The subject of this post is way outside my typical list of topics. But because it’s such a rare experience for me to be so affected and inspired as I have been by Pope Francis’s determination, authenticity, and grace, I felt compelled to write something.
I do not actively practice a religion. But understanding the tenets that guide Judeo-Christian values, I try to live ethically and morally and follow the golden rule and try to be a good citizen and caretaker of the environment. Though I try, I am aware that I compromise my ideals every day, by driving a car, by not sharing as much as I could with the less fortunate, and in many other ways. But today I am trying harder, because of Pope Francis.
Having been raised on Long Island, in a mostly Catholic community, the voice of the Catholic Church has never escaped my consciousness. At first my awareness came through “osmosis,” but later in life by consciously following its public message, both overt and covert.
Although there have been popular and dynamic Popes that preceded Francis, none, in my opinion, have more effectively proposed the changes and solutions that are most urgently needed, both for the Church and the world, than Francis.
Immediately upon his ascension to the Papacy, Francis began to make his mark, to change the Church’s tone and the focus. Some say Francis has crossed the line into politics and world affairs, places where the Church has no business. On the contrary, there are no more important matters for the Church than the welfare of humanity and the earth. Every leader of every religion with a following should take Francis’s lead to challenge their congregation to make a difference. Francis’s most important issues: to help the less fortunate and displaced, to save and nurture the environment, to help eliminate wealth inequality and injustice.
I am not Catholic. Yet Francis is an inspiration to me and others, among whom I had rarely heard a positive word about the Catholic Church. During his visit to the United States, Pope Francis has asked people to pray for him. I am praying for Pope Francis and trying harder to make a difference.