We must restore hope to young people, help the old, be open to the future, spread love. Be poor among the poor. We need to include the excluded and preach peace. – Pope Francis
He tripped ever so slightly as he climbed the long stairway to the airplane. Fortunately, he managed to grab onto the hand rail and steady himself before taking what would have most certainly been a bad fall for a man his age. Several of his Cardinals and other members of the Pope’s entourage stood helplessly at the top of the stairs witnessing the Pontiff’s close encounter with gravity. Then, Francis gathered himself and finished his climb, unassisted. Once he’d made it safely to the top of the stairs but before entering the plane, he turned to the crowd below and smiled sheepishly, waving as if to say, “well, that was a close one!”
Can I just say that I think Pope Francis is a rock star? He just is. If, for no other reason than that he just seems so darn human.
Unless you’ve been comatose for the past week, it has been hard to avoid news of the Pope’s visit to the United States. If you ask me, all the coverage has been a refreshing hiatus from the constant news cycle of politicians saying absolutely rotten things about each other. I believe this is true regardless of how you may personally feel about the Catholic church or even organized religion, in general.
Confession time. The last really good, go-to-Mass-every-single-Sunday- Roman Catholic in my family was my grandfather. If he was still alive, I think he’d be giving Pope Francis a big old Irish thumbs up for his ability to shake a Church that many feel has needed a good shaking for quite a while. I believe it was Winston Churchill who was credited for once having defined tact as the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. As I listened to Francis during several of his televised appearances, I was not only intrigued with his messages on important issues like poverty and protection of the environment, but his delivery, as well. This is a man who clearly intends to get things done. A man who walks the walk. This gives me hope for those who love the Church as much as my grandfather did.
He’ll go home to Rome this week, this rock star of a Pope. We’ll all wave goodbye and hope he makes it up the stairs without a fall. Then, we’ll go back to listening to the noise and spin of men and women with expensive haircuts attempting to trip each other up on cable news programs. The politicians will continue their bluster and the news anchors and “experts” will continue their analyses. We will yawn and try to discern between fantasy and reality. As we do, I hope we can also hold on tightly to the words of one old man in white robes who came and spoke simply to us all.
Because it would be awesome if we all tried to do a little bit more, a little bit better, in spite of all the noise.