“Deafening Anonymity” That was Pope Francis’ description of our unwillingness to turn towards, look at, recognize those people we do not want to see; the homeless, the poor, the disenfranchised, the non-believers, the suffering, the ones who frighten us. His words entreated those who would hear him to “Wake up”, “Go forward” and reach out to all who need our compassion, acceptance and understanding. Pope Francis spoke eloquently to all of us. He clearly described and empowered the fundamental shift in consciousness that we must make in order to change the direction of not only our own lives but the direction of our country and ultimately the world. For example, Francis told us we need to look at 9/11 from the perspective of our own culpability in the circumstances that led to that tragedy; our turning away from seeing how our choices are impacting one another and the world. Pope Francis invited us to acknowledge our part in the global condition that created such a tragedy because each one of us has a part in it and a responsibility to look at that part.
Not everyone will be able to hear Francis’ message. Many do not believe in God or have any religious or spiritual connection and will reject his words. Some will focus on what he said or did not say about various social issues as a way to discount his overall message which is that everyone, no matter their beliefs can “Wake Up” to the world around them and take responsibility for the choices that are destroying life and our planet. It’s not about whether you believe in God or not; whether you believe in Christ’s love for us or not. It’s about really seeing each other and giving everyone the respect and dignity that they deserve. Francis’ message is about moving toward a global consciousness that empowers us to become aware of the suffering around us, the destruction of our natural resources and the daily choices we make that add to the problems. If we “Wake Up”, if we become aware, we will naturally begin to change. We don’t have to believe in anything but the sanctity of life, all life, to have a compassion that empowers us to action.
Some are calling Pope Francis a Rock Star! But I believe that what we witnessed was the Christ in him shining through. Francis gave voice to what we would all find in our hearts if we had the courage to look there. We can no longer live for ourselves and our families alone. We are being called to be bigger than that or at least to strive to be bigger than our small selves if we are going to change the world.
Those of us who believe in Christ will see Him in those who suffer as well as those who threaten us. We will see Him in the compassion of others as we saw Him in Pope Francis. Christ loves us so much He provides us with whatever we need to move through the darkness into the light. Many have not heard the message of redemption that He carries to us but they will feel the love if we extend it to them. If we meet them where they are at and not demand that they be at a different place. Francis recognizes the Christ in all people no matter what caste, race, religion or ethnicity; no matter if they know God or not; no matter if they are indigent, ignorant or insane; sinners or saints. They are all part of the Body of Christ.
This holy man made us see how we have failed to change the world but that we can try again. He even gave us the formula for doing so. He said “To change the world we must be good to those who cannot repay us.” Pope Francis sees the body of Christ not just as Catholics or even Christians. He sees the body of Christ as all people. We are all the Body of Christ and Pope Francis blasted this over the airwaves and every media device in his soft humble voice so that everyone was given the opportunity to acknowledge that part of themselves if they chose to. He empowered thousands of people to “Wake Up” to the truth within them. Christ is coming. Christ is coming through his body – all of us.