His Holiness Pope Francis

I am not Catholic but with the recent election of a new pope, I am intrigued by the ancient workings of the Catholic Church. I did not follow the conclave very close, but I was home when the white smoke emerged from the roof of the Sistine Chapel and I’ve read and watched international news until I’m blue in the face. Aside from the technical, historical, theological jargon, I’m offering my two-cents-worth on the recent Vatican event.

His Holiness has a lot on his plate: sex abuse scandals, international relations, and decline in church membership to name a few. At face value, the new kid on the block is quite different from previous popes.

  • Pope Francis is the first Jesuit pope, meaning he observes a vow of poverty and is known for his simplicity and accessibility.
  • He’s super-duper frugal. I’m curious about the changes in housekeeping he may make inside the Vatican. Will the sheets on his bed be changed daily, similar to hotel guest beds? Every other day? Once a week? Or at His Holiness’ request only?
  • Will Pope Francis discard the Popemobile for a more conservative vehicle? Will he keep his bicycle and transit pass? I’m thinking the protective shield that envelopes the current Popemobile will be difficult for a bicycle to maneuver. Perhaps the powers-that-be can make it happen. He is the Pope, after all.
  • His Holiness is accessible via social media. He proved this sentiment with an immediate tweet within minutes of being elected. @Pontiffex: HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM. It’s Latin for “We have Pope Francis.”
  • Finally, I am most intrigued by His Holiness Pope Francis’s decision to honor Saint Francis of Assisi with his papal name. Francis of Assisi was never ordained as a priest, but he is considered one of the Catholic Church’s holiest figures, and canonized (declared a saint) by Pope Gregory IX in 1228. He grew up a wealthy playboy, not exactly saint-like behavior, but in 1205, Francis of Assisi had a “vision” and took up a life of prayer and solitude. During a pilgrimage to Rome, he gave all his money to the city’s poor and exchanged his valuable clothes for that of a beggar. He later returned to Rome after selling his home and possessions to raise money to rebuild the city’s chapels. His Holiness Pope Francis brings evangelism and care to the poor to the forefront. His simplistic nature and concern for the destitute is a humbling characteristic; he has a vastly different sense of reality from previous popes. I pray his experience and perspective on social justice issues are seriously considered by all of us, Catholics and non-Catholics alike.


photo source

To end, I’ll share the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi. Growing up, both sets of grandparents have this poignant prayer prominently (alliteration alert!) displayed in their homes. They not only display the words, but they live the words of the prayer in their hearts and actions. I hope it resonates with you too.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Today, and every day, may you be blessed and be a blessing.


By | 2013-03-15T00:35:15+00:00 March 15th, 2013|Popular|0 Comments

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  1. Celeste Zachry March 15, 2013 at 7:38 am - Reply

    It was absolutely a blessing to read this entry. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Jody Johnson March 15, 2013 at 7:45 am - Reply

    I concur with Celeste. This was a wonderful message to start my day. Hope you have a great day!

    • Nicole March 15, 2013 at 3:59 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed it and I hope you’re day has been blessing-filled.

  3. Alyssa March 15, 2013 at 8:07 am - Reply

    Very interesting! I’m not Catholic either but I find this fascinating!

    • Nicole March 15, 2013 at 4:00 pm - Reply

      Alyssa, thank you for visiting my blog and sharing such sweet words. I think it’s important to be as inclusive as possible. I hope this post was a blessing to you today. =)

  4. April March 15, 2013 at 8:40 am - Reply

    I studied St. Francis of Assisi when I was in college — and my choral ensemble sang an arrangement of this prayer. I still love it so much. Great post!!

