With a pounding heart, shaky hands, and teary eyes, this afternoon I witnessed the most historical, most spiritually moving, and most unifying moment in my life. That statement isn’t easy to profess as I have witnessed many similar events over the course of the years, but the magnitude of today’s election of the new Pope exceeded them, in my opinion. And here is why.
First, let me mention that this past month has been a thrilling ride for me personally. I have learned so much more about my faith and as a result, this learning experience brought about a new fervor in my sharing of the faith. Not only have I been enlightened with the Papal resignation, Interregnum, and the Conclave, but I’ve also been re-inspired through countless discussions with friends, the Old Testament, the Gospel, the mission of the Apostles, and the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as he gracefully stepped down from his Petrine ministry. This occurred in one month. This Year of Faith has certainly produced much fruit already.
For the first time, I have never felt so united with my Church than I have this month; earlier this month with the news of Benedict XVI’s resignation, and today, with the new election of Pope Francis. Today’s showing of emotions of the 150,000+ in Vatican City and well as the billions all over the world made me realize how blessed I am to be a part of this Church, this Universal Church. Before the white smoke billowed through the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, everyone in the world remained in solidarity through prayer, anxiously awaiting for a result: either black smoke yet again, or white, finally. When the white smoke emerged, an eruption of joy filled the world, after the initial moment surprise. It went from silence to shouts of joy, non stop. Joy could not be contained as it filled my timeline on Facebook and Twitter. “We have a Pope! We have a Pope!” I, along with the rest of the world, rejoiced in the selection of Christ’s Vicar here on earth. More phone calls were made with loved ones, statuses were updated (many), tweets were tweeted (even more), all because the good news we have been waiting for arrived. I’ve never experienced a unity like I have today. No matter what county you were from, the language you spoke, or how old you were, the world was in complete unity during that moment. And it was phenomenal.
My heart is experiencing an overwhelming amount of pre-Easter joy and hope. For the first time in our Catholic Church we have a non-European Pope (of the modern era) who hails from Latin America and, he is a Jesuit! Another first? He chose Francis as his moniker. No one has ever chosen Francis. What a great name and what a great saint he has named himself after, a champion and lover of the poor. It was confirmed by the Vatican that he chose his name after St. Francis of Assisi and not what most assumed, St. Francis Xavier. A Jesuit from Argentina who has Italian parents and chose the name Francis – doesn’t get more “universal” than that!
I had him no where on my Pope radar, and from what I’ve heard on EWTN Radio, not many people did either. It just goes to show how the Holy Spirit always chooses the best person for the job. The Holy Spirit chose our Holy Father. I am reminded in a big way of the many, little moments throughout my life when I am provided by God with things I need, rather than want. On a grander scale, from what I have already learned about our new Pope, he is unmistakably the man for this position. Our Church needs him. Our world needs him.
When I got my first glimpse of Pope Francis, nothing emanated more than his poise and humility. Before ever speaking a word, he radiated peace. And once he did share words, nothing but humility. For the first time, he asked for the world to give a blessing to him before the expected benediction over us. Such humility. (Off-topic fun fact: Did you know that he only has one lung??)
Learning more about his years as Cardinal, he was a strong pastor and protector of the Church. He stands true to the Church teachings amid changes in society and government. Moreover, in a world that has grown further from the Gospel of Truth due to secularism and relativism, this season of our journey is bringing about a lot of questions regarding our faith, from our brothers and sisters inside and outside of the Church. Either side, what a beautiful time we are in to be able to share the goodness of the Gospel. The Gospel is the same Gospel preached 2,000 years ago, it [the Gospel] will never change. The teaching of Christ will not change and it’s time that we teach it to our friends and family with love, above all things.
Here is a part of Pope Francis’ first message: “And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and the people, this journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood. My hope is that this journey of the Church that we begin today, together with the help of my Cardinal Vicar, may be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.”
This Holy Spirit is making the mission of the New Evangelization evermore clear. Truly, it starts in our own conversion of hearts so if we are ever to share the goodness of Gospel, it must begin there.
Already, Pope Francis is a gift from God to our world in his new position as Pontiff! I have much hope in the rebuilding that will be taking shape in our Church in the weeks, months, and years to come under his leadership. God commanded St. Francis of Assisi to “Rebuild My Church.” Here we are now with Pope Francis who I know will work towards doing the same.
What an exciting time to be Catholic!
Viva il Papa!
Praised be Jesus Christ!
Now that I’ve shared mine, what are your thoughts? :-)