Welcome to our new Pope, Pope Francis I. We happened to have the tube on when the chimney suddenly started pouring out white smoke. A handsome Italian correspondent had been blabbing to some lady on the news about how everyone was standing in the rain and what time it was in Rome, when there it was. It was so very exciting to be a part of that moment and then wait holding our breath to see who had been chosen.
Do nuns always cry when a new Pope is elected? Not always. I didn't cry when Pope Benedict was elected. I figured he was a shoe in. I wished I had had a bet in Vegas on that one.
But this was so thrilling and unexpected.
It was his name that did me in. Francis. That is a message to the world.
We've talked about St. Francis of Assisi many times here in the cyber convent. He is everyone's favorite saint for his beautiful and thorough humility and love, his poetry and compassion. He was the most faithful follower of Christ's teachings that I can bring to mind, and his simple philosophy caused the numbers in his order and other orders of priests and monks and nuns to balloon in his own lifetime.
|the travels of St. Francis Xavier
I know there are some who think he choose Francis after St. Francis Xavier, who was also a Jesuit like the new Pope. But those in the know in the Vatican (if we are to believe the handsome Italian correspondent) say the new Pope was thinking of St. Francis of Assisi.
Of course, St. Francis Xavier was no slouch. He was one of the founders of the Jesuit order and he traveled to India, Japan and Borneo. He converted more people around the globe than St. Paul and he was sharp as a tack, learning that languages of the people he sought to convert and changing his tactics to get their attention when whatever he was doing wasn't working.
Our new Pope has such big shoes to fill. When he first stepped onto the balcony, I was struck by how burdened he looked. So did the other people out there with him, shuffling around with the microphones and banners and flags. Pope Francis' first remarks were comforting. His job is overwhelming.
The world is overwhelming.
It's still Lent. A today, we know exactly where to offer our suffering.