Christina Mead

A Father Like Francis

I needed Pope Francis.

And not only because I'm part of the Catholic Church and we were without a shepherd . . . I mean I needed him because I'm sinful, and broken, and I need a constant reminder of how to be like Christ.

I have been awestruck by him from the first moment he walked out onto the balcony, to the last news article I read about him.

God knows how many split ends I have, how often I cringe when people chew ice, and where I'm going to be in 5 years. He understands me and you – His people – and He knew exactly what kind of father-figure we needed to lead us. So He gave us Pope Francis . . .

Because we're self-absorbed

You know it's true. We all love ourselves a little too much sometimes. Proof: the most popular websites are social media sites that scream 'look at me and how great my life is.' Given the choice we'll choose comfort, warmth, food, and then diet pills, all for the sake of our own happiness and image.

It's easier to have an attitude than to set yourself aside, and to live on superficial highs instead of dying to self and carrying your cross. So here's a man who is not only willing, but takes joy in serving the Church. Sure, this is the royal priesthood, but he's not pampered like royalty. It's a tough, demanding job. He could have acted proud and inflated when he was made pope. Instead, Pope Francis' attitude said, 'Here I am to serve you, I want to set myself aside in order to walk this journey with you.'

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Because we're materialistic

Excessively. We just want to be happy and happiness can be bought with a plastic card and taken home in a plastic bag . . . right?

Not according to our new pope, who as an archbishop chose to live in simplicity, take public transportation, and cook his own meals. He wants to be among his people, caring for the poor; he's not afraid to get his hands dirty. Reminds me of another epic man . . . Jesus.

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We want to look away from the beggar on the street because destitution is embarrassing to the person who always wants more. It's not embarrassing to the person who's detached from the world and knows he's serving Christ in every one of his brothers and sisters – rich or poor.

Because we prefer tolerance