Once upon a time…last month…I was a skeptic of Pope Francis. But then I was inspired to do what Catholics are supposed to do. I prayed, meditated on Pope Francis’ own words–within his Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, ‘Amoris Laetitia’–and met this man of God on God’s terms, dispatching all of the barnacles of popular propaganda at my immediate disposal–how appropriate the word disposal!
Before I go on, however, I would like to admit that I am at odds with some of Pope Francis’ temporal views; being a South American, he seems to have difficulty with the free market concept, confusing it with ‘crony capitalism.’ He is also a believer in ‘climate change.’ As a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, I am a big believer in the imperfect, but effective system of the free market (free from too much cronyism), and I am a major skeptic of the lucrative business of ‘climate change.’
But these are temporal issues, not the stuff of Papal Infallibility; and they are not game breakers for my acquiescence in an ‘obedience of faith’ in regards to the current Vicar of Christ.
Truthfully, my prayerful meditation on Francis’ ‘exhortation’ has proven to be a blessing in the (small r) revelation of Pope Francis, my Pope. For you see, I am a child of Vatican II, a little brother of St. Pope John Paul II (JPII) and Pope Benedict XVI (B16). For me, they are heroes of the faith, and exemplars of the holy office of the Pope, the Vicar of Christ.
And then there is Francis.
But first, I have come to the realization that the Holy Spirit can wear more than one hat at a time; in a better analogy, moreover, the Holy Spirit has three equally efficacious reflections in JPII, B16, and Francis.
JPII is the rugged warrior Pope, victorious over the U.S.S.R, with help from Thatcher, Reagan, Walesa, and others. He is the brave pioneer in the ‘Theology of the Body.’ He is the poet, philosopher, and brave sufferer in the image of Jesus.
B16 is the intellectual giant, grandfatherly, the warrior against relativism, skepticism, and the collapse of Europe. He is a gentle giant of written words. The compassionate defender of Tradition. And the face of the meek…those who will inherit the earth.
I must confess that, as a Type A person, a Traditionalist, and a stubborn person, the Holy Spirit threw me a blessed curve ball with Pope Francis. I swung and missed, badly, embarrassingly, twice–in a metaphorical sense. But, by God’s grace I didn’t strike out. I gave Francis a chance–in effect (don’t laugh) I gave God a chance—and I met a truly merciful man. A bit too vague, and spontaneous, at times–for the main stream media likes to stretch the truth (understatement of the century?). But traditional, faithful, and ‘orthodox’ to the core.
You don’t have to take my world for it. After all, I’m just a pew dwelling child of God…like the next person.
But, if you just pray, meditate, and read Francis…in his own words! I promise you that you will be surprised in a truly blessed way!
For God is good…all the time.