My faith and spirituality are incredibly important to me. I really love being Catholic; kind of weird, but true. It's an important faith tradition that I pass to my children. While I do not agree with everything my Church teaches, I believe in the Faith, the Sacraments, and the unique aspects of my religion. One of my fondest memories is attending Mass with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. It wasn't a private audience, but it was impressive and he extended blessings upon me and my family. Being in Rome as a Catholic...it's just an amazing experience. Anyhow, I've followed the retirement of Pope Benedict and the resulting papal conclave with great interest. Basically, I've read just about anything written on the subject in the past month. I was glued to the Internet when the white smoke came and watched the balcony for the first glimpse of the new Pope. Pope Francis! I was surprised. I hoped for a South American or African pope. I was convinced that Cardinal Scherer would be a front runner (for all we know, he was). Bergoglio wasn't even on my list. Shows what I know. Anyhow, I think a Pope from the Americas is a great signal and an incremental step to more progressive changes (this is a 2,000 year old church, we move in baby steps).
Today, I am happy to have witnessed the papal transition. In honor of Pope Francis and the awesome service he now performs, I intend to pray the prayer of St. Francis-at least until Easter.
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;
and 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. Amen