First the boys and I crowded around the computer screen to see this, then we turned on the television and waited.
Then we listened as we heard Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran announce the words we were waiting to hear. “Habamus Papam” and I listened for a name. The name I heard Bergoglio was unfamiliar, but I understood the name he chose was Francis. It wasn’t Dolan, O’Malley, or Wuerl. Not Schonborn, Scola, or Ouellet. And the name he chose was not Gregory, Leo, Nicholas, Boniface, John, Paul, John Paul, Benedict, Pius, Linus or any that I had heard a Pope use before. We were watching NBC and like Brian Williams I was impatient for Cardinal Egan to tell us who this was, exactly. And then his image flashed up on the screen, he was Argentinian. He looked kind. He looked humble. He looked like our Holy Father.
The boys and I hugged and I was crying. They had eagerly watched the smoke stack with me. They had increasing excitement watching the crowds and the return of the Swiss Guard and the bands. And we waited and waited to see the man who would be Pope. And when he emerged, it was nothing short of magnificent.
(And he’s actually just Pope Francis not Francis I…yet.) We watched and listened and prayed. We prayed for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. I was crying too hard to keep up with the Lord’s Prayer. And we received his blessing. His first Papal blessing.
And debate erupted on the interwebs was he Francis for Xavier or Assisi? He is a Jesuit. But he has lived a life of humility, using public transportation, not living in the palatial dwelling reserved for his Eminence in Buenos Aires. And in the end, it actually does not matter, maybe one, maybe the other. Perhaps both.
He was chosen by the Holy Spirit, of that, I have no doubt. He was never named a front-runner. He was not well known outside of his native land. He is well respected and loved by his brother Cardinals. He loves the poor and those not looked kindly upon by society.
Miserando Atque Eligendo
Lowly and yet Chosen
His Episcopal motto says all anyone needs to know. He promised us a blessing, but asked that we pray for him. He prayed first for the man who preceeded him in his office. He showed in those first moments the humility of a servant. A true servant of God.
He is the one I was praying for. The one I pray more for now (prayer is needed now more than ever). He is our Holy Father. And as predicted, I love him. With an everlasting love. A love that existed before I knew. God Bless Pope Francis. And God Bless Your Church on Earth.