Wow! What a week! What a month!
It has been a little over a month since Benedict XVI abdicated the Chair of Peter, leaving the Papacy vacant. Now, after what felt like a painfully long 5 ballots, the Cardinals of the Roman Church have elected Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina the 266th Successor of St. Peter. He has chosen for himself the name of Pope Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi.
He is a simple man. Now, by this, I do not mean that he is an unintelligent man, nor a man easily used by others. Pope Francis chooses simplicity. This is the reason why he has chosen the name Francis, after the poor beggar from Assisi. Simplicity brings freedom. It brings the freedom to embrace the Gospel. For Jesus Christ is simple. He offers us grace. He won it for us on the Cross. If we embrace the Cross, we receive new life. What could be more simple than that?
In fact, it seems all too simple for many people. Like Namaan the Syrian, who could not believe that the cure for his leperosy was to simply bathe in a river (he did, and he was healed) many modern people cannot accept that God loves us so much that He has won our freedom in Christ. All we need to do is accept that fact with faith. Surely it must be more complicated! Actually, it’s not much more complicated than making the choice, and accepting initiation into the family of the Church.
To a complicated world, Pope Francis brings an uncomplicated message, and an uncomplicated style to match. To me, he seems like a man who will get to the point, who will cut through the vanity of things with the gentle poverty of Christ. The world was once won over by Francis – maybe the world my be won over again, and the Church renewed.