Papal First Impressions and a Prayer

Like most of the world, I was watching and waiting for the new Pope to emerge once the white smoke appeared. When Cardinal Bergoglio from Argentina was announced, I can’t say he was someone I was familiar with since I didn’t follow the papabile that closely. But what little they shared about the man on TV was impressive.

First, he looked overwhelmed and a little in shock. But that’s a good thing. We don’t want a pontiff who thinks, “I’m the Pope! I rock!” We want a Holy Father who prayerfully and fearfully thinks, “Dear God, help me in my responsibility to all these souls.”

As Cardinal of Argentina, he seemed to live very humbly, cooking his own meals and taking public transportation to work. It’s also telling that he, as a Jesuit, chose the name Francis for his new name. It could refer to St. Francis Xavier, who was a Jesuit – or to St. Francis of Assisi, who is quite the humble role model for anybody, especially a Pope. Or maybe it can refer to them both, thereby signifying the type of diverse moral and spiritual leader he will be for the Catholic Church.

Since The Christophers adopted the Prayer of St. Francis as our prayer when we were founded in 1945, today I offer this slightly altered version for the benefit of Pope Francis I. May God bless him always and give him the capacity to lead all souls to heaven.

Lord,
Make Pope Francis an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let him 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 he may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
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.

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