While I’m a Christian, I’ve never been a huge advocate for organized religion. I’ve always tied in my belief in Christianity with traits that just make someone a decent human being. I don’t really care what someone wants to call themselves — being a good person is what I think matters above all else.
That being said, Pope Francis has been extremely impressive during his short time as the leader of the Catholic Church. While he’s not perfect (nobody is), it’s clear that he’s making a conscious effort to bring real change to the Catholic Church and Christianity as a whole.
Well, over the Christmas holiday Pope Francis took a giant leap toward fully winning me over. During his Christmas Eve mass he actually dared to deliver a message of hope, helping, peace, acceptance and understanding. You know, values for which Jesus Christ actually stood.
The Pope said about our lives, “There are both bright and dark moments, lights and shadows. If our heart is closed, if we are dominated by pride, deceit, self-seeking, then darkness falls within us and around us.”
In other words, just be a good person. The more people live a life based on arrogance, pride, pure selfish ambitions and manipulation to get what we want, the more the bad (darkness) engulfs humanity.
He also used the symbolism of Jesus Christ in that he was the son of God (if you’re a Christian) yet gave up everything infallible about himself to come to earth. Pope Francis said of Jesus, “You are immense, and you made yourself small; you are rich, and you made yourself poor; you are all-powerful and you made yourself vulnerable.” He also reminded people that the first people to hear of Jesus’ birth were shepherds, who were often seen as outcasts.
His message that as human beings we should accept one another, help one another, live in harmony with one another and love one another is a message that’s been missing from many leaders of the Christian faith for far too long. Especially on Christmas.
Oh, and did you hear he shared his birthday breakfast with three homeless gentlemen?
Now I know, the cynics will point out the many flaws that still exist within the Catholic Church. What those people fail to realize is that not all change is instant. I fully believe Pope Francis has a much bigger plan in mind, but realizes that some of those more drastic steps (like pushing for real changes in official views of the Catholic Church on issues such as homosexuality) will take some time.
But I will say this — for the first time in my lifetime, I care about what a Pope is doing. For most of my life I just viewed the Pope as a symbolic hypocrite of an extremely flawed church. However, since Pope Francis has taken over, it’s clear that his mission is to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.
While he still has a lot of work to do, for the first time in my lifetime, I think a Pope has actually won me over.
I’m excited to see what the future holds with Pope Francis leading the Catholic Church.
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