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Thursday, 14 March 2013

Personal Thoughts on the Election of the New Pope Francis

Personal Thoughts on the Election of the New Pope Francis
By Uwakwe Chibuike MFC
The New Pope former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who has chosen the Papal name – Pope Francis, is a man of inestimable simplicity and humility. As CNN commentators describe him, he is a man that requires no introduction. He is 76 years old but his physical appearance speaks more of his fitness for the papacy. His humility is confirmed when he bowed down and requested for the blessings of all the pilgrims gathered at St. Peter's Square. 

We attribute his election to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and that is what it is. But if we may ask, why not any of the other 114 cardinals? The answer is clear, he was elected because he is the most qualified. Like Jeremiah we can say that God may have prepared him ahead of time like He also did to the Madonna, but Bergoglio struggled to maintain that divine grace of preparation in him. Simply put, he used the grace of God to work out his success. We all have a unique gift which we can use to work out our success and salvation. Perhaps someone reading this now has the potential of becoming a bishop, a manager of a big firm, a governor or a great leader, so always be conscious of the limitless nature of what God can do with you when you act so that you act in such a manner that will not be an impediment to your future career but a stepping stone. 

Often, we are judged by the evil we do, more often, we are judged by the good we omit but most often, we are judged by the good we do. We all may not be innocent of doing any evil, we may as well be guilty of omitting the good we ought to have done, but we have the best opportunity to do good now. The evil we do today may speak more than the good we omitted but the good we do today will continue to sing our praise. The moral is that people around us take note of all we do and omit. Today, we are on the stage to act but tomorrow we shall join the spectators to play the record of our actions. We feel joy when it is comic but sad when it is tragic. Now is the time to amend our scripts. Our actions today as seminarians, priests, bishops, students, children, parents, etc. will define us if we become something higher tomorrow.

That is why I fear history. In case you have forgotten, history shapes and defines man. Whatever you do, people trace your history. Whatever you omit, people trace your history. Whatever you become people also trace your history. History is only written with pen and paper. Of course we write our history but God gives us the ink (grace) with which we write. The society is our paper and our consciences provide the eraser with which we erase mistakes. We may write good and bad lines but we are proud of our history only when we erase the bad lines and replace them with good and legible lines everybody can read and be happy.

And what has the New Pope to teach us? - That the hand of God is always there for us if we are prepared. Successful luck is confirmed when preparedness meets a good opportunity. He was not among the powers that be in the Vatican. He was never in the fore-front but was always simple and humble. Yet the hand of the Lord picked and elevated him. We can therefore learn to do the right thing always no matter how insignificant it is. Today, testimonies of his pastoral life and ministry are coming up. More evidences are being called up to re-echo the words he spoke against social injustice and the culture of death. His ingenuity in pastoral leadership is being testified to. Yet in his simplicity he introduces himself as the one "who is here", a struggling Pontiff who needs the prayers and blessings of the people to move ahead. Therefore, wherever you are, do the best you can. Nobody may seem to observe you but history will never forget the good things you did. One day, you must be celebrated beyond your imagination. A holy and decent life is the key to a successful and glorious life. Pope Francis is a testimony every Christian should associate with for the hand of the Lord is always there to pick and elevate us if we are prepared.

About the time the last Pope resigned, some people came up with a Prophecy of Popes attributed to St. Malachy. This prophecy lacks Ecclesiastical authentication. The prophecy and its varied commentaries claim that the new Pope would be the last Pope in history and in his tenure, the Church and Rome would be destroyed. The proponents of this prophecy would have given us before the election other descriptions of the next pope other than the title "Peter the Roman" mentioned in the prophecy. Now that Pope Francis is neither Peter nor a Roman, they might still use their intelligence to cook up other theories that would justify the new Pope as Peter the Roman as they did to other Popes e.g the use of "Glory of olives" for B16. My advice is that Catholics should ignore those ideas even if they sound logically correct because it is only an attempt to use logic and linguistic abracadabra to lead the uninformed away from their faith as they do in pro-life issues by re-framing their terminologies to seem morally okay.
I won't be surprise if they bring up new theories to talk nonsense about him and justify him as Peter the Roman because they have more than enough intelligence to confuse those who want to be confused. But we must stand our ground. The Pope is real, not an anti-Christ or anti-Pope and only God not that prophecy knows if he would be the last Pope in history.

But then, Pope Francis is a celebration not only for the Universal Church or for the Church in Argentina or for the Jesuits but for me in a special way. Do you know how? Will I say he chose my name or that we bear the same name? We have the same Patron saint - St. Francis of Assisi. Above all, we are both attached to Mary. He is the Pope Francis who loves Mary, who requested her intercession in his first Papal Speech and who visited her grotto that night he was elected Pope while I am Mary-Francis Chima (MFC). So can you say congratulations to us? LOL.

So Congratulations O Holy Mother Church for your Holy Seat is no longer vacant. Rejoice O Catholics for we have a new Pope. Hail O Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio for you lose your name and remain Pope Francis. We are happy for you and pray for you. Long live the Church.

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