    • Nicole March 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm - Reply

      Thanks, April. I love this prayer so much. It resonates such a powerful message that is so easy to read, but very difficult to live on a daily basis. A friend of mine recently bought the most gorgeous olive wood sculpture of Saint Francis of Assisi when we were in Bethlehem. I go to her house just to stare at it. LOL Big hugs to you, Friend. =)

  5. Holli March 15, 2013 at 8:51 am - Reply

    I was raised Catholic, went to catholic schools up until high school, and just recently started going to a Non-denomination Bible church 2 years ago. I’m blessed that i’m not one of those angry ex-Catholics that so many churchs have. Still doesnt mean i dont have stories of mean nuns. Watching the Pope process has been incredible and acttually makes me miss practicing Catholicism. Many times i miss the pomp and circumstance but i’m very happy in my current church and the pastor is who will be performing my marriage in a few months. Um, i’m sorry i didnt mean to write such a long comment. Beautiful prayer- its also sung as a song at my old Catholic church.

    • Nicole March 15, 2013 at 4:02 pm - Reply

      Never apologize for your sweet comments, Holli!!!!!! I have so many friends who are Catholic and they often share similar stories like yours. I hope my post is inclusive and a blessing for you today. Big hugs to you, Friend. =)

  6. howdygirlwriting March 15, 2013 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    As a Catholic who’s home church is St. Francis of Assisi, this is such a wonderful post. A lot of people who aren’t Catholic always seem so quick to throw stones at us for what they don’t understand. Yes, we have a lot of traditions, and many Catholics don’t understand, but I always tell people the Catholic Church DOES and always WILL have a reason for everything it does. What I’ve seen from Francis in the past few days really warms my heart and I’m so excited to see where he’ll lead our church.

    Thank you for such the sweet post and being so wonderful!

    • Nicole March 15, 2013 at 4:17 pm - Reply

      Thank YOU for the sweet words, you’ve made my day!!!! In 29 years, I’ve quickly learned there is so much I do not understand about religious differences, but I hope to be as inclusive and accepting as possible. Growing up, my friends and extended family have always been an eclectic bunch! There are Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Seventh Day Adventist, and Muslim. I think it is a wonderful gift to be surrounded by a varied group of people with different background and beliefs.

      I recently returned from Israel where I toured the Holy Land. One of my favorite moments was standing in Jerusalem’s Archeological Park and across the horizon was the Dome On The Rock and The Western Wall. The history, the significance, and the overwhelming sense of connected-ness was indescribable. We’re all God’s children!

      Blessings + Hugs, Nicole

  7. Amber @ Our Crazy Wonderful Life March 15, 2013 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    Thank you for that beautiful prayer. I am going to see if I can find it as a printable and hang it up in my bedroom. Anyway, I just wanted to say a quick hello. I found you through the Southern Bloggers Rock link up over at xoxo Rebecca. I’d love if you could stop by my blog as well … http://ocwl.blogspot.com

    • Nicole March 15, 2013 at 9:19 pm - Reply

      Hi Amber, thank you so much for stopping by and sharing these sweet words. I’ve been to your blog and left a comment as well. As for the printable, I’m checking Etsy and a few blogger-creative friends too, if I find something I’ll let you know!

      Blessings + Hugs,

  8. Sara Elizabeth from Pearls & Curls March 16, 2013 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    This prayer is one of my favorites and I actually made a canvas with it that hangs above my desk. Our Deacon gave the homily at Mass today and he spoke in depth about how special this Conclave was and about how even though social media often has its pitfalls, that our advancements are so amazing because we get to experience such moments in real-time and it involves the whole world as opposed to “only Catholics”, so this post really ties into that whole notion! I loved reading your thoughts, so perfectly written!

    • Nicole March 16, 2013 at 10:39 pm - Reply

      Sara, thank you so much for these kind words! Your Deacon’s homily sounds amazing ….. pertinent words for prominent times. Social media is a curse and a blessing, all about perspective, right?! Be a blessing + be blessed. Hugs!!!


  9. shaggysheephome March 20, 2013 at 10:29 am - Reply

    What a holy man! I love how even non-Catholics love this man!! That prayer is one of my all time favorites!!!!!!!!!!

    • Nicole March 20, 2013 at 10:44 am - Reply

      Mine too …… I need to read it every single day, many times a day. It’s so grounding and humbling. =)

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