"This church . . . is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity.”
I was already on the Pope Francis bandwagon. But when I read these words I pushed my way up a few rows and took a seat even closer to the front. It had been awhile since I had read anything so beautiful, so true, and so alarming. Like most people who heard or read this, I knew instinctively what it meant: how we've strayed, what we are supposed to be, how we have deformed the bosom of the Church.
It also got me thinking about nests. In nature, nests are for a select few. But in the Church -- whose identifying feature should be love -- the capacity of the nest must be limitless. Nests are places of protection – but they are also places of nurturing, places where family members gather to grow and stay warm.
I found Pope Francis’ words alarming not just because of what they said about my church – but because of what they said about me. I’ve built my own share of exclusive nests, I’ve protected my own share of mediocrity. Afraid to do the things our pope – and other popes, saints, prophets, friends and family have urged us to do all along – get our hands and feet dirty, heal wounds, open our doors, discover the joy of the Gospel.