Monday, October 5, 2015
Pope Discovers USA
More accurately, the USA discovers the Pope. By any standard the Bishop of Rome man is unique, and uniquely gifted to touch the hearts of people. The operative word here may well be “touch”. For his hands-on embrace of one and all from infants to criminals was nothing short of awesome.
No doubt his talks with the high and mighty presented us, time and again, with a global view that was compassionate. How different that was from the vulgar food fight that passes for political campaigning here in our own time and place. Most of all however, it was in the everyday word and gesture that Pope Francis brought home the place of our personal responsibility to right the wrong that surrounds us. I have been blessed to know well the sites where the shoes of this fisherman trod from Vatican City to his six days here – New York, Washington, Philadelphia (including St. Charles Borromeo seminary, named after my “patron saint”.) They are impressive one and all. Yet it was on the highways and byways where the spirit of goodness shone most brightly. From Fifth Avenue, Central Park, Fairmont Park. Simple gestures, caring embraces. Indeed, to borrow from the late communications guru, Marshall McLuhan, who first pronounced “the medium is the message”, the Holy Father showed us all that “the messenger is the message”.
How long will this “Francis feeling” last? Who's to know? Each of us must choose to open our own hearts to the call. Or we can ignore it all together, and return to the same old pedestrian back-biting that symbolizes our pursuit of the bigger cars and larger houses that symbolize our American Dream of more and more dollars.
What about me? I will answer the Pope's request to “pray for me” and by doing so, lift up my own game by living a better life, trying to remove the many prejudices that weight on my tired old body and soul.
And what about you? Well, if you feel inclined to remember me in your own prayers, that would be very welcome.