Today was another historically significant day as the cardinals finally chose a pope. People were elated when they saw the white smoke (I thought there’d be at least another day of voting left) and waited another half an hour before the successor was announced. Sadly, I was away from the television when the appearance on the balcony took place, but I was kept up to date via Twitter as I headed for lunch. Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Argentina became the first pope – in over a thousand years, I read – to come from the Americas (as opposed to Europe) – and is Jesuit. The 76-year-old pope is the 266th pope and has chosen the name Francis, the first of that name. I wondered if it was in honour of Saint Francis of Assisi, whose well-known prayer is one of my favourites and a good reminder:
Lord, make me a channel of thy peace;
that where there is hatred, I may bring love;
that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
that where there is discord, I may bring harmony;
that where there is error, I may bring truth;
that where there is doubt, I may bring faith;
that where there is despair, I may bring hope;
that where there are shadows, I may bring light;
that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;
to understand, than to be understood;
to love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.
As people all over the world, Christian and non-believers, scramble to learn more about the new pope will be ‘installed’ on 19 March, I pray that our hearts will be open and that there may be a spiritual revival. What I love best about Pope Francis’ actions today is that, after he had thanked the crowd, he asked first that we pray for him. This is the most important thing to do that we often forget to do in this busy world. Today I have two specific people I’d like to pray for:
- Pope Francis – May he ask for Your wisdom as he leads the Roman Catholic Church. May he hold onto Your Words and not be easily swayed by what the public wants. May You use him to help the poor in spirit and to bless them.
- Queen Elizabeth II – May she have a quick recovery from whatever ails her. Grant her strength, rest and faith.
Today’s event brought my Catholic friends to mind (I identify myself as Christian though most Catholics would [rather] identify me as Protestant). It’s interesting that my Catholic friends from Europe are more devout than the ones I know from Canada. In fact, the latter simply wear it as a name tag which makes me wonder why they still want to be identified as such if they do not care for it. Well, I have lots of questions in my head. I greatly appreciate your opinion or answers. 🙂
Recommended Article (Updated: 14 March)
Why the new pope chose Francis as his name (theglobeandmail.com)