By now the whole world knows what kind of man fills St. Peter’s sandals. Just the fact that Pope Francis wears his old black shoes instead of the papal red ones (or even the new black ones his friends bought for him) speaks volumes. The media overflows with other little acts of our new pope that reveal his heart. This makes me wonder What if reporters and cameras were focused on me? What if they recorded and analyzed my every word and action? How would I be perceived? How would I match up to our leader on earth? Already Pope Francis is inspiring me to be a better person, to ask What would Pope Francis do?
Some examples: Yesterday the elderly woman entering the church before me had on cute shoes. I whispered to her, “I like your shoes.” This morning at the supermarket I could have checked out my items in silence. Instead I spoke to the clerk. Then in my e-mail came a request for volunteers to work St. Dominic’s fish fry to raise funds for a poor school in El Salvador. It would have been easy to think of an excuse not to give up a Friday evening, but I replied that I would be happy to help out. Perhaps if I continue in this mode, I might finally weed out the clothes in my closets!
Most of us don’t have the opportunity to do magnificent, heroic deeds, but we all can follow Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s advice and do ordinary things extraordinarily well. Monsignor Joseph Moriarity used to tell children that for their nightly examination of conscience they should imagine that they were watching a TV program of their lives that day. How did they show love? How did they fail to love? This is not such a bad idea for us adults either.
According to tradition, Pope Innocent III had a dream about a little man holding up the Lateran church, which was falling down. When St. Francis of Assisi visited him in Rome, the pope recognized that he was that man. Previously St. Francis heard God command him to “repair his house.” Francis fulfilled that command by renewing the Church. Let’s pray that our Pope Francis can do the same. And let’s each try to fix our own “house.”
When has someone’s small act or few words made a difference in your life?