Our Blessed Mother's Words: This mission, following Mary’s directive to “Do whatever he tells you,” means serving the Lord by listening to his Word and putting it into practice, Francis continued, adding that “it’s the simple but essential recommendation of the Mother of Jesus and it’s the program of the Christian life.” Not to sound like my earthly mother, but if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, WINE is about following our Heavenly Mother's final words to us in Sacred Scripture and doing the will of God... It's just a bit easier to do that when you have your sisters in Christ supporting you!
Bottom line: Pope Francis and WINE are a very good pairing!
I want to encourage you, as we pack our bags and prepare our hearts in this final week before flying to the Eternal City, to read John 2: 1-12 each day and to meditate on that Scripture. Ask the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of your heart so that on this journey you can see anew the invitation into relationships that God has for you.
Looking forward to journeying with you!