Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Francis: Rebuild My Church

So I'm in the midst of studying and taking my comprehensive exams to receive my Masters in Theology, as you all well know. After finishing my four hour exam IN two hours (never can tell if that is an excellent or terrible sign!) I head home for a quick respite and then pack up to go back to my *favorite* Starbucks library to claim my usual table to begin studying for day 2 of the exams. Day One was the catechetical stuff, tomorrow is the hardcore Theology. And as you all know, I am NERVOUS. Especially about the latter exam. 2000 + years of material! You can't screw that stuff up!

As I am driving to said Starbucks, the texts, the tweets, and the emails start coming in: Habemus Papam! We have a new pope! So instead of engaging in the texts and tweets, I turn on AM radio (for I'm pretty sure the first time of my life). I quickly park my car and run into my favorite 21st century library, take my usual spot, throw open my laptop and turn on CNN streaming. The crowd is waiting. Curtains are moving. We are gonna get the big reveal soon!

This takes me back to 2005 when Benedict XVI was elected. I was at my first real job after graduating from CUA for the *first* time. I was at the parish in which I was a youth minister and my colleagues in the Religious Education department had their computers and radios on trying to get word and catch a glimpse of who the new pontiff would be. I had heard of Ratzinger. I knew he was well written and a big name in Theology. He seemed like a solid choice, though I will admit, I was a little apprehensive. He seemed a little too "safe" in my mind. *Too* intellectual.

Eight years later, I am *still* very much involved in religious education and youth ministry and reading texts written BY Ratzinger as I wait upon my second graduation from Catholic University. Our methods of communication are a little more evolved this time. People were talking about "pope alarms" and websites, but I KNEW Twitter would not let me down. Any time I want to know what is going on, I immediately turn to Twitter, and so this is how I watched the election of the 266th pope: on my laptop, in a Starbucks, with Facebook and Twitter live streaming. As any 21st Century Catholic would :)

While I had my proverbial money on the 55 year old Filipino from Manila, Cardinal Tagle, in our second time running "pope pool" (yes, this is what CUA graduates do...) I am excited about our first Latin American pope. Our first Jesuit pope. Our first "Francis".

Twitter is my favorite because people are SO damn clever and quick and among my favorite tweets from others were: "A Jesuit name Francis? This IS a first!" and "Christ commanded Francis: Rebuild My Church."

That latter tweet. really got me. Francis of Assisi didn't understand that commission and tried to rebuild an ACTUAL church- San Damiano. We know now, though, that Christ wanted a new movement, a new ministry. One focused on a life of poverty and simplicity rather than the opulence of the time. I think the name Francis is much more enlightened and inspired at this time than any of us can even fully know right now...

I was a little disappointed that our new papa is a little on the older side- 76. I thought with this resignation we might learn our lesson. But my friend (who I was texting while live streaming and tweeting , etc :) said to me: "They weren't looking for another JP2!" But I replied to her: "But maybe *I'M* looking for another JP2!" I mean, come on...POLISH POPE! Even Babci - the woman who cried to the other sisters when I entered the convent about how she didn't want me to enter- has a picture of JP2 framed in her kitchen.

But I guess I need to realize that it is rare that for 24 years of my life I only knew one pope. And JP2 is already on the fast track to being canonized which is also special and rare.

I think these "firsts" with Francis already seem positive. I pray for him and for the Church that we can all embrace that commission to Francis: Rebuild My Church.

Also, can we just appreciate that it is amazing that I wrote ANY of this after taking part 1 of my comps this morning?!? Miracle of miracles!!


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