Those of us who love the Church are very excited that the Holy Spirit has provided us with another Vicar of Christ. Once again, the flock has a shepherd. Since we’re still in Lent, I’ll suppress my desire to say “Alleluia” and instead say “Rejoice”! I’m personally very excited for two reasons. First, I didn’t see this one coming. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was not one of the men on my “Pope radar” and I like that. This is a reminder that God often chooses people who we would NOT choose to do His work. With all of the prayers said for the Cardinals recently, I’m confident that the Holy Spirit was guiding them as they made their decision.
Secondly, I like the fact that Pope Francis is the first Jesuit Pope. After leading the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola last year on my radio show, I’ve grown to love St. Ignatius and his spirituality. Honestly, what’s not to love about someone who coined the motto “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” (For The Greater Glory Of God)? St. Ignatius was very aware that we often have inordinate attachments that hold us back from loving God fully. The Jesuit motto reminds us that everything we do should be for God’s greater glory, even if it’s not pleasing to us.
Now for the bad news. As many of you already realize, we’ve started to hear and will continue to hear an endless stream of commentary about the new Holy Father:
He’s too liberal.
He’s too conservative.
He’s going to make massive changes.
He’s not going to change enough.
I hope he comes down hard on “Cafeteria Catholics”
I hope he supports the ordination of women
You get the idea. While the mainstream secular media will be responsible for much of this speculation, you’ll notice that a lot of it will be coming from folks like us. Bloggers and social media types will be giving us reasons why the Holy Spirit erred in selecting the current pontiff. We’ll be tempted to become negative and cynical. I would urge you to resist that temptation and instead thank God for our new Holy Father, keep him in your prayers and to trust in the words of Jesus:
“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Mt 16:18-19)