Why Pope Francis is a Paragon.
Ever since he assumed the post of Bishop of Rome last spring, the world has been enthralled with Pope Francis. The press follows his every move, showing a man who truly follows what he believes.
Have we seen a Pope like him in recent history? Who was the last Pope to love on people like he does? Why are we so fascinated with him?
My friends, we all probably know why we are fascinated with him, but have we looked deeper?
On Monday, the Pope stopped his motorcade to see and love on a disabled woman, who cannot breathe on her own, much less travel far from home. One friend of the family was quoted as saying, ““Today we can say that Christ stopped in Sibari in the vestments of Pope Francis.”
As Christians, we know the passages where Jesus says “Whatever you have done for the least of these, you have also done it for me”, “Let the children come to me,” and to “Love one another as I have loved you.” At the risk of repeating thoughts which have already been said dozens, if not hundreds and thousands of times, do we live this out? Would people say of us, in our everyday lives which is our mission field, “Today I can say that I saw Christ in the person of _____”? There have always been examples of Christ’s love, Christ’s compassion, and behavior a true Christ-follower should have. But for my generation, the generation of Millennials, Pope Francis is the most visible, internationally known example we have. And I think we are being moved by his example.
Huffington Post has a slideshow at the end of the article about Francis stopping to see the disabled woman about different times when the Pope has shown Christlike behavior. There are many moments in the slideshow where he is doing things I frankly would be afraid to do. In one shot, he is praying over a man with bubble-like tumors on his head. He accepts and even encourages children to interact with him. He has taken a vow of poverty (as much “poverty” as a Pope can realistically live within as an international, visible figure). He loves gay people, and says who is he to judge. He desires for the poor to have opportunities to make a better living and for the selfish rich to give their money away, to make things fairer for all workers.
The Catholic Church did a wise thing in electing Francis pope. All of these concerns, about gay people, about fair working environments and markets, about looking for people who really live out their faith, especially faith in Christ, are addressed and assuaged in this one man. We are a generation of cynics, crying out for someone to show us authenticity, to show us that peace is possible, to show us that living like Christ can be a daily lifestyle, not just something we are free to do in a foreign country. Our hearts and spirits are broken, because in most of the Western world at least, those who proclaim Christianity are for things that are anti-Christ. Many are for Capitalism while, yes fair markets are good and choice is good and being able to start businesses on your own is good, it does not look out for the worker, who is also the consumer. Capitalism is, in fact, a form of slavery in both literal and metaphorical terms. But more on that at a different time.
Pope Francis motivates me, my husband, and many others I know to live more like Christ. To truly live more like Christ. We are all busy, and in that busyness we get tired, worn down, and selfish. We must, must, take time to rest. Take time in the Gospel. Take time to think about the small simple things, so that we can see Christ and God’s Grace in the everyday.
To be a Christian is truly to be a rebel. Christ himself was a rebel in his society. Even if we live in a “Christian” society, acting like Christ is still different and noteworthy; why else do we pay so much attention to the Pope?
Don’t be afraid to be a rebel. Don’t be afraid to step out and do the unordinary thing. Don’t be afraid to be afraid. Loving on people is perhaps the scariest thing one can do, because we must be vulnerable and gentle; the exact opposite of how we are usually shown to live life. It’s okay to be afraid. He will go with you. Have faith.