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Pope Francis is Destroying Me (in a Good Way)

December 5, 2013

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Every day it seems there is another phenomenal story in the media about Pope Francis. It shouldn’t be so surprising to see someone act in such a Christlike manner and yet the actions of this man have caused the world at large to sit up and take notice.

Being a fairly outspoken Catholic, I’m often asked what I think about Pope Francis. People sometimes ask because they’ve heard of his seemingly endless charity. Others ask because they’ve heard media distortions of the Pope’s comments that lead them to believe that he is fundamentally changing Catholicism (clearly this guy bought that argument, sigh).

If I’m to answer the question honestly I have to point to how often Pope Francis challenges my heart. It’s like he shines a light on my soul, which is often more willing to engage in my faith from an armchair and a keyboard, not reaching out to the “least of these” around me. He puts my priorities in perspective and challenges me to stop holding on so tightly to the world. He reminds me what joy looks like and how fleeting many of our troubles really are. And it hurts in the best way possible. We all need to be destroyed a little bit (ok, a lot bit). We need to shatter the idol of self and turn our gaze outward. Once you see an authentic example of this, there’s just nowhere to hide.

While New Media has certainly helped spread the word of Pope Francis’s Christ-like deeds, it is the deeds themselves that have garnered the attention. There is a lesson to be learned from this for all of us engaging in New Media, and it is a message that spans the history of Christendom itself.

1 If I speak in human and angelic tongues* but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. 2 And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3

In this season of Advent, as the Church awaits the celebration of the birth of Jesus, I hope we look to the example of Pope Francis and understand that the world at large is also awaiting Christ in you and me. Pope Francis has showed us the way. Daily, he is teaching us what evangelism means. He, and the world, now await our hands and feet to follow his example and bring Christ into their midst.

“Go…” (Matthew 28:19).

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