For those of you who are connected to my personal account on Facebook, it’s no surprise to read that I really, really, really like Pope Francis. I’m like a Popeophile. Pretty much every account I read about him in the news gets shared on my page because it’s worth sharing. He is all at once impressive, modest, helpful, loving, and human. I mean, the guy calls people personally who have written letters detailing some of their struggles (I kind of wish my number was listed now and also that I’d written a letter to the Pope). The people from his parish (actually, I’m not Catholic, so I don’t know what the correct terminology is there… Darren or Kim or Ryan?) in Argentina say this is the way he has always conducted himself. He isn’t afraid to interact with people on their level… whatever that level may be. You know, kind of like Jesus, who knows a heck of a lot more than any of us about the “mysteries” and love of God than we’ll ever know, but still meets us wherever we are to uplift and strengthen. It’s a good set of qualities for a Pope to possess, I would think. It’s a good set of qualities for a follower of Christ to possess. Actually, it’s a good set of qualities for anyone to possess.
I consider myself both a spiritual and a religious human being… Pope Francis isn’t the only religious leader I respect or follow… it’s just he’s been in the news a lot lately. Maybe I’ll showcase some of my other favorite religious leaders in subsequent posts. Or maybe just in my drafts section along with the other draft posts that are becoming more and more obsolete with each passing day.
What I like most about Pope Francis’ actions, is the [apparent] sincerity behind them. It’s not like he wakes up in the morning, puts on his Pope shoes and hat to go slumming for the afternoon… you don’t get the feeling that he’s condescending to people (in the typical negative sense of the word)… at least I don’t. More that he voluntarily gives up his “status” in order to meet people as equals. And really, aren’t we all equal in our need for mercy and love and atonement? Not that we all need the same things in the same ways… just that we all need. Like our need for oxygen. Some need to breathe deeper than others, or require assistance from an external source, or live in an iron lung, but we are unified in our need to inhale oxygen and, after a [quick] conversion process, expel carbon dioxide.
Today, Pope Francis, or Fran as I like to call him (starting right now and because I had an uncle Fran who was married to Aunt Frannie) forewent a typical Sunday Mass service (I know, right? It’s not like the guy isn’t a total stickler for protocol… pedantic rule follower this one) to discuss Syria.
For those of you who are not up-to-date on the important happenings in the world, it turns out Syria had a pretty risqué performance at MTV’s Video Music Awards last week that has the internet in an absolute uproar because she was mostly naked on stage with Robin Thicke dancing suggestively or “twerking” as the kids are calling it. Oh wait, I’m sorry… that’s what the blogosphere and Facebook news feed fomenters of hate are up in arms about because apparently they haven’t realized that they still actually have a choice whether to watch content they deem inappropriate and they are still responsible to raise their own children and don’t have to hire Miley Cyrus to babysit.
Syria, it turns out, is a little known Middle Eastern country that is in the midst (or, as some may argue, on the verge) of civil war whose embattled regime may or may not have used chemical weapons on its own population [several times] during the last year or so.
Side note: As the image below clearly depicts, Syria is the primary supplier of oil imports to the United States since the beginning of time, which explains why your fuel prices skyrocketed during the past week as the White House openly considers military action in Syria. (Click this link only if you want to read something truly ridiculous in the first four paragraphs attempting to link Syria – due to its proximity to oil export infrastructure like the Suez Canal (1445 miles away, in another country, and separated by multiple nations) – to oil security thereby justifying the price hike at the pump… spoiler alert.)
Wow… and what a side
note rant that was. My apologies. Now I have to categorize this post as both “thumbs up” and “thumbs down.” I hate it when I create more work for myself.
Back to Pople (pope + uncle) Fran and his sermon today. He is reported to have spoken quite emotionally over the circumstances in Syria. War is never a pretty thing. It destroys lives. It destroys nations. It destroys lands. I’m not saying it is never justified… but it shouldn’t be entered into cavalierly. I’ve seen up close and personally the destruction that protracted war can have on a people. I’ve walked among persons whose souls were already dead, though their bodies lived on. It’s heart-wrenching. In an attempt to avoid more needless destruction, Pope Francis is calling on the world to fast and pray on September 7th for peace in Syria.
It doesn’t matter if you are Catholic. Or another Christian faith. Or any other faith. Or no faith at all. It doesn’t matter if you make a habit of prayer. If you are a member of the human race (or a hitchhiker at The Stubby Thumb), you are invited to join in. Let’s be unified in our thoughts and efforts this Saturday. Fasting and prayer are merely tokens of that effort. If you do not pray, simply ponder. Keep peace in your thoughts. Light candles if that’s your thing. Going without food is a great way to remember those whose lives are spent without. Be mindful on Saturday. Be one.
Get your friends involved. Use peer pressure if you must… all the cool kids are doing it after all. Wouldn’t it be great if people everywhere stopped for just a day to reflect?
Saturday. September 7th. 2013.
Spread the word.