Pope Francis’s Coat of Arms Features Jesuit Emblem
Tags: Jesuit, jesuits, Pope, Pope Francis, Society of Jesus, Vatican
Pope Francis’s papal coat of arms was released today, and it features the Jesuit seal: IHS surrounded by a sunburst. The IHS monogram is the first three letters in Greek for the name of Jesus. A cross pierces the H in red, and there are three black nails under the letters.
Below the sunburst on the bottom left of the shield is a star symbolizing Mary, and at the bottom right of the shield is a nard flower, representing Joseph. The seal is almost the same as the one the pope used as a bishop, with the addition of the papal mitre hat and papal keys behind the shield.
Below the seal is Francis’s motto, the same motto he chose as a bishop, “Miserando atque eligendo.” Meaning “lowly but chosen,” the motto is translated from Latin as “because he saw him through the eyes of mercy and chose him” and references the story of Jesus choosing the tax collector, Matthew, as one of his apostles.
St. Bede the Venerable, an English eighth-century Christian writer and doctor of the church, first used this motto in his homily about the calling of St. Matthew by Jesus, focusing on divine mercy. Jesus saw the tax collector, Matthew, sitting at a customs post and said to him, “Follow me.” St. Bede explained, “Jesus saw Matthew, not merely in the usual sense, but more significantly with his merciful understanding of men.”
According to the Vatican, this homily has taken on special significance in the pope’s life and spiritual journey: it was on the feast of St. Matthew in 1953 that 17-year-old Jorge Bergoglio felt the call to religious life in the footsteps of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.