|His Holiness Pope Francis|
“Francis, rebuild my Church which is falling into ruins.”
Perhaps Our Lord spoke these same words to the new pope as he accepted a new cross to be embraced for the sake of the world. I do not know this pope but I love him already. Pope Francis. Simple and humble–his few moments of publicity have merely seemed to reconfirm that image. Sometimes I am amazed by my love for the Church. I do not think this love is even enough, but it causes my heart to reach out in faith and love to a man I have never met but one for whom I already feel an attachment. My students, upon seeing a picture of the pope, gave a dissatisfied sound. Their thoughts probably centered on disappointment that the pope seemed to be old. How little they know! This Vicar of Christ will do great things. He knows that he cannot do it on his own. He desires for us to pray for him. Before blessing the crowd, Pope Francis invited the people to pray for their new leader. Re-watching the clip at home I was moved to tears. This morning I was asking the Lord to end this week, this school year because I was finished and tired. We received a beautiful new pope and I felt suddenly re-energized!
The media will attempt to destroy him over the next few days and weeks. Lies will circulate and they will try to poison the minds of the public. And in many ways, it will sadly work. But I cannot forget the sight of thousands of people waiting in the square for the white smoke to rise, signaling the start of a new papacy. The youth were present and filled with such joy. That is what the media cannot disguise. Such pure joy emanated from St. Peter’s Square as the billowing smoke proclaimed that a new Shepherd had been chosen. In my classroom miles away from Rome, I could feel the energy and life of the Catholic Church as depicted on the livestream video. I wasn’t trying to be dramatic but my students could see my joy. It was tangible. That is the hope of the Church. We have joy!! Yes, I am a young woman. Yes, I love the Church. Perhaps the media is right–there aren’t too many people who are like-minded. But the joy of the Lord is our strength. And Truth is with us! Over the past few days I have come across a few articles mocking and belittling the “new evangelization” saying that it will never work because the Church can never win back the people. Apparently God thinks otherwise. This Church, as evidenced by the mass of people, by the sheer joy of Catholics around the globe, by her steadfastness and courage, is not dead. She is very much alive.
The Church does not look like the world wants Her to look. I hear my students speak of the old-fashioned aspects of the Church and how She needs to catch up to the rest of society. I love Her. Her beauty is beyond comprehension and Her depths are unable to be plumbed. She is my mother, truly. And today the princes of the Church entrusted Her to a cardinal from Argentina. This pope is humble and knows he cannot do all that is being asked of him. So he asks for our prayers and then will entrust the Church to Our Lady tomorrow. The Lord does not fail. Pope Francis will be persecuted, to be sure. We will be persecuted if we truly embrace a Christian life. Church Militant, let us enfold our already beloved Pope Francis in prayers. How little my problems seem when I think of the task that now lies before this man. He will lead the Church on earth and I have simply to teach a few teenagers about a God and Church I deeply love. Come, Holy Spirit, overflow on Pope Francis. May he rebuild your beautiful Church and show us the pathway to Heaven.