Pope: I was once a bar bouncer

Pope reveals he was a club bouncer

(CNN) – If St. Peter ever needs help at the Pearly Gates, his successor Pope Francis may be the perfect man for the job.

The popular pontiff was once a bouncer at a nightclub in his native Argentina, Francis told Catholics at a church outside Rome earlier this week.

He has also swept floors and run tests in a chemical laboratory, the Pope said, in revelations sure to boost his image as a "pope of the people." And, as leader of the Jesuit community in Argentina, he woke at 5:30 a.m. to do the priests' laundry, according to author Christopher Lowney.

Francis didn't offer details about his career as a bouncer, according to L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, or what connection his velvet-rope experience might have to his current job as Vicar of Christ and head of the Roman Catholic Church.

Instead, the Pope told the church group, "his work later in life, teaching literature and psychology, taught him how to get people back into the church," reports Catholic News Service.

Getting people into church seems to be Pope Francis' primary mission these days, as made clear by his most recent official statement, a 50,000-word pep talk to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

In "Evangelii Gaudium" (The Joy of the Gospel), officially known as an "apostolic exhortation," Francis calls for church reforms, urges Catholics to be more bold and joyful, and castigates elements of modern capitalism.

"I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets," the Pope said, "rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security."

Did Francis leave a few barflies bruised and hurting during his bouncing days? No word on that from the Vatican yet.

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Privileged Inconvenience

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Privileged Inconvenience is a reality which must be experienced to be fully understood. It's filled with conflicting emotions and confronting feelings you think you shouldn't feel. Those embarrassing reactions uncovering behaviors you have often criticized in others as well as selfishness you never thought to be part of your character. In addition, the fight to maintain the strength of your faith. We struggle with all of these and more when our life hero faces a challenge they don't' seem able to overcome. My mother was my hero.
I was attending the 85th birthday celebration of my 100 year old grandmother when I suddenly became aware of the mortality of my family. The head table, full of grey-headed men and women, represented years of caring, mentoring, correcting and encouraging. My mother was at the table. Our family hadn't had a serious illness, not child or adult, in 30 years. We were enjoying an extended season of great favor and grace. But the super men and women were aging before my eyes. They had cared, defended, educated, tutored, advised and nursed us all. I had a sense my season of being served was about to change. The roles were slowly reversing as great strength yielded to the unavoidable power of time. Their hair, now grey, was grooming itself for the grave.
Years later my mom was diagnosed with liver cancer. Her need shifted my priorities. I began to care for her like she had cared for me for so long. My life focus changed.
I've always been a person able to clearly articulate my emotions, sorting out the conflicting inner voices produced by unusual circumstances. Deciding very quickly to overcome the range of emotions, good and bad, serious illness of a loved one produces. Discovering balance comes when we accept this life assignment and the stress it puts on our lives. I prayed but the results were not immediate. My sibling was of little help. I decided it was my turn to be inconvenienced but it was a privilege. I was never angry but felt powerless as her disease progressed. Always balancing faith with the reality that appeared to be unfolding. I was losing my best friend.
The formal title is caregiver but I was simply being a son. Unknown to me, I had joined the ranks of 23 million who care for their parents. I was the right age (over 50). While hospitalized making daily visits and once released staying at the house each night. It was simply my turn. The emotion and separation I felt when she died is still palpable almost 5 years later. You manage these feelings. You don't' get over them. Your grief is not understood by many and is an inconvenience to some. They don't understand you have no experience in life for this. A part of me was missing. I didn't shed a tear at the Service. Confused at first as to why, I realized that I'd filled the well of mourning by caring for her while she was alive.
You know someone always auditions for a Grammy or an Oscar at a funeral. I didn't have tears of guilt to add. My life had been on hold but it was my turn. She raised my brother and I alone. She had inconvenienced herself for the love of her children. In our last conversations Mom said it had been a privilege to be my mother. Fifty five years of putting my needs before hers. The least I could do during those last few years was give her the benefit of Privileged Inconvenience.

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What Is Advent?

Advent (from the Latin word adventus meaning "coming") is a season observed in many Western Christian churches, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. It is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences on Advent Sunday, called Levavi. The Eastern churches' equivalent of Advent is called the Nativity Fast, but it differs both in length and observances and does not begin the church year, which starts instead on September 1.

The progression of the season may be marked with an Advent calendar, a practice introduced by German Lutherans. At least in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and Methodist calendars, Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before December 25, the Sunday from November 27 to December 3 inclusive.
Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used in reference to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent serves as a reminder both of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah as well as the waiting of Christians for Christ's return.
The theme of readings and teachings during Advent is often to prepare for the Second Coming while commemorating the First Coming of Christ at Christmas. With the view of directing the thoughts of Christians to the first coming of Jesus Christ as savior and to his second coming as judge, special readings are prescribed for each of the four Sundays in Advent.


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Minute Meditation: Prayer For Travelers

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Traveling season has begun.

As we head off to vacations, dinners and the rest let us call to mind our Lord.

O Almighty and merciful God, who hast commissioned Thy angels to guide and protect us, command them to be our assiduous companions from our setting out until our return; to clothe us with their invisible protection; to keep from us all danger of collision, of fire, of explosion, of fall and bruises, and finally, having preserved us from all evil, and especially from sin, to guide us to our heavenly home.
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


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