Then the LORD said, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.“
A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD – but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake – but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire – but the LORD was not in the fire.
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.
1 Kings 19:11-13b
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.
There has been a lot said about Pope’s lately because of the news. The Resignation of Benedict XVI, The month-long period of his Papacy winding down. The media speculation on the upcoming Pope. The New Pope Francis I and the Latino and media going gaga over Francis’ simple moves of humility like this one:
While popes have for centuries washed the feet of the faithful on the day before Good Friday, never before had a pontiff washed the feet of a woman. That one of the female inmates at the prison in Rome was also a Serbian Muslim was also a break with tradition.
But the more I think about all that has happened in the last 60 days my thoughts turn to Pope John Paul…the first.
John Paul I was elected in August of 1978 and served only 33 days as pope before his unexpected death on September 28th 1978. There has been a lot of speculation concerning his short papacy but if you want to understand why his papacy was so short all one has to do is look at two things his selection of a name and who followed him.
Albino Luciani picked the name John Paul in honor of this two predecessors Pope John XXIII who consecrated him as a bishop and Pope Paul VI who made him a Cardinal. While that might be a nice sentimental touch it certainly didn’t symbolize the direction that the Church was destined to go.
Just a month later he would be dead and with a leading liberal a few votes away from election, a young compromise candidate from Poland would take the papacy and everything changed.
John Paul II would transform the church, and the world. He came into the papacy at a time when the secular word was doubting the church and God and predicting its downfall or transformation. He would steer in a direction different than groups like the National Council of churches who decided to bend to the culture. As they faded into irrelevance. He would lay the cornerstone of the modern papacy, help bring down communism and inspire a generation of faithful Catholics and make the Catholic Church the voice of Christianity and Christ throughout the world.
This is the Holy Spirit in action.
Fast forward to 2013, the successor to both Peter and John Paul II whose Papacy while successful has been under constant attack by secular forces, gave an interesting speech and unexpected speech: (all emphasis mine)
After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.
And here we see the deep connection with the Spirit in Benedict XVI. He can discern the message requiring a new voice is needed in the Chair of Peter to dynamically lead, but that he still has a task to perform.
And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer
And now when everyone was speculating over various candidates the man on nobody’s lips Jorge Mario Bergoglio would be elected Francis I who has through his acts already been committing what Elizabeth Scalia calls “Deep Evangelization“.
Imagine the impact on the heart and mind of a reporter who doesn’t believe in much of anything hearing the pope say he loves him; that he expresses respect for her person! Over time, it might bear enormous fruit that would never even bud, by intellectual engagement, alone. Spengler once said “Benedict has a mustard seed, and he’s not afraid to use it.” I think Pope Francis, via the Holy Spirit, may be Benedict’s Mustard Seed.
Considering the timing it’s rather amazing or rather it isn’t if you believe. The Spirit knows the needs of the church all it needs is the faithful to hear and say “Yes.”
Like Benedict XVI.
This post wasn’t supposed to exist. I went to bed expecting to write my Easter one when I woke up with the idea for this post.
When it was finished I followed up with the post I meant to write that is scheduled for Easter.
Fortunately for me while I was writing this post and the other DaTipJar got one hit moving myself a little bit closer to this week’s $300 paycheck.
Thanks to that hit only six more Tip Jar hitter kicking in $20 are needed to make this week’s paycheck a reality. Care to be one?