Editorial: A New Pope….If Only

Once in a while all the confusion and complexity of the world is rolled back, and we can see into the human heart.  I believe the choice of a new Pope is one of those times.

If only for a little while, the crowd that fills the Vatican and the media that broadcasts the new Pope’s appearance converge to send the rest of us a message:  a deep hunger runs through humanity–the hunger that the ways of God might be realized on this planet.

The challenges facing the Roman Catholic Church will return soon enough, and the rejection of religion by those who think God is an impediment to progress will be back on the scene–but for a little while—an “if only” has its moment.  And the whole world clings to it.

The religious and secular media will write and reflect on the new Pope’s choice of his name: Francis.  They will delve into his history in Argentina, a history apparently marked by the spirit of St. Francis: humility, simplicity, and love.  And they will speculate as to the ways his personal predispositions, together with the fresh promptings of the Holy Spirit, will direct “the faithful” in the coming years.

But as we watched with interest and even with emotion, we can thank God for reminding us through this ecclesial act that our hearts, when unencumbered, still sigh, “If only these things could be the tone and the trajectory for the world.”

Let us pray for the new Pope:  “Lord have mercy!  Christ have mercy!”  Let us pray the Lord’s Prayer, even as the new Pope led the world in the praying of it today.  And let us, whether Roman Catholic or not, commit ourselves anew to the Gospel incarnated in Christ, lived by St.Francis, and now manifested in Pope Francis I.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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5 Responses to Editorial: A New Pope….If Only

  1. Bill or Nancy says:

    Wonderful writing, Steve. Bill read this to his study group last night. We certainly enjoyed seeing both of you the other evening. We’ll come your way next time. Blessings. Nancy Date: Wed, 13 Mar 2013 19:47:51 +0000 To: howey126@hotmail.com

  2. skoots1mom says:

    i loved how simple he kept his first address and included the community as they prayed together.

  3. Kenna Sapp says:

    Thanks, as always Steve for a thought-FULL reflection for such a time as this!

  4. Michael Sanders says:

    Amen Brother Steve. I see these kinds of things and in my heart I sense that there is great spiritual hunger in our world. I have the St. Damien Cross in my office, the one in which the first St. Francis meditated upon and heard the Holy Spirit say – “rebuild my church” – St. Damien in particular and the universal church overall! May it be so…

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