“We are enclosed in a narcissistic and consumerist prison...The real power is love, that which empowers others, that which arouses action, that which no chain is able to hold back, for even on the Cross or on the death bed one is able to love. One does not need youthful beauty, nor recognition or approval, nor money or prestige. Let love simply bloom… and it is unstoppable.” ~ Pope Francis (Buenos Aires, May 2013)
As I mentioned before, I was so excited about the Conclave. I watched the Cardinals take their oaths, and I watched as the doors of the Sistine Chapel were closed to begin the Conclave. I became a "chimney watcher" and made sure I watched anytime smoke was expected.
So, when Wednesday afternoon rolled around, I began to get the live stream video on the computer all set up. While setting it up a friend called. I joked about teaching the smoke stack and how we should see black smoke in about 15 minutes. I was convinced it would be black, so I was not watching closely while on the phone with my friend. Anyways, I have a habit of walking around the house while on the phone (so that the person on the phone does not have to hear my boys being boisterous in the background). As I was walking through our living room, I glanced at the computer. Smoke. It looked white. Then I saw the bells ringing! WE HAVE A POPE!! I started to freak out a bit and told my friend, "Wait. I think we have a pope! WE HAVE A POPE!" I quickly turned on the TV, yelled to my boys, "We have a POPE!" and started to cry.
After a few minutes of remaining on the phone, I got off so I could call my hubby, who, of course already knew, thanks to the Pope Alarm . . . he was in the "viewing room" at work . . . yes they had a room at his work with EWTN on all the time, so the staff could watch for smoke.
The boys and I sat anxiously around the TV to see who would come out on the balcony. You all know, I had my favorite. Truthfully, I just thought that the Cardinal we would see walk out on the balcony would be a younger, more charismatic Cardinal. I guess I envisioned another "JP II - like" Pope.
After waiting for, what felt like a long time, the lights came on in the room by the balcony and someone peeked out . . . .total tease. And finally, the announcement came, "Habemus Papem!" I strained to hear the name announced. There were about a dozen names I thought I might hear, was prepared to hear. Bergoglio? Not one of them. My first thought was, WHO? My second thought, "He is old." I was even a bit startled by the name he chose, simply because we had not had a Pope Francis yet. I would not say I was disappointed, but a bit deflated.
We watched him walk out on the balcony and then ran to the car since my oldest was already late for Cub Scouts. We listened to Pope Francis address the crowd over the radio and suddenly, I thought, "I like him." He seemed so peaceful. I started to cry when he asked for our prayers, and actually paused to have everyone pray for him. He had me at that moment.
And, I have a deeper love and appreciation for him today. As the stories of him surface, his words, and homilies, I think he is amazing. I love that he has a degree in Chemistry (I have one in Biochemistry!). And that, as Cardinal, he cooked for himself and lived in a simple apartment instead of a the palace and (seemingly as Pope now too) he rode the bus. He advocates for the poor. He is a true servant.
And I LOVE why he chose the name Francis . . .
“Some people didn't know why the Bishop of Rome wanted to call himself 'Francis'. Some though of Francis Xavier, Francis de Sales, even Francis of Assisi. I will tell you the story. At the election I had the archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo next to me. He is also prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes [O.F.M.]: a dear, dear friend. When things were getting a little 'dangerous', he comforted me. And then, when the votes reached the two-thirds, there was the usual applause because the Pope had been elected. He hugged me and said: 'Do not forget the poor.' And that word stuck here [tapping his forehead]; the poor, the poor. Then, immediately in relation to the poor I thought of Francis of Assisi. Then I thought of war, while the voting continued, until all the votes [were counted]. And so the name came to my heart:: Francis of Assisi. For me he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who love and safeguards Creation. In this moment when our relationship with Creation is not so good—right?—He is the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man … Oh, how I wish for a Church that is poor and for the poor!”
God knew exactly what our Church needs in this moment. I think Pope Francis will "shake things up" in a good way. I truly pray that, as with his namesake, he may rebuild the Church.