Friday, March 15, 2013

His Holiness, Pope Francis: New Inspiration!

Long Live Pope Francis!

His election surprised everyone, including me, I thought the Cardinal Electors would choose someone younger as advanced age was the center of Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, resignation, not knowing that this person as a Cardinal has a remarkable background and inspiring lifestyle.

A day after he was elected, the official site of the Vatican published a detailed story about his life and why he chose to reign under the mystical name of Francis.

It was only then that I understood why God allowed him to win the Papal election. The Conclave follows a very sacred process of casting votes with a severe punishment given to those who will be caught divulging details of the conclave, it's the best-kept secret process of the centuries old existence of the Catholic Church and Vatican Palace, known with its legendary secrecy, made sure no one will eavesdrop at the sacred deliberation. Each Cardinal elector will be under oath before God and the Holy Bible upon entering the Conclave, it has no other influence to consider except divine intervention, thus a papal election is the most secretive and intensely sacred deliberation in the world. The Cardinals sought guidance from the Holy Spirit when casting their votes putting each ballot at the chalice, so whoever wins the election many believed is personally chosen by God.

The tricky thing is that Cardinal electors will meet the gaze of Jesus Christ inside the Sistine Chapel each time they will cast their vote because the table they occupied is directly facing the image of Jesus, and when they raise their head they will face "The Last Judgement" which depicts scenes of the second coming of Christ, the scenes in heaven and hell and the disgruntled souls of the sinners. This scenario prompted Cardinals to choose a candidate based on wisdom and morals.

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is said to be the lone rival of Pope Benedict XVI during the 2005 Conclave so his election came as no surprise to the inner circle of Cardinals and Vatican Palace officials. But to the outsiders who had no clue who is this man who earned the trust and respect of fellow Cardinals might be left wondering with his election. There must be something extraordinary in him.

And when I read thoroughly the story of his life and the testimonies of people who knew him I was amazed with his personality, his humility, his modesty and simplicity and his great love for the poor, truly he magnifies the true essence of the servant of God "majestic simplicity and humility". His choice of regnal name also reflects his life style and his intention to "purify" the universal church. Francis is taken from the name of St. Francis of Assisi, who was known with his simplicity and great humility. He gave up his fortune to live in poverty and served God with all his heart. He was also a man of peace who loved the nature and animals. And the new Pope exactly wanted to be like that, he wanted Church to be poor that cares for the downtrodden and the oppressed. He wanted peace and harmony among God's creation. He wanted church leaders and believers to live in simplicity and away from grandeur and luxury. He wanted to preserve life and promotes public morals.

Truly he is God's answer to the cries of the Catholic church to renew the morals of the faithful, to protect God's creation, to remind everyone that each one of us has a mission to fulfill in this world through our faith, to inspire Catholics to remain loyal and devoted to the church especially those who are confused, who are easily deceived by other groups, who are looking into the other directions of life appreciating and joining fundamentalist groups that shook the very foundation of the Catholic   church.

Now I began to adore and love the new Pope. The Holy Father is such a great inspiration just like Blessed John Paul II whom I greatly admired. One of the great lessons I'd got from the life of Pope John Paul II is the act self-mortification which I often exercised on some instances especially during Holy Week. Self-mortification is a total self denial indulging on things you are used to and comfortable with, especially luxurious things. I often mortified myself on Holy Thursday and Good Friday by not texting, not using laptop, not eating comfortable foods. Back in the province, we considered Good Friday as the day wherein you have to experience sufferings in any form, refusing to take a bath, engage in excessive talking, and eat rice is one way of carrying your cross.

The newly elected Holy Father is noted with his monk- like lifestyle and frugality back in Argentina. I want to make him as a great inspiration in my life---to remain faithful to the Catholic Church's traditional teachings and to keep a very simple and humble human existence not fascinated with expensive things and luxurious lifestyle.

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