Anyone who knows me well already knows that I’d love to have another child. But, when I watch this video I really want to convince Ray that five is the perfect family, or perhaps just make a wee itty bitty mistake in my charting. All so we can take a trip to Rome and maybe get Pope Francis to kiss our baby.
This is the first papal conclave that I’ve really watched. The election of Benedict XVI occurred so soon after my confirmation into the Church, that it all still seemed very foreign and strange to me… while I knew that it was important, it wasn’t personal yet.
And so I was completely unprepared for the emotions that gripped me today. Along with Catholics around the world, I’ve been praying for the conclave ever since Pope Emeritus Benedict announced his resignation. I’ve been waiting anxiously to find out who the new pope would be. Yet, I never thought…
I never thought I’d sob into a tissue as I saw the replay of white smoke.
Never thought I’d laugh with joy to see the faithful packed into St. Peters Square.
Never thought I’d miss getting my kids from the bus stop but yell to them from a block away, “Hurry! Hurry! We have a new pope! Habemus Papam!”
Never thought I’d spend two hours sitting on the couch, glued to the TV, waiting expectantly to see the face of a man who, up until now, was a complete stranger to me.
And yet I did. And I am So. Proud. to be. CATHOLIC.
May God Bless Pope Francis.
The wind outside my office window is howling, and likewise the winds of change are blowing strong within the Catholic Church.
Funny, when I read yesterday’s Gospel (Luke 5:1-11), where Jesus tells Simon (Peter) to put out into the deep and cast his nets, I was thinking about how Christ sometimes calls us to do what seems crazy, ludicrous, and shocking. Yet, we do it, in answer to His call.
Now the leader of Christ’s Church, the new Peter, has taken an action that shocks the world. The first pope to resign his papacy in 600 years. Surely much will be said in the days to come.
There’s a lot of banter going back and forth on Facebook and Twitter. One string has people lamenting how very sad it is.
Maybe I’m backwards, maybe I’m crazy, maybe I haven’t been Catholic long enough to really “get it”. I don’t know. But I don’t see this as sad.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Pope Benedict. The children and I pray for him every morning on our way to school. I love listening to his homilies, and have greatly enjoyed what I’ve read of his writings. He has been a wonderful leader for the past eight years, my formative years in the Faith. I had been Catholic for one week when JPII passed away, so Pope Benedict is really the only Pope I’ve ever known.
But, to me, him leaving his post is just part of the cycle of life. He’s a servant of God, and I’m sure he’s put more prayer and meditation into this decision than most of us will put into all the decisions we make in our lifetimes. He is following Christ’s call, a call back to Him.
For a man of God, an opportunity to take up his cross and follow Christ is a blessing. As the Pope takes up the cross of aging, pain, and discomfort each day, Christ provides him with an opportunity to become more like his hero, his idol, Jesus himself.
He’s done wonderful things during his pontificat, and I find it beautiful that he’s leaving us during this Year of Faith which he initiated, a year where I see awesome things happening within the Church all around us.
Now, he goes to spend his remaining days in prayer, allowing another of Christ’s disciples to fill the role of Bishop of Rome.
In the weeks to come, my family will pray this prayer, adapted from the Pope’s own words this morning:
Lord Jesus Christ, we entrust the Holy Church to your care as Our Supreme Pastor. We implore your holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff.
We pray for Pope Benedict, that his final days may be spent devotedly serving the Holy Church of God through a life dedicated to prayer. We pray also that you may fortify and strengthen him in his suffering, as he takes up his cross and follows you.
Likewise, we pray for everyone in the Church, that we may devote ourselves to prayer and that we would readily accept our own crosses, so that we may be more like you, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Image courtesy www.wikimediacommons.com. Love the shoes.