“Something to Love, Something to Be Bugged By”: Pummeled by The Anchoress

I didn’t sleep last night, playing out my crankiness over the Pope Wars in mental and spoken potential posts of staggering snarkiness. I raised my moralistic eyebrow higher and more uncontrollably than The Bachelor‘s notorious Tierra, whose eyebrow had its own Twitter handle. What made me so cranky was the inevitable rebound effect. Lots of those folks who, early on, so resented enthusiasm for Team Francis expressed as criticism of Team Benedict are now turning the tables and expressing their loyalty to Team Benedict and its captain with outright criticism of Team Francis and its captain.

Yesterday, when my Facebook news feed and Twitter page weren’t being flooded by pink equal signs on red and/or condemnations of the h8ers who weren’t changing their profile pictures to pink equal signs on red (another source of crankiness, another post for another time), I was seeing (and my eyebrow was replying to) stuff like this:

If Pope Francis wants to live in community, let him pick some cardinals to move into the papal apartments with him.
“Maybe he wants to live with real people, who get up and go to work every day and like to sit around at dinner passing the pasta and shooting the breeze?” Joanne’s Supercilious Eyebrow (JSE) replies.

[On the photo above, posted on Facebook] This is the Patriarchal Chair of Peter? An armchair? Tell me this is photoshopped.
“Peter sat in a smelly fishing boat, not on a gold throne or an armchair. And it’s not photoshopped.” (JSE)

By celebrating Holy Thursday Mass in private for a bunch of Muslim delinquents Pope Francis is denying Catholics the right to celebrate Holy Thursday with their pontiff.
“Go to your parish; the pope will be praying for you and with you wherever you are and he is. Even next to infidel yoots. Maybe especially there.” (JSE)

Jesus never washed the feet of sinners.
“Really? First I heard the Apostles were immaculately conceived.” (JSE)

Why doesn’t he just resign if the papacy is too much for his humble, simple self?
“Umm, wait—wasn’t that what Benedict did?” (JSE)

I’m miffed. I’m heartbroken. I’m appalled.
“You make me want to post a Grumpy Cat meme. You know which one.” (JSE)

As I was attempting to pull those I’m-rubber-and-you’re-glue gems into a post, however, God sent deliverance. The Anchoress Elizabeth Scalia (returned from Rome and sitting up and taking nourishment, God be praised) said it better and more prayerfully and without a single snarky eyebrow. And with this paragraph, she brought me to repentant tears:

Practically from the moment he appeared on the balcony of St. Peter’s, gazing with remarkable placidity upon the throng before him, it has been clear that this pope is a spiritual brawler — to the world, a quiet menace, because a spiritual brawler will smile and offer you nothing but ferocious tenderness, the kind that will impact, repeatedly, on the solar plexus, until we are breathless and ready for mercy. The world needs precisely this sort of pummeling — anything besides tenderness, and its guard would be forever up. As I have said before, everyone in turn, and in varying measures, is going to find something to love about Francis and something to be bugged by; we’re all going to be challenged out of our comfort zones.

Pummeled, utterly, by The Anchoress. Read it all, and follow the links contained, and read this too from Sam Rocha, who gets it.

Pummeled, in truth, by this pope, who is doing what is so hard—forcing us to look beyond him and the accidents of his papacy to the One whose substance he emulates, by whom we all are judged and loved, next to whom no eyebrow-lifting counts. The One who confused the hell (literally) out of everyone he encountered, including, at times, his own family. Who had no home but the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the house of Martha and Mary and Lazarus, with whom he loved to keep company. Who did Holy Week on his own agenda, and would not be turned aside even by those who loved him best. Who ate with infidels, and touched them with mercy, and drank water from their unclean buckets, and allowed as how, even though his mission was to the lost sheep of Israel, the dogs had a right to receive the crumbs from the table after all. Who spoke so simply and so without guile that people got nervous. Who refused any crown but thorns, any royalty but mocking purple rags, any kingdom but his Father’s.

This pope pummels my soul, delivering a roundhouse blow every second of every day in which I refuse, not to ask What Would Jesus Do? (because I know, and if I didn’t, all I’d have to do was look), but to Do As Jesus Does.

Friends, forgive my snark, my judgment. May the grace of this tender pummeling strengthen and purify our souls for the struggle. May this Holy Week open our eyes to Christ in our midst . . . and keep our eyebrows humbly lowered.

  • The Hermit

    Today (Holy Thursday) the priest of a local parish will be in the church long before the customary Maundy Thursday liturgy begins for a simple service of foot-washing to which he has invited anyone & everyone in the city–especially the transient, the guests of the local homeless shelters, the folks who take their meals at the soup kitchen and the member of the local Somalia community (most of whom are Muslim). Father said he will stay as long as it takes for him to wash the feet of those who show up. His theory being that if “tax collectors and sinners” are the sort of people Jesus spent time among (see Mark 2:9-11), and if the poor and those in prison are the sort of people Pope Francis will spend some of his time among this Holy Thursday, then he wants to give a similar witness of Christ-like servant leadership.

    In the end, God will not judge us by any pope’s choice of clothing, (the world will not be saved by the wearing of red shoes), his living quarters (the Son of Man had ‘no place to lay His head’ while on earth, if I recall correctly), or the style of chair he chooses to sit in while conducting his ministry as servant of the servants of God (I imagine God in Christ sat on the ground a lot). According to Christ the Foot Washer we will be judged by the love we have shown to the least of our sisters and brothers. Them ain’t my rules; them’s God’s rules. (Matt 25:31-40).

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I want my servant-leaders to play by God’s rules. In Pope Francis, so far, so good.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    Who are these jackasses in what you call “the Pope wars?” Thank God I’m not on Facebook. I have in a few places here on Patheos Catholic said that Pope Francis is a shot in the arm to the church and better suited for the times, but in no way was I intentionally disparaging B16, and in no way am I participating in Pope wars. B16 is a giant of a thinker, possibly the leading theologian of our day, and a truly holy man. Both are great men with different styles.

  • Linda Rufi

    Doesn’t anyone think the Holy Spirit has a plan and all we are asked is to trust and cooperate. It is division that has caused so much pain. My grandmother always said “If you can’t say something nice, be quiet” . Please stop fighting, it makes the Enemy rejoice. It is okay to love and respect both Benedict 16 and Pope Francis, enjoy the gifts each one has brought to our faith. Move forward in His name.

  • Kimberlie Meyer

    I can’t help but think “for such a time as this…” Each of the two previous popes and our current Pope, had/have particular charisms for particular times. This is what the Holy Spirit wants us to learn now. We are not to just be hearers of the Word but doers as well. Thank you Papa Francis for the reminder.