Do you think he’s a bit, old?”, a child asked me in school the other day. It wasn’t an altogether unexpected question and, quite likely, one based on the assessment of others slightly older than the questioner! In fairness it was, give or take, the reaction of many. He’s 76 and just stepping into a job that brings with it unimaginable pressure, demands and the need for alertness, courage and determination. At 76, it’s a big ask. At any age, it’s a big ask. Yet somehow, this man – our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, seems to have found the “yes” that was needed – a yes that meant much more than a puff of white smoke from a chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel.
I had never heard of him and waited to see what he’d be like. It’s strange but I liked him from the first moment he stepped on the balcony. He hadn’t said a word but looked so lost, so overwhelmed that I thought “he’s the man for sure”. His age seemed by the way. He just stood there, looked, waited, took in what was all around him and said “Good evening”. No pomp, despite the great potential for pomp in all that was around him. No fuss, despite the potential for abundant fuss. No prolonged or elaborate words of blessing – just “Good evening”. Class!
Later, we’re told, when going back to the hotel from which he had come, he opted not to travel in the “State Car” but hopped on the bus with the others. Simple, effective and real. Maybe a younger man would have relished the moment, the attention, the fuss but an older man who has seen much and travelled a lot of life’s roads said to himself “the bus is fine” – let’s keep it simple, keep it handy …..
Truly, I hope it will stay like this. I’d love to see things become less fussy, less top-heavy and less pompous. I think he could be the right man at the right time.
Is he “a bit old”? Possibly, but there’s a focus there a direction there that deserves the opportunity to find its destination. Maybe he needed nearly eight decades to be ready for this. We pray for him ….. He asked us to do just that, even before attempting to bless us.
I started some reflections on the Stations of The Cross on Friday and hoping to keep them going to Good Friday. See these and other Lenten Reflections under the LENT 2013 tab above.