Leaving the mall yesterday, coffee in my hand, I walked quickly to my car. A few white snowflakes drifted by my eyes. Having been rather consumed the papal conclave, my immediate thought was, "I wonder if these are white ashes indicating a white smoke?"
I laughed to myself when I got in the car, at about 2:10, turned to the news radio station, and heard the wild applause. I knew what it meant, and it was all I could do not to start beeping my car horn to help them celebrate. Just five minutes or so prior, white ashes were indeed floating around St. Peter's Square.
I sat in traffic on the way home with butterflies in my stomach, waiting for the new pope to be announced. It took FOREVER! (about an hour, but it seemed so long, because they kept saying he would come out in about 10 minutes.)
Nervous. Why was I so nervous? I'm not Catholic.
"The Pope is for everybody," I have heard said many times before. I used to scoff, thinking how nice it was of these folks to share, but I didn't want any.
But now, I think I might be starting to get it a little. I am not Catholic, but I am part of the catholic church. In the sense I am using, "catholic" (the one with the lower-case "c") means "broad" or "wide-spread." Catholicism is a part of the Christian catholic church, and so am I.
I have one unshakable belief: Jesus Christ, Son of God died in my place to atone for my sins. He did that because He and the Father, who are One, love me and have given me that gift to spend eternity with them in Heaven. There is no other Way.
If you call yourself a Christian, hopefully that is what you believe as well. If you are Catholic, you probably call yourself Christian as well, and that would make you my brother or sister in Christ. I rejoice with you.
So, who is the Pope to me? Hard to say, as it is not my church. That's how I see him -- as the leader of the Catholic church. I attend a church with a phenomenal pastor. He preaches the Word of God as absolute Truth, and he practices the love of Christ to all of his sheep.
I am excited because another Christian church is getting a leader who appears (from what I have seen) to have a similar loving expression for those in his enormous fold. I love the "idea" surrounding Pope Francis, that of simplicity and poverty. He appears to champion humility, a Biblical principle that the Son of Man demonstrated when he washed the feet of even the man who was going to betray him. He has a heart for the poor, which was also something we saw as Jesus found abandoned lepers to heal, and even a man who lived in a pig's wallow.
I like him. I have no idea what the hope is for his policies and such. There is plenty in the Catholic church that I do not necessarily agree with. I'll steer clear of all that discussion. But the bottom line is that members of a Christian church need to represent Christ. They should have a leader to show them what it looks like.
There has been talk about walls coming down because he is not European. But I hope that when Pope Francis was selected, the Cardinals weren't thinking about that. I hope they were looking at his heart and choosing who they thought God had ordained to lead this church.
I ask God to bless the new pope, Pope Francis I.
3/14/2013 11:04:53 am
I particularly applaud the Pope "name" he chose--honoring Francis of Assisi--the humblest of the humble who could commune with the "lesser creatures" of God's good earth!
3/14/2013 03:57:04 pm
Thanks, Jessi. I agree. It's about Jesus. If you are a Catholic who has accepted Jesus as Savior, you are a Christian in my book. Period.
3/14/2013 11:10:08 am
God bless him,indeed.He has a monumental task in front of him.He'll need all the prayers he can get.Like you,I'll leave the theological errors of his denomination to the professional theologians & listen to Pastor Barry.Excellent piece.
3/14/2013 12:45:31 pm
Historic Protestant View of the Pope
3/14/2013 04:09:52 pm
Interesting thoughts about the AntiChrist. It really could be anyone, and I see how someone with that kind of power and following could be given a second glance. But doesn't the Bible say that he would be born in Europe, as the Americas will have no part in the end times? I have no Scripture to back that up, just what I remember being taught. (You might know better than I, and I'm sure you've done your research, Martin Luther. ;) )
3/14/2013 01:01:52 pm
Please review this
3/15/2013 05:13:35 am
Again let's break your statement into bullet point .
3/15/2013 08:12:05 am
ML, the protestant church has had MORE than it's own share of messed up doctrines. I don't think that this blog is the place to bullet point them, any more than it's a place to bullet point the catholics. Might I suggest doing this type of thing on your own blog, instead of trying to commandeer someone else's?
3/15/2013 09:20:36 am
Anonymous , Well lets define Protestantism. Protestant is not everything that is not Roman Catholic. Protestant are those that believe in the teaching of scriptures as articulated by the reformers and even some before their time. Now it could be argue that some branches of those that identify then self as Protestants have forsaken the the true teaching of scripture then you have the majority of famous teachers now (TD jakes, Rick Warren, ETC) that want to call then self Protestant but in reality they are false teachers.
3/15/2013 10:01:53 am
First of all, as a Catholic, I would like to thank Tracy for her kind words about our Holy Father. We truly are brothers and sisters in Christ as we walk this journey of life together.
3/15/2013 03:00:10 pm
I also enjoyed your post. Thank you for the respectful support you give to our new Pope Francis. You did not make any statements that needed to be corrected. Some of ML 's statements do. Catholicism does not support a false gospel. If anyone is interested in learning what the Catholic Church actually teaches and why please go to a solid Catholic source such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church not someone who is responding to a blog. Other great resources to consider are Catholic Answers.com or Askacatholic.com.
3/16/2013 04:18:45 pm
Here's my thought.
3/16/2013 04:32:22 pm
Tracy, I feel that your post was very insightful, encouraging and unifying. Rather than being divisive, you shined the light on our common bond of Christ. In response to ML's litany of disagreements, I applaude your passion but I disagree with your "facts". As Karen said, examine your sources. Also, examine your heart. If your passion is truly for the gospel, than you would peel the scales from your eyes and be delighted to find that the Catholic Church is nothing but the gospel. Have you ever been to Mass? Don't go with a fight in your heart, go with a question in your mind and ask God to reveal to you what you are missing. It is interesting that you use the Sacred Scriptures to attack the very church that gave them to you. Ironic, but don't fear, because I also felt the Catholic Church was off base, until I investigated it as an adult and found that many of my "issues" were actually misconceptions that I was fed by misinformed non-catholics. I hope you put your fists down and really open your mind and heart to the possibility that the church that Jesus started was, is and always will be. He is waiting for you to stop sling mud at Him and His people and see for yourself what a good job He did in establishing His Body here on earth.
3/17/2013 09:46:15 am
You held up well there,Tracy.I think ML may have been Martin Luther himself.My hope is the new Pope upholds his name.Francis of Assissi is one of my heroes of the faith.RC theology is riddled w/unn=ecessary extras;but Francis cared nothing for these.Il Poverello was the friend of the poor & weak;quite a contrast from the wealthy merchant family he was born into. I'm sure RK explained the errors quite well.The "Little Poor Man of Christ"cared for none of that.
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