Awaken by the consistent mosquito bites I was getting this morning, I checked my phone for messages at around 4:30AM. That's when I learned from Luwi that white smoke had emitted out from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, which means a new pope had just been elected.
Knowing that I'm late on the news, I still jumped out of my bed and immediately ran to the TV set. There, I saw the 266th successor of Peter and the newest leader of the Catholic Church, His Holiness Pope Francis.
|photo not mine|
Hailing from Argentina, it is said that little is known by the international community about then-Archbishop Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio. But according to his constituents, he is a symbol of humility. When he was still a bishop, he didn't stay in the palace where the pontificates stay. Instead, he has an apartment from where he travel to his office consistently - using public transportation. It is in his character to socialize with the poor, just like St. Francis of Assisi.
As pointed out by Lea Ayuyao on Twitter, Pope Francis is a symbol of beautiful ironies. From there, I can say that we can expect great things from the new leader. At the moment when the Church is in need of total reform internally and externally, the election of the new pope brings about hope that things will soon change.
I must admit that there was a tinge of sadness that Cardinal Tagle wasn't chosen, but the joy of having a new Holy See overpowered that. I particularly found joy that he chose to be the first 'Francis' in the papal history. It feels good to know that someone aspires to be like St. Francis of Assisi in modern times like this; and it's even better that it's the leader who does.
When I started thinking about how he will take his first step as 'Francis', video footages of his first appearance were shown on my screen. Instantly, it dawned on me that my religion is in good hands.
If I'm not mistaken, the first thing he did upon appearing in public is bow before the people at St. Peter's Square. It was simply remarkable that I got so emotional. How a person endowed with such high power and authority among billions of Catholic could humble himself before his flock, I would perhaps never understand; but I know that it takes great humility to do that. Much more when he asked the people to bless him first and pray for him in silence before he gives his first blessing as Pope.
There is no lies in here. At the break of dawn, I was crying in front of my TV. That very moment, as I listen to Pope Francis' speech, I felt safe and protected - like all the troubles and challenges the Church is facing right now will soon go away. It was elating. It was joyous. It was peaceful.
The new Holy See had asked everyone to continue praying for him, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and the whole Catholic Church. He also requested that brotherhood and fraternity be practiced well among us all. Everyone is equal, and everyone should reach out to each other. To me, that's an invitation to participate in the change we want to see.
Now, who am I to refuse my pope?
Until now that I'm writing this, I still feel goosebumps whenever I remember his face in my reverie. Aside from the admiration that he named himself 'Francis', I can't help but notice his resemblance with Pope John Paul II. He has the same calming smile and aura, and perhaps, that's what drew me to him easily. You see, the late pontificate is my favorite and it will be very nice if the new pope will continue his senior's legacy.
At the election of Pope Francis, the Catholic Church had opened a new chapter in its history. A new beginning has dawned upon us and together with the Holy See, let us come together and restore our faith that we may be a better flock.
Oh dear, now I have to thank the mosquitoes for waking me up.