The Pope of Hope...Yesterday's announcement of a new Pope caught me off guard. The early morning news reports suggested that it might be as late as Monday of next week before white smoke would rise over Vatican City. A quick chance glance at Facebook changed my afternoon: HABEMUS PAPEM !!!! White smoke!
Several folks gathered around my computer, watching a Live Stream of news from far away--waiting as we so often find ourselves doing in this life. Waiting for word of the new Pope, finally unveiled--Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, from Argentina--presented to the world. He chose the name Francis I. At first, I spectulated it was taken for St. Francis Xavier--a Jesuit--same order as the new Pope. But as day turned into night in my setting, I learned he chosen his name for Francis of Assisi. And I went to bed feeling hopeful!
The Pope of Hope, I've dubbed him! I haven't listened to news today or crused the internet. Instead, I've focused on his first few acts--the choosing of his name and his asking for a blessing from the people. Deep humility? O, I so hope! Francis of Assisi was a reformer who wanted to bring the people back to the joy of knowing Jesus. May his name sake bring about reform in our day. May there be dialog among people of many denominations and faiths.
Last evening, the Parish where I serve as an Associate, and our local Methodist church gathered together for an already scheduled service of Eucharistic sharing--Episcopals and Methodists linked together by the Wesley brothers (who never stopped being Anglican priests, I hasten to add!). Yet, we were all struck by the events of the day and recognized in the end, we are all united in Christ.
This being Lent, I feeling a little like I want to do Stations of the Cross this Friday. Our parish does not have Stations except for Good Friday. In the Spirit of Francis of Assisi, and Francis I, I may join in our local Catholic church this Friday--to walk the pilgrim way.
Our prayers are with you, Francis I. Peace and all good!