Last week I wrote a piece commenting on why “I Love being Catholic”. This past week has validated those feelings. “Hello, Pope Francis. Nice to meet you.” Unbelievable.
I loved it when the cardinals went into conclave. The doors were locked and sealed behind them. No communication devices of any kind were permitted. They shut themselves off from the world and I thought that the 5000 journalists, reporters, broadcast folks and whoever else wanted information must have been going crazy. Speculation was rampant and no one knew anything. What I noticed and became fixated on (as I am sure many others might have too) was the bird sitting on the smokestack. It was alone and it stayed for the longest time. How many statues have you seen of Francis of Assisi with a bird on his finger? Was that God communicating to all of us what was about to happen? After all, God doesn’t need a cell phone or an iPod. “Hello, Pope Francis”.
How about the inexplicable angel cloud that appeared in the crystal clear skies of south Florida around the same time the new Holy Father was introduced? It was broadcast over numerous stations and many thousands were witness to it. Was God introducing us to His new representative here on earth? I think He was. “Hello, Pope Francis”.
I believe that it is easy to be Catholic as long as you stick to the fundamentals. You follow the “Golden Rule” and love your neighbor. That is Numero Uno, Numerus Unus, Number One in any language. “Hello, Pope Francis”. Did you really refuse to live in the palatial edifice that was available to the Cardinal of Buenos Aires and choose instead to live in your own small apartment? Did you really turn down a chauffeured limo and take the bus to work like the plain folks? Oh no, you did your own cooking too? Did you not realize that you were the highest cleric in the land of the Pampas and Gauchos? What, are you kidding me? You also frequented the slums surrounding the city. You kissed the feet of Aids’ victims and blessed unwed mothers? What kind of “Big Shot” cleric are you? You are God’s kind of “Big Shot”, that’s what kind.
Today, most Holy Father Francis, you are the “Biggest Big Shot” cleric in the whole world. So what have you done so far. You rejected the papal Mercedes and took a Volkswagen to the conclave hotel to claim your own bags and pay your bill with your own money. You are certainly a strange “Big Shot” Holy Father. All you had to do was ask someone to fetch your bags and pay the bill. In fact, you might want to check but it is possible the Vatican has a running tab for Popes all around the Eternal City. But you do not care about that, do you? After your introduction as our new Pope you decided to take the bus along with the other Cardinals back to the Vatican for dinner.
So, “Hello, Pope Francis I”. “Hello” to a follower of the man from Assisi who was a lover of the poor and downtrodden and animals. What a way to start a Papacy. You have humbled us all and made us proud. We must all thank the Lord for sending the world His kind of “Big Shot”.