More Light, cameras and action!
Now as the red carpet rolls out at the Vatican, "transformation" begins. Pope Francis refused to sit on the throne, preferring to stand with his flock. He will walk and lead with a new style of simplicity following the footsteps of his first love, Jesus Christ. The burning heart of the unassuming Latin leading man, hailing from a nation below the equator, carries the Marian motto "lowly but chosen." He will convert hearts by his worthy acts. Like Mary his Blessed Mother, we discover Francis has the virtuous reputation of humility and compassion while being called "Quiet Thunder." He is the main earthly star in the dramatic scenes of "transformation," while advancing act one: "purification," with Mary, the leading lady exercising her heavenly intercessory help. In his acceptance remarks the newly cast pope smoothly began cleansing souls and set the stage for the battle scenes. He uttered to the cardinals, "May God forgive you for what you have done." This poignant message, reportedly said in jest, was a "tough love" reminder to those in the Church who try to undermine his sanctifying papacy.
It is evident by Pope Francis' holy selfless way that Catholics, whether religious or laity, will need to choose which side they are on-obedient or rebellious. Fully aware that Satan endeavors to divide and conquer. Take notice, Simone Campbell. This renegade nun purports in the media to represent the "women perspective"' in the Church, she does not. The majority of Catholic women desire to emulate Mary, not Eve. Notably the first act on Pope Francis' first full day on the job was to bring flowers to Mary, who was declared Theotokos, the Mother of God, at the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD. At the Basilica St. Mary Major in Rome he then knelt in prayer with childlike confidence at the Nativity relics of Baby Jesus. One could say he has his priorities right and he is ready for the complicated role as "Pope of ALL Nations."
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, an unknown 76-years-young Jesuit priest from Argentina, was cast onto the world stage on 3/13/2013. The date was quicker than most expected but it adds up to "13" which is interesting because "13" is the favorite number of Our Lady of Fatima which holds papal implications. Mary appeared in Middle Eastern-style garments repeatedly on the 13th of the month in 1917 to three young visionaries in Portugal requesting papal and community of the faithful acts be performed for her Immaculate Heart to ensure world peace and stability. This remains an unresolved directive for many Catholics to undertake and some feel there is an opportunity for the new pope to put a spotlight on Fatima. On October 13, 1917, the inexplicable "Miracle of the Sun" took place. Seventy thousand people witnessed the phenomena leading to many cures and conversions that day. Witnesses reported seeing The Holy Family with Mary and Joseph holding the Baby Jesus and blessing the world with a sign of the cross. The "woman clothed with the sun" was Mary and the sun danced wildly creating daunting fear and then immense joy. She promised this miracle and graces emanating from Fatima "so all will believe." The sky and ground were covered with brilliant rainbow colors, biblically believed to be a sign of God's favor. An interesting side note, media recorded an image of an angel dancing in the skies over Florida upon the announcement of the new pope.
Speaking of dancing -- good news, Pope Francis likes the tango. Dance aficionados know that tango requires the toughest and most thoughtful moves for "dancing with stars" to avoid injuries. Perfect example for the Argentinian pope, who is hoped to be a turnaround artist. Thanks be to God, the new pontiff's instructors in divine rhythm are the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Francis of Assisi. These "Christocentric" exemplars prepared Pope Francis for prime time.
It is thought provoking that the first Jesuit pope would take his name from Francis of Assisi, a 13th century saint who founded the Order of the Friars Minor known as the Franciscans. The Founder of the Jesuits, the Society of Jesus, in the 16th century was St. Ignatius of Loyola. A generalized description but with some merit, Jesuits are known for being intellectuals, ruling from their heads with advanced Ignatian spirituality. On the other hand, Franciscans are called to a humble and compassionate Christ-like approach, ruling by the heart. Pope Francis has the best charism by embracing both saints through his Ignatius background and his desire to go forward and be remembered as Francis. It was Francis of Assisi who was called by God to rebuild His Church in 1207, which was not unlike the Catholic Church today in need of "Purification" and "Transformation."
Francis of Assisi greatly influenced many popes, saints and sinners until present day. Like Pope Francis, St. Francis led by example. He taught his followers, "preach the Gospel and, if you must, use words." He was so closely aligned with Jesus Christ as his first real love that he was the first person recorded to receive the stigmata, the five wounds of Christ. Mother Teresa of Calcutta was inspired by St. Francis and her Missionaries of Charity say his prayer daily for peace:
"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life."
At first repulsed, then after undergoing a conversion of heart, St. Francis kissed the lips of lepers, gave up material attachments and consecrated his entire being to Jesus. Mother Teresa did the same opening homes for dying and destitute including the first home in America for AIDS patients. Pope Francis, we learn, washed and kissed the feet of AIDS patient in Argentina. As "His Eminence" he cooked his own meals, carried his own bags, made his own bed and utilized public transportation. These are acts of humility and love which also illustrate his frugal approach, all of which are sorely needed by leadership in our time. When Mother Teresa was conferred the Nobel Peace Prize she asked that the money for the dinner be used to feed poor families. Similarly, Pope Francis directed that the money spent coming to Rome for his installation on March 19, Feast Day of St. Joseph, instead help poor people. Catholics including Vice President Biden and House Minority Leader Pelosi would be well advised to respect the Pope's moral authority as set forth by Jesus Christ. Listen to what is revealed in Book of Revelations, Chapter 3 states: "Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches (3:13)."
All leaders could learn from these teachings of "The Word" and examples of virtuous acts. The public served would highly appreciate frugality in campaigning and government waste. Help homeless and jobless people. Instead of fining fellow Americans for looking in trash cans for thrown out food and clothes, help find them jobs and proper medical treatment. And pass laws to protect the most vulnerable in our society, the unwanted elderly and the unborn. Since peace and love begins in the womb.
Pope Francis walks the walk and walks the talk of Jesus and Mary and he rides the bus joyfully. "Purification" and "Transformation" are two great scenes leading up to the next act. An Irish prayer to St. Patrick is also in order since he is the famous terminator of demons, "May we be in heaven an hour before the devil knows we are gone." Stay tuned in The Light and be ready!