Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Here's Why

You can read why The New Yorker chose Pope Francis as Person of The Year in 2013 here

I want to thank everyone that has written to me expressing their concern and sympathy after my recent post in which I wah-wah-wahed about not being able to take a trip this fall. Along with the caring words, many asked if I would share exactly where I wanted to go that would be beyond my capabilities, and so this post addresses those requests. It's not a secret, sorry if it appeared that way, and to be honest I'm still stewing in my juices over my decision. Wah. Wah wah. You can read why I'm not going here.

Before I begin, however, I'm asking y'all a favor: Please, please, please.......I respect completely your freedom to choose how you worship or if you choose NOT to participate in religion, so I would appreciate the absence of any commentary whether here in the comment section or via email regarding my choice of expressing my spirituality, which is in Roman Catholicism. I only make this request because previously I've received some snarky communications in which my choice of faith is questioned.

I am what I am, people. And I love that y'all are who you are, too.

Alrighty, then.

Do you admire a living public figure, be it a rock star or an actor or and elected official, or......well. You get the idea. Would you do just about anything to see that person face to face? Or just to be in the same general vicinity as that person? Would you feel that you would somehow be a better person just because you could be present when he/her did what they do best?

You do? So do I.

I want more than anything to see Pope Francis in person.

I know, I know. There's a zillion opportunities to see and read his works in the media. He has his own Facebook page and tweets regularly as @Pontifex on Twitter, for pete's sake. And, of course I follow him on Facebook and Twitter. I have read his first encyclical and I'm looking forward to reading more. But as any person that is a rabid fan of a celebrity knows, the experience of video or print is just not the same as a personal encounter, even if that encounter includes a million other people.

I have a feeling that this gentleman is something beyond special. I wonder if someday he will be a saint. His deep compassion for everyone, including every person on this planet, along with his incredible depth of spirituality is evident in every thing he does and says. One of my favorite of his meditations is entitled "God's Lullaby" and includes this passage:
...“You are righteous because God has come close to you, because God caresses you, because God says these beautiful things to you with tenderness: this is our justice, this nearness of God, this tenderness, this love”. And “our God is so good” that He runs the “risk of seeming foolish to us”. Indeed, the Pope affirmed, “if we had the courage to open our heart to this tenderness of God, how much spiritual freedom we would have! How much!”. He then concluded with some practical advice: “Today, if you have a little time at home, pick up the Bible: Isaiah, Chapter 41, from verse 13 to 20, seven verses. Read it!”, he said, “in order to enter more deeply into the experience of “this tenderness of God”, of “this God who sings to each one of us a lullaby, like a mother”.
Tenderness. Love. Beauty. A lullaby. What an amazing, comforting, and healing message to us all.

Pope Francis will be in the United States this fall and one of his destinations is Philadelphia to celebrate the World Meeting of Families. During his visit, Pope Francis is expected to attend the Festival of Families on September 26th and celebrate Mass on Sunday, September 27th. Both of these events will be held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, PA and are free and open to the public. I had hoped to be one of the millions to celebrate the Mass with Pope Francis.

You can read more about Pope Francis in this article from the December 2013 issue of The New Yorker. Here's an excerpt but you can read it in full here.
“Who am I to judge?” With those five words, spoken in late July in reply to a reporter’s question about the status of gay priests in the Church, Pope Francis stepped away from the disapproving tone, the explicit moralizing typical of Popes and bishops. This gesture of openness, which startled the Catholic world, would prove not to be an isolated event. In a series of interviews and speeches in the first few months after his election, in March, the Pope unilaterally declared a kind of truce in the culture wars that have divided the Vatican and much of the world. Repeatedly, he argued that the Church’s purpose was more to proclaim God’s merciful love for all people than to condemn sinners for having fallen short of strictures, especially those having to do with gender and sexual orientation. Continue reading here
So. There you have the real reason behind my tantrum. I wonder what Pope Francis' advice to me would be should I vent my complaints to him......?


Heda said...

Take the comfortable little car or is it too far. Sorry my geographic knowledge of the USA is poor to say the least. Travel slowly. Rent an apartment so you can come and go as you please. Arrive several days before the big event. Concentrate only on doing the priorities.
I'm walking the Camino later this year. Absolutely terrified I will wind up a blubbering wreck but I am going to give it my best shot. A last hurrah maybe but important to me and worth taking the risk.

Sue said...

Hi Julia, I agree that this Pope is something special. Perhaps you could fly in well in advance. Hunker down in a hotel or B and B and just attend an out door Mass. Use wheelchair if you have to. My son has a nifty collapsible transport chair that we take everywhere we go and it was only a couple of hundred dollars. Maybe one outdoor Mass would be something you could manage?

Anita Rowe Stafford said...

I think missing out on your heart's desire to see Pope Francis and be in Philly for this event justifies a bit of a sulk, but you picked youself up and faced the facts, ugly as they are. Missing this chance is sad, but don't give up -- another chance could come. Stranger things have happened, you know.

mcspires said...

I agree with some of the others - if you planned appropriately and agreed to use a wheel chair, wouldn't this be something you could do? Maybe you should reconsider?

But if you just don't feel like it is possible, then I agree a short sulk can do wonders, just remember to move past it and think of all the things and trips you CAN do.

Liz said...

Prov. 3:5-6
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understand.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

Trust and Patience Julia, tons of it for you.
With hugs and prayers, always

Nanc said...

Julia, what a beautiful, inspiring story. I hope that your dream really does come true.

I am not Roman Catholic myself but I am truly inspired by this pope.

Nancy Joyce said...

Maybe this is attainable! To add to the Proverbs verses quoted above : The Message says it beautifully and it's my focus for 2015:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he's the one who will keep you on track.
Don't assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life!”

Proverbs 3 verses 5 -8
Excerpt From: Eugene H. Peterson. “The Message.”

Nicky said...

Too bad they dont have make a wish for adults maybe he would come to you he is a very different pope as I have noticed