Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"A great brotherhood in the world" says Pope Francis

I am very moved by this new Pope.  I realize some have already been quick to criticize this or that from his past.  But I'm looking at this in terms of his personality.  I see a clearly humble man.  A man whose first act was to lower himself and beg for a blessing from the crowd, from us who were watching, bowing in the silence, prior to giving his first blessing as Pope.  A man who initially simply stood quietly on the balcony as he was applauded.  A man who, when he began to speak, simply said:  "Good evening" - which rings so tenderly in Italian, "Buona sera."  His subsequent words, more like a chat with the crowd as he spoke to them.  Then wished them a pleasant rest before departing.

Before you rule him out, as some may do, consider all the bad options that could have resulted from this papal election.  Consider, as well the signs after the ex-pope resigned:  the lightening strike; the earthquake.  And ponder the delightful image of the seagull perching on the Vatican chimney, just prior to the election of a pope, who has chosen the name of Francis.  You can say these are just coincidences.  But really, nothing is merely coincidental.

Given those, from among whom a choice was made, we have a pretty good result:  A humble man, a man who lives very simply, a man concerned about the poor and the disaffected.  It also speaks well of the conclave that they sought someone unassuming, whose bearing seems to breathe a life of quiet prayer.

Let's give this man a chance, the benefit of the doubt, our fervent prayers.  For none of us is perfect.  And no one could possibly provide, as pope, all that everyone is hoping for.  For me, a person's worth can be seen in his body language, his manner of speech, whether he seems full of himself or full of love for his brothers and sisters.  In that regard Pope Francis wins me over - his bearing, his humility, all these suggest hopefulness to me. 

I will admit I was moved to tears - again and again - during his first appearance.  And folks, I have never been moved to tears by a pope!


This charming recollection by the new Pope's former spokesman:
An anecdote from his former spokesman Guillermo Marcó when Bergoglio was the archbishop of Buenos Aires. On February 21, 2001, Bergoglio was in Rome to be anointed cardinal. As they got ready to leave the house for priests where they were staying, Marcó asked how they should travel to the Vatican.

"Walking, of course," said Bergolgio. Marcó protested that Bergoglio was wearing his red robe. "Don't worry," Bergoglio said. "In Rome you could walk with a banana on your head an nobody would say anything."

When they arrived to the Holy see on foot, the Vatican guard was astounded. "The majority of cardinals arrived with large retinues," Marcó said. "Bergoglio arrived with just myself and a couple of relatives."  [The Guardian]

The bottom line:

Here, to my mind, is the key to the Papacy of Francis, Bishop of Rome, whose choice of a name (and emphasis of a title) underscore his theological understanding of his role and calling at this moment in the catholic church, akin to that of St. Francis in his own time:
St. Francis was moved when praying by a voice from the altar, which spoke these words:  “Go, Francis, and repair my house, which as you see is falling into ruin.
I have posted a reflection on the scriptural underpinnings of these words which St. Francis passed along to us, and which undoubtedly would be well known to this new Pope - who has chosen to follow (and lead us along) the path of his forebear.  (You can find it here.)


William D. Lindsey said...

TheraP, thank you for what's really a mediation, and one designed to feed hope. Hope is never easy for me, and I appreciate how you inspire me you to move in the direction of that difficult virtue.

TheraP said...

Not sure if you meant "meditation" or "mediation" as you spelled it, Bill. But if you found it helpful, I'm glad. Thanks for the encouragement! And blessings upon you for all the work and "heart" you put into your blog!

TheraP said...

Dave writes: "just by his body language and facial expressions he seemed humble and kind... The example he sets will be as crucial as any encyclicals he writes about doctrine or public policy."

AMEN to that! Thank you, Dave!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Hello TheraP. I don't know you, and I came here via one of your comments on another blog, but I want to thank you for this post - which is as welcome a breath of fresh air, as is the apparent simplicity of our new Pope.

The internet is a strange and wonderful place. In reading around, there are two distinct camps - those who wish to quickly find and embrace the negative, and those willing to see the possibility for hope. As one who defaults to hope, I feel moved by your words and affirmed that I am not alone in what I have come to see in Pope Francis these last few days.

I, too, was moved to tears during his initial appearance and that it is first for me as well. (I felt only fear upon the election of our last pope.) It was a moment of true grace for me and something of a wake-up call.

Having struggled (profoundly) with my faith and the Catholic Church these last several years, I can say with honesty (and great joy) that Pope Francis has already inspired me to be more prayerful and considerate - just by my witnessing his simple, humble behavior. How can that be anything but good?

With wishes for peace to you and yours, and prayers of joy and thanksgiving for God's abundant grace -


TheraP said...

Bless you, my dear Diva! I share so many of the feelings you describe.

I can attest that our new Pope seems to have worked a miracle on Mr. TheraP, similar to the one you describe happening inside yourself. (I told him Thursday night that it seemed to me he'd had some kind of "breakthrough" - for he felt moved to do certain generous acts, he seemed more open, more desirous of exercising generosity.) This is the power of a holy person - truly PRESENT to Holy Mystery and to us. The holy shines THROUGH this man. There is no doubt in my mind.

Yes, it is very sad that some feel obliged to remain in the darkness, trying to search through his past for sins and stones to cast. Somewhere else I wrote that I now understand the words of Jesus: "Put your hand to the plow and don't look back."

Thank you for your presence here. And many blessings!