The Power of a Name

While I am indeed a Catholic Sister, anyone who knows me well knows that I have an interesting relationship with the hierarchy of the Church.  I may quote Pope's from time to time from their social encyclicals to try to move people to action on behalf of people who are poor or marginalized or to mobilize for peace, but that's generally about it.

When folks have asked me my opinion about our new Pope Francis, I have joked that my Dad's name is Francis (Papa Francisco).  I have posted the photo of the then Cardinal Archbishop on the bus in Argentina on the blog and on Facebook as a hopeful sign that he is down to earth.  I've listened to some concerns and stories of his conservative stand on social issues and some impressive stories of solidarity with people on the margins.  For the most part, my reaction has been one of "wait and see" in a spirit of hopefulness rather than suspicion.

Then, this morning, I watched this video of the Pope explaining in his own casual and storytelling way what happened when he realized he was going to be elected by his brother Cardinals.  You can sense his trepidation and his humanness.  You can also, I believe, experience the presence of God in that moment through his story, in the support of a friend, a gentle reminder, a seed of inspiration.

True confession time .... I actually cried after watching this video.  Me, moved to tears by a Pope telling a story.  If you don't know me, you might not find that unbelievable given that I am a Catholic Sister after all.  If you do know me, you realize how weird that is.  Yet it is true.  Moved to tears by a simple man telling a a story to a few thousand reporters about how he got his name.


"Immediately with the thought of the poor, I thought of Francis of Assisi. I thought of wars, while the vote counting continued. Until the end of all the votes.  And Francis, the man of peace. That was how the name came into my heart, Francis of Assisi. And for me, the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and guards creation. At this time we have a relationship with creation that is not very good, right?  And the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man. How would I like a church that is poor and for the poor." Pope Francis, March 16, 2013

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think he gives us all a lesson in how to use language--concrete, specific words to call a spade a spade. The language of the social sciences--particularly sociology--serves only to obscure issues and imply it is something to study, not to address.

The truth is those of us who have not experienced true poverty (and I count myself in this group) have a very hard time developing a poverty of sprit and to find the modest--even poor--words to speak of it.