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From the Publisher"In 2011, as Jorge Mario Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) was preparing to submit his letter of retirement to Pope Benedict XVI, he began to sort through his papers and the spiritual talks he had given over the years. His intention was to have some of them published as he retired. He entrusted the task of sorting them and deciding which ones were to be published to a few close friends and colleagues. This volume is a compilation of several of his notable talks and spiritual reflections over the years. Since his election as pope, there have been many books about Pope Francis. Open Mind, Faithful Heart is a book by him. The selections in this book are the deeply personal, spiritual thoughts of our new Holy Father. Many of them reflect his strong Ignatian background. All of them provide the reader with serious spiritual food. The book is comprised of four parts: Encountering Jesus, Manifestations of Light, The Letters to the Seven Churches and Human Prayer. The scripturally-based lessons contained in these reflections are deeply personal, spiritually challenging, and thoroughly pastoral. Each reflection concludes with prayer. If you have followed Pope Francis' daily homilies at Domus Santa Marta, and his more public homilies and addresses, you will hear echoes of these words in every part of this book. If you want to get inside Pope Francis's message today, this book will help you do that. For example, in the fourth section of this book, the section on Human Prayer, he speaks clearly about "drawing close to all suffering flesh." This "drawing close" he says, means "opening our hearts, showing compassion, touching the wound, aiding the injured...We must cultivate not just ways of thinking but also ways of proceeding that entail the following: loving justice with a desert thirst, preferring the wealth of poverty to the impoverishment produced by worldly wealth, opening our hearts with gentleness rather than inflaming them with ferocity, promoting peace as a value superior to all war and all evasive passivism, having a clear vision that comes from a pure heart and that keeps us from falling into the greed of storing up riches for ourselves. " These are themes that show up in so many of his teachings today. If you want to know where Pope Francis is taking us and the church today, these reflections from the past will enlighten the path he is setting for all of us for the future. This volume is highly readable and spiritually challenging for clergy and religious, lay women and men, and for all who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the mind and heart of Pope Francis." —Rev. Msgr. Paul J. E. Burkard, priest of the diocese of Buffalo, pastor of Our Lady of Victory National Shrine and Basilica, Lackawanna, NY, President of Baker Victory Services and Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Nelson Baker
"Open Mind, Faithful Heart is a call to faithfulness and a warning against the temptations that every Christian feels at one point or another: tiredness, jadedness, settling into a comfortable life, clinging to power. There is not, however, a different message for each group, but one and the same for all. The call is to joy, but to a deep joy that is rooted in the cost of discipleship. "Pope Francis leads the reader into demanding propositions, and yet he manages to make them sound completely attainable." —U.S. Catholic
"If you are looking for an accessible, meaty, inspiring, and practical collection of meditations on the Bible, you need look no further. And from the pope no less, a pope who has his feet firmly on the ground, and has not allowed himself to be insulated from the people. "I like and highly recommend this book to any serious seeker of the truth, Protestant or Catholic, and indeed, any person open to the Spirit of God. As mentioned in the Introduction, this is the kind of book that will endure. And for good reason. "Forget the name and fame for the moment. This is an outstanding work no matter what the source. Crossroad has done us a service in putting this at our disposal. Reading it gives one the feeling of accompaniment with the pope on our spiritual journey. And who better to guide us along the way?" —Karl A. Schultz
"In a sea of books by, for, and about Pope Francis, this outstanding (and particularly attractive) volume by the Argentine Pontiff HIMSELF takes us inside his mind, heart and soul and gives us a blueprint for living, an example of how to live the Christian vocation. I highly recommend it!" —Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., Institute for Priestly Formation, Creighton University
"The well-deserved initial public adulation for Pope Francis is giving way to an ardent desire to know more about this inspiring man and his previous work. This unique volume of reflections of Bergoglio, carefully selected and superbly translated, fills the void. Reading these four dozen brief texts of conferences Francis gave to pastoral workers will help anyone encounter Christ anew, and encounter the Pope in a new way as well. I highly recommend this volume as instructive and illuminating spiritual reading for all audiences." —Rev. Thomas Massaro, S.J.
"Christians of any denomination will find this book by the reigning pontiff to be of great assistance in their personal spiritual journey. Intentionally composed to be useful in ordinary day-to-day situations, the monograph will be highly useful for individual prayer and meditation as well as serviceable to prayer and Bible study groups." —Fr. Rick Gribble, CSC
"Since March 13, 2013, when we first saw Pope Francis stand a bit awe-struck on the papal balcony and ask the assembled faithful to bless him as he began his pontificate, we knew that change was in the air. And the Pope's subsequent actions and decisions have verified that—in ways more dramatically positive than we had ever imagined. This collection of 48 conferences of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., written before his election as Pope and most ably translated by Joseph V. Owens, S.J., allow his readers to know him close up and personal. His topics—ranging from Jesus in dialogue, to the courage of the cross, to reading the Apocalypse, to the solitude of prayer, to the mystery of talking to God—show the breadth of a spiritually deeply rooted in Sacred Scripture. Many of the essays conclude with an invitation to his readers to pray and reflect on his observations and insights, much in the spirit of what Saint Ignatius of Loyola does in the Spiritual Exercises. I highly recommend Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus."—Rev. Patrick Samway, S.J.