He visited DC, NYC and ended his trip at the World Meeting of Families in Philly this past weekend. He has been on the go go go since he stepped foot on American soil. Speaking, visiting, celebrating Mass.
And everyone is watching.
Every media outlet is covering it in some way. Every.single.one.
People from all faiths, all walks of life are talking about Pope Francis. Talking about Catholicism. It'a a beautiful thing.
And I'm all.... not. I just haven't been into it.
I feel like a really horrible Catholic or something for even admitting that.
But, it's the truth. I have been thinking and reflecting about why that is. Why is it that I am not as excited as the rest of the Catholic people, as the rest of the world?
I still can't put my finger on it. It might be a combo of things- stress about getting to work (I work in DC), I have been blessed to be in Papa Benny's presence twice and didn't feel the urgency to see Pope Francis... maybe. There is SO much about our dear leader that I love. And there are some things that give me pause. I also really really really miss Pope Benedict. I feel like people give him a bad rap for choosing to retire, and that just makes me sad.
Martha seemed had similar thoughts about it in her own post. Check it out, but I especially liked what she said at the end:
The thing about Pope Frances is that when you talk of him, you can never really be sure what to say. There's so much to love and so much to confound; much to celebrate and to mourn. When he speaks, we always want to believe the best - but it's so rarely clear that's what he means. Perhaps that's why we're silent - because, just like the rest of the world, he's simply giving us a lot to think about.
Regardless of what I think or don't think about the Pope being in town...
I am proud to be Catholic.
If you've been around for a while, then I'm sure you have picked up on that. :) I wanted to elaborate on that juuuuust a little bit. I am hoping (praying!) that with all of this coverage of Papa Francesco and our beloved Church, people will begin to get a glimpse of the Church that I love. Maybe they will see Her beauty. Her love. Her joy.
Usually our culture and world think it's weird, degrading, discriminating or just plain wrong. In many ways, it's a radical way to live. And you know, I love it! Here are some of the reasons why! Disclaimer- I am no theologian, I am an imperfect daughter of Christ who has found her home in the Catholic faith. I am just being honest in my love for the faith, but if there is something seriously glaring that contradicts Church teaching, let me know.
God's love. It's the basis for everything in the Church. His love is what keeps me going... when I am rude, unloving and say stupid things, God still loves me. All of me. When I worry, when I doubt, when I am angry, when I am judgmental, when I don't love myself. God does. Always has, and always will. It's such a beautiful and powerful thing. It's a love that I don't understand, yet God calls us to this love, anyway. We are called to bring that love to others. To serve and give of ourselves to every single person. Our families. Our friends. Our coworkers. Our enemies. Babies. Elderly. Homeless. Christians. Non-Christians. Those that believe what I believe, and those that don't. It's not a choice. Every person deserves love because they are part of the human family, created out of love by the One who is Love.
Ok, ok Jen... we get that. But, Catholicism, really?
Every.single.thing the Church teaches is based on that love. We are called to love and serve all those around us, in our house, in our neighborhoods, in our workplaces and around the world. No single person is off limits to His love, and thus our love. The Church and her wisdom calls us to something more. Pushes and guides us to extend that love.
My absolute favorite thing about the faith: it is truly universal. Every Sunday at Mass, people from across town, throughout the country and around the world, across cultures and languages, are hearing the same readings from the Bible, praying the same prayers, receiving the same Eucharist. Every.single.mass. WHAT?! It blows my mind. It welcomes every single person in the world, because it's a reflection of the love that God has for each of us. We are all messy, sinful and crazy, yet there is a place for each of us in the Catholic faith.
It is Truth. It just makes sense. It's logical. It has believed the same things since the days Jesus walked the Earth. It brings together science and faith in a beautiful way. It stands up for those truths, no matter what. It pushes and challenges me to be who God created me to. I don't want to be complacent in my walk with Christ, and there is no way to be that way when you are doing your best to live the Catholic life.
It is beautiful. From the old architecture of the churches throughout the world to the wonderful pieces of art to each individual. Catholicism is rich in beauty. The dignity of every.single.human person (babies, the homeless, the disabled, the elderly, the mom, the dad, the friend, the coworker) is beautiful in the eyes of God, therefore, too, in the eyes of the Church.
It serves others. Obviously, Catholicism is one of the biggest proponents of social justice, serving those in need and helping those in the trenches. Throughout the world, Catholic organizations are doing all they can do to bring people out of poverty, feed the hungry, get kids to school, protecting the Christians that can't proclaim their faith. It's part of God's universal call to love. The Catholic faith takes that very seriously.
There is always someone else. Listen, Catholicism has been around for thousands of years now. The people that have gone before us- the Saints, and saints. Those that have learned how to live a life of love and holiness better. There is always someone to pray for you. Those people in Heaven, but those that you see at church on Sunday. People who would love, more than anything, to pray for you and your needs. There is also someone who knows how to answer your questions. There are people who have studied the faith, written books and created ways for us to understand the faith better. No matter what your question- there is someone else who has also asked it, and most likely answered it. If there isn't a clear answer, there are discussions about those things. And, it's pretty awesome! We have a natural desire to want to know about life and Truth and love- the Catholic faith is ready for those questions!
The sacraments. It would be remiss to not mention the wonderful sacraments. Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Reconciliation (confession), Matrimony, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick. These tangible gifts of God's grace is simply an amazing thing. The Church believes, without a doubt, that each of these Sacraments provides people with Grace. A gift from God, to be able to get through the crazy of life. It's an amazing thing really.
I have found a home here in the Catholic faith, and for those that don't always understand why... I hope this helped, at least a little bit. I want to be the best person I can be - to always strive for that - and I believe Catholicism pushes me to be just that.
Know of my prayers for you!