Yesterday…or maybe Thursday the social media outlets that I subscribe to blew up with the unveiling of an interview from Pope Francis. A well-coordinated interview with several Jesuit Media sources that had been kept secret for a while. I have only been able to read the highlights of this interview thanks to James Martin SJ and serious time restrictions but this is my initial reaction; I am no longer classifying myself as a heretic.While I was going through the LIMEX program through Loyola in New Orleans, I often referred to myself as the resident heretic. It was the chuckle that we all shared as I dismissed some of the ridiculous stances that our church takes and some of the ridiculous rules that we enforce. At times I wondered if my father’s Lutheran heritage was rising up within me and trying to lay claim to my spiritual life. But I am Catholic…I am who I am…I will not change where God placed me (though I have thought long and hard of doing so)…I can only try to change that in which God placed me. So there I was, not understanding why it mattered who washed the dishes after mass when there were so many people in need of a relationship with Christ that comes to form in the community of the mass and is nourished by the Eucharist. The rules that matter to Jesus are clear…they go by the name of the 10 commandments. Only he simplified even that. Only two matter: Loving God above all things, and loving your neighbor as you would love yourself. So what is with all the rules? Must there be rules? Of course! But the main rule should be clear; God comes first. When we put God first by extension we will put God’s people first. When we see God as the Alpha and Omega, we see that all comes from God and all goes back to God. We see that we have no right to lay claim to any gift (OOH! Did you hear that? ANY GIFT…and everything is gifted) that God has given us. We see all people as equal in the eyes of God and each person as a child of God. Therefore, we inch our way into understanding that we cannot completely understand all the God is and we have to live in humility.Pope Francis gets that. He is sitting in one of the most powerful positions on earth and he is calling for mercy for those who are voiceless, for the those who appear unlovable or unacceptable for whatever reason. He reminds us that just as others seek God in us, so should we seek God in every person. This is all rooted in the Gospel and in a heart that has opened itself up to being broken and blessed by the world. I like this article…I like the reference to Thomas Merton’s line, “Mercy within mercy within mercy” I don’t know about anyone else but I am a person in need of mercy all of the time. http://ideas.time.com/2013/09/20/father-james-martin-on-the-popes-interview-we-knew-we-had-spiritual-dynamite/?iid=op-main-leadI am sure I will have more to say, bear with me! But for now…I no longer feel like the heretic.