Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WE HAVE A POPE!

The Jesuits were originally founded to combat heresies of "break away churches" that were undermining the Church's authority; the Jesuits have the reputation of being the most intensely educated of all the groups of the Church, so it will be most interesting to see if Pope Francis I spearheads talks to bring other Church's "back into the fold" and especially the Eastern Orthodox Church. I am surprised that a younger pope wasn't chosen, given the huge field of well-qualified candidates, this attests to His Holiness' strength as a personality, priest and saint, to which all of us are called. It might seem strange that he didn't "do more" when he was brought out on the papal balcony, but "just stood there." Well, what else should he do? He was examining the flock he was been given by The Shepherd, and examining us, not we examining him, and opening himself up to the way Christ wants to feed us through him.
God be praised in His Angels and in His Saints! Amen!
Besides the obvious question of "Who is he and what he has done?" the next question is, "Who will he become and what will he do?" He all ready established two important things, one of which is terribly difficult for most people but, as a convert to the Catholic Church myself, I am very glad he did so: he asserted the Catholic Church, and the pope, as head of all other Christian churches and the head of the faithful. The press hates this. You might as well poor acid all over them, they hate it so much. The second thing he did was devote himself to rebuilding the Church in choosing the name Francis.
Then Pope Innocent III had a dream that a saint would come who would hold up the Church, and that saint was Francis of Assisi (painting attributed to Giotto). The painting makes excellent use of the New Testament as Innocent, the Vicar of Christ, sleeps in the Bark of Peter, as Christ slept on the boat during the storm, suggesting that the troubles in the Church then were like the raging storm at sea that Christ calmed with a word when the Apostles were so afraid. Additionally, we could say that Giotto has Francis posing like Hercules, that mythic strong-man figure, in an effort to recall to the audiences' minds the Labors of Hercules and compare it to the work needing to be done in the Church. It was when Francis was praying alone in a church falling to pieces, that he heard God's voice tell him, "Francis, rebuild My Church," and with God's Grace, Francis did.
It's possible that Pope Francis I has in mind Saint Francis Xavier, but in that case, I think he would have taken that name. It's rather a big deal to be the first pope to take a name (one not used by previous popes) because most popes would rather make their first act as Peter a humble one, and follow someone else's lead, but as commentators were saying, this Cardinal is no one's man, he is his own, and this is not an affront to humility, rather, the true expression of humility. Where God used Pope Benedict's talents to lay the ground work for the new foundation, it appears God will use Pope Francis I's talents to build the "new" Church upon those foundations. Choosing the name Francis, I believe, will be a great blessing for the Church and religious because--like the saint who bore the stigmata and reformed the Church with his own example of poverty, obedience and love--Pope Francis will be a fountain from which new life will flow into the Church, maybe not in the way we want or expect, but it will be what we need. Don't expect him to be too much of a Tweeter, but do expect him to be a man of great, and deep, prayer.
Now that we have a pope, I can finish the post on Oz the Great and Powerful!
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner