i had a whole blog planned for today, but then i
saw the Holy Father, Pope Francis, giving his first speech to America on the lawn of our
White House. It was as refreshing as the Glorious September Weather that wraps around
the Megalopolis (i.e. NY to DC). WHAT a POWERFUL OPENING PUNCH OF HOPE and
OPTIMISM!!! The line which especially stood out to me was, “We know by faith that the
Creator never abandons us or regrets creating us” no matter how much we might mess up.
When people ask me whether i regret leaving the priesthood, i look at this picture of my
daughter, Molly, and say, “REGRET?!” As the Pope spoke, i kept thinking of another great
great “Franciscan,” (who wasn’t even Catholic, though he was more “catholic” than most
Catholics) Mahatma Gandhi, who said, “The only battles to be fought on this earth should
be those of each man on the battlefield of his own heart. I must confess I haven’t fared
well on my own. I suppose that is why I have so much patience with the other scoundrels
of the earth….” But he also said, “Every baby that is born is a love letter from the Creator,
saying, ‘LOOK, I HAVEN’T GIVEN UP ON YOU YET! AND I NEVER WILL!!'”
Later today the Pope will address the GIGANTIC CONTROVERSY of declaring Fr.
Junipero Serra a Saint, despite his many sinful treatments of the Native American people.
This amazing TRANSPARENT man of God, Pope Francis, means to FACE the SINS of our
Church, GREAT AND SMALL, Past, Present, and Future, lay them out on the table —ask
forgiveness, and say MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE that no matter how rotten we each
could be, the Love of God is there, it is ESPECIALLY THERE INSIDE US, each and every
one, WELLING UP, BUBBLING UP INFINITELY, intent on washing us clean, healing us
completely, and giving us a Brand New Start. Sainthood is God’s doing, not ours! POPE
FRANCIS often says, personally, “Please pray for me. I AM A SINNER.”
To me, one word perfectly represents Pope Francis, and that is OPTIMIST. The word
means ONE WHO ALWAYS LOOKS FOR THE BEST, EVEN INSIDE THE BEAST!!! In
every single person, however horrid a bitter or a self-centered life could transform them,
is a little child – like this Molly girl – FOREVER LOVED!
Again, a friend just asked me whether i still wish i was a priest? i told him that i am
perfectly content and satisfied to be a KNUCKLEHEAD. i truly believe that the best of
all “careers” that any of us could take on in life is that of becoming a “master apologizer
and forgiver.” Nothing else matters so much in the long run. And the start of such a
quest – at least i’m at the start – is to realize what a knucklehead i am.
THANK YOU, HOLY FATHER, for starting with HOPE. i said in a previous blog
that the great Quaker, William Penn, tried the experiment of all seeing each other as
and living as brothers and sisters under one God. “PHILADELPHIA” failed terribly
time and again, but we have to keep trying. Ain’t that what you mean, Papa???!!!