Thursday, March 14, 2013

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum!

Collecting a few thoughts about His Holiness Pope Francis:

It was the first time I saw the announcement of a new Pope as it was happening. I had my Rosary in hand, because I had to do something -- had to participate somehow in this glorious moment in the life of the Universal Church, and not merely "watch"! I really couldn't stop crying tears of joy at the Holy Spirit's ability to surprise us and to strengthen us and to give us a sign of hope.

And then, of course, the less-than-wholly-serious thought that a Jesuit named Francis would keep both Jesuits and Franciscans very happy indeed!

Our new pontiff is an Argentinian with an Italian surname. He is 76 years old, and has had only one lung since childhood [missing part of one lung --TD]. During his time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he would take public transportation (a man after my own heart!) and do his own cooking (I should learn to emulate him!).

Very moved by his prayers for his immediate predecessor, the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI. Very moved by his asking the mammoth Roman crowd to pray for him, the new Pope, in silence.  One commentator said admiringly, that His Holiness spent as much time praying as addressing the crowd (and the world)! Well, that's a good sign, isn't it?

I haven't processed all the information from today, haven't heard the reactions of Cardinal Dolan or of Cardinal O'Malley, but can only assume that they were undilutedly positive.

My reaction is beyond positive. There's a very profound awareness (more so than there was eight years ago) of what a momentous and significant moment this is in the life of our Church.

Here's an odd reaction I don't think I've ever had with any previous pontiff.  He's been Pope for -- what, seven hours? eight? -- and yet, I think that Pope Francis, Papa Francesco, will be "my Pope." It's an inchoate intuition, at best.  At the very least, I would like to be holy for this Pope.  Here's hoping that the Holy Father will lead the way and show us how.

And indeed, for those of you who can read Spanish, here is a Lenten reflection from (as he was at the beginning of this Lent) Cardinal Bergoglio.

Long live Pope Francis!  Viva Papa Francesco!