Open Mind, Faithful Heart


Much is being said and written about him. To understand Pope Francis more deeply, read what he himself has published—now in English for the first time.

Pope Francis connects with people, especially the young, the forgotten, and the forlorn. The cameras show him in Rome, in Brazil, in Lampedusa reaching out to the crowds, holding infants, embracing the disabled. What is the source of his energy, and his spiritual vitality? This book is perhaps the best introduction to what makes the Pope the engaging pastor he is.

The inspiration needed to address the urgent challenges to our world and human living today is clearly outlined in this book. The spiritual foundation for much of what Pope Francis has surprised the world with since his election, radically reframing the Catholic contribution, is found in these texts which their author wished to gather just before expecting to retire—but then being called to Rome instead. Open Mind, Faithful Heart offers an irreplaceable window into the heart and soul of the pope who is changing how the world sees the Church.

The strong scriptural orientation of the Pope is evident in the countless references to both the Old and New Testament. To help the reader, this edition supplements the original text by providing scriptural citations. The language of these pages speaks to the heart as much as to the mind.



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Pope Francis was born in 1936 to immigrant parents who fled fascist Italy for Argentina, Jose Maria Bergoglio would work at various jobs in his youth—including a stint as a janitor, and as a nightclub bouncer.  He was educated by Jesuits, and joined the Jesuit novitiate, leading to his ordination as a priest in 1969. He has taught literature, psychology, and theology to college-level seminarians. He served as provincial superior of the Society of Jesus in Argentina from 1973 to 1979. In 1992, he was ordained an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. In 1998, he became Archbishop of Buenos Aires. In 2001, he was named a cardinal by Pope John Paul II. On March 13, 2013, after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, he was elected the 266th pope, taking the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi.

Since his election, Pope Francis has focused his efforts on internal reform of Church structures, and on reinvigorating the Church’s preaching of the Gospel message, with special emphasis on outreach to the poor and the cultivation of personal holiness.  His interactions with the media and personal simplicity of life have won the hearts of Catholics and non-Catholics alike, around the world.

Translator Joseph Owens, SJ, is a Jesuit who has spent most of his active career working in the Caribbean and Central America. His various ministries have included grass-roots organizing, pastoral work, radio apostolate, and teaching.


Table of Contents

To the Readers of the English Edition

I. Encountering Jesus

1. Jesus in Dialogue
2. Living in Constant Encounter
3. Believing in Joy
4. Joy and Perseverance
5. The Faith That Frees Us
6. Called Despite Our Fears
7. Nurtured by the Church
8. Cross and the Mission
9. The Courage of the Cross
10. The Challenge of Sin
11. The Hopelessness of Sin
12. Testing and Temptation
13. Humility and Hope
14. United by the Grace of Memory

II. Manifestations of Light

15. The Light of Jesus
16. Staying Alert
17. The Hardening of Hearts
18. God’s Plan Unveiled
19. Passing on the Faith
20. The Son Reveals the Father
21. The Vision of the Wedding Feast
22. Faith Beyond Space and Time

III. The Letters to the Seven Churches

23. Reading the Apocalypse
24. Ephesus: Recapturing the First Love
25. Smyrna: Overcoming Fatigue and Bitterness
26. Pergamum: Holding on to the Truth
27. Thyatira: Loyalty to our Inheritance
28. Sardis: Restoring Self-Respect
29. Philadelphia: Love Among Sisters and Brothers
30. Laodicea: True Friendship

IV. Human Prayer

31. Drawing Close to All Flesh
32. Abraham: Learning to Let Go
33. Prayer as Obedience to Mission
34. David: The Art of Surrender
35. The Solitude of Prayer
36. Moses and the People: Intercession vs. Murmuring
37. God Revealed in Weakness and Limitation
38. Job: Praying from Our Sores
39. Homeward Bound
40. Simeon: Led by the Spirit
41. The Mystery of Talking to God
42. Judith: Speaking Freely to God
43. Entering into the Humanity of Jesus
44. Freely Embracing Death
45. The Totality of Surrender
46. The Failure of Jesus
47. Jesus Christ the Priest
48. Holding Back Nothing