That was it folks, that right there. The moment that got me and got me good. Seeing the Pope stop the Popemobile to disembark and bless a disabled man being held by his brother. He kissed him and blessed him. There were so many beautiful moments today, but this one, in his moment of inaugeration to stop and recognize the least of these. Those marginalized by society. Those that most people pass by because they’re not one of us. When he kissed that man, he kissed my daughter the one who cannot speak, who does not behave as most do, who is often marginalized. He showed the world that this man, my daughter Shelby, sweet Courtney, and so many more have value, worth, and are blessed by God. As his namesake, Francis of Assisi kissed the lepers, so our new Pope is kissing all of us with our sins and imperfections and kissing those who society would rather pretend do not exist and are definitely not kissing anytime soon.
The beauty of so many languages throughout the mass. The Eastern Rite Patriarchs being at the tomb of Saint Peter while the Pope prayed there and venerated our first Holy Father. The fact that during the Sign of Peace, Francis greeted warmly leaders of the Orthodox faith. He acknowledged the many faiths represented. He began his homily being grateful this mass was celebrated on the feast of Saint Joseph and acknowledging that Joseph is the Patron Saint of Pope Emeritus Benedict and expressing his gratitude and affection for his predecessor. He spoke directly to world leaders when he said,
” Let us never forget that authentic power is service,” and then continued to include himself and his own office, “and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross. He must be inspired by the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-46). Only those who serve with love are able to protect!”
He invoked man’s call to protect God’s creation in Genesis and in the works of St Francis of Assisi. However, he firmly asserted that humanity, mankind, is indeed a part of God’s creation that also must be protected. He also invoked Blessed John Paul II by telling us not to be afraid of goodness and tenderness. He connect the service of church leaders and political leaders and leaders of families to that of Saint Joseph. We should model our duty and fidelity as servants, as protectors on that of St Joseph.
I honestly could not have expected such a beautiful mass or homily. It was reverent and focused on Christ first and foremost.
We saw much of what we are coming to view as “Trademark Francis” not only in stopping to kiss the disabled man (or a few babies) but in his greeting Cardinals Soldano and Tauran upon receiving the Pallium and Papal Ring. His obvious joy at not just the items but the men who presented them was heartwarming. And as he waited to process out to Saint Peter’s Square, he took a quick glance at his watch as if to ensure things were running smoothly and on time. We forget sometimes that a Pope also has to have a little bit of a CEO quality too.
But early on, I turned off the iPad and twitter so I could not only focus on the mass but because I was starting to feel irritable and uncharitable about what some people chose to focus on. One example: the red shoes. Check this conversation between myself and Elizabeth Scalia aka The Anchoress:
Tired of”no red shoes” being fake measure of greatness. Papal choices, both valid; red shoes about martyrs, not the man! #PopeFrancis
— Elizabeth Scalia (@TheAnchoress) March 19, 2013
@theanchoress amen honey…seriously irked at the number of tweets about it!
— Kristen Herrett (@stmonicasbridge) March 19, 2013
@stmonicasbridge it’s a very superficial and rather stupid obsession that apparently some think is a rebuke to predecessor. Tiresome.
— Elizabeth Scalia (@TheAnchoress) March 19, 2013
Rather than allow twitter to become an occasion for sin, I shut it down. And was rewarded by being embraced by the beauty of the mass.
I was slightly annoyed at EWTN for continually showing Cristina Kirchner in the crowd, but on the plus side I saw no shots of the US delegation, which aside from Susanna Martinez was extremely embarrassing in terms of choices as to who went. But I will save that rant for some other time. Communion appeared to be slightly chaotic but the 500+ priests and deacons dispensed to administer the sacrament had it under control as did various lay-officials who appeared to be helping out.
Yes, it was totally worth getting my tired butt out of bed at 3:30 AM to see this all happen live, even with little sleep the night before because of all the sick children and adults in my house. It was the absolute perfect way to start the feast of Saint Joseph which we now have big plans to celebrate for Joey.
May God Bless You as You go about this day and may Saint Joseph intercede upon your behalf to God our Father in heaven.