Pope Francis I—God's Kind of "Big Shot"

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”.


I Love Being Catholic and It Is Easy To Do

IT MAKES SENSE TO ME 

By Larry Peterson

I was born a Catholic, raised a Catholic and I am still a Catholic. Even with a secular college education I remained a Catholic. I am considered fairly intelligent although some of my opinions have had some of the intelligentsia consider me an idiot. I do not care. I LOVE being Catholic. That’s right, I do love being Catholic and permit me to let you in on a little secret, IT IS EASY TO DO! Just keep it simple.  How? You reach inside yourself, admit that you are not nearly as smart as you think you are and DO NOT “outhink” the fundamentals.

What are the fundamentals? The “Golden Rule” encapsulates it all. Love God. How? By Loving your neighbor. How do you do that? You treat him/her the way you would like to be treated. You do not pass judgment on them and you “forgive them their trespasses”. That’s it. That is being Catholic. Where does the strength and courage come from to help us live this way? From the Risen Christ Who is there every single day of the week for us in the Holy Sacrifice of The Mass.

I am a writer. I am not famous or anything like that. I  have no idea who might even read this. But I write every day so I am a writer. In my office at home I am surrounded by  a bunch of books about a whole bunch of stuff. My task bar on my desktop has the dictionary, Wikipedia , Google translate and other links at my fingertips for immediate reference. I have all the news information a click of the mouse away. I know about the church scandals, the pedophilia  and the defrocked clerics that shamed the church so badly. It changes NOTHING as far as the fundamentals are concerned. Those people decided not to follow the Golden Rule and used their positions to disgrace themselves, hurt the innocent and scandalize the Church that trusted them. No matter what, that church has never deterred from her fundamentals. It was some of the people entrusted with her care who did that.

Tomorrow the College of Cardinals will conclave. They will go into the Sistine Chapel, the doors will be locked behind them and they will not exit until a new Pope is elected. There will be no communication with the outside world. There are over five thousand journalists on hand to cover the proceedings and the speculation about topics such as birth-control, women’s ordination, “reproductive rights”, gay marriage and other subjects will get top billing. None of the thousands are reporting about the love and forgiveness the church teaches or the charity it extends and has extended to millions over the decades. None of them has a clue as to what is going on inside the conclave. Yet they will speculate and offer rumors. It is what it is.

My Pollyana side imagines that some of these folks might report about some of the simple catholics who have lived and died their faith following the Golden Rule. Catholics like St. Maximilian Kolbe, a priest who gave his life at Auschwitz so a man who had children could live. He was starved to death. They could mention Blessed Frederick Ozanam, the 21 year old student from Paris who founded the St. Vincent De Paul Society in 1833 and how this society is today a worldwide charity serving countless millions each year and also was the first charity in the United States. One more is Venerable Solanus Casey, a simple priest who spent most of his life as a doorman at the monastery where he lived. They called him “Barney” and his kind words to people coming and going made him renowned. It was all because he stuck to the fundamentals.

Yessiree, I LOVE being Catholic. All you have to do is keep it simple and L-Y-N (love your neighbor)

                                                           copyright © 2013 Larry Peterson