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He was a janitor, nightclub bouncer, chemical technician and teacher of literature. Now, Pope Francis is the Person of the Year. The honor accorded by Time Magazine is given to the person with the greatest impact on our lives during this year. Our Pope is truly a man of “firsts” – the first Pope to take the name Francis; the first Pope from our hemisphere; and, the first Jesuit.
However, all of these firsts were not the reason for his choice. Rather, all the world sees in Francis someone who seeks our prayers, works for the poor, lives humbly and counsels others to do the same. The incredible outpouring of love for Francis does not come from his astute theological work, although he is certainly a man of wonderful intelligence and wisdom. It comes instead from an admiration for the way that one of the most powerful persons on earth lives. Does he not embody the thought of Francis of Assisi – Preach the gospel always. Use words only as needed? Does he not call to mind another simple man, some two thousand years ago, who had no home to call His own, loved the poor and both lived and died for us all. How refreshing is it, that this world that appears to value only what is steeped in riches, has taken to its heart one whose treasure is his humble service of God’s beloved poor.
What do we see when we look in our mirror? Are we like Francis? Do we want to be? I am sure that if we could ask Francis how we could be like him, he would humbly dismiss that notion and suggest instead that we follow the words of Jesus Christ that give us guidance in this world and eternal joy in the next.
God bless you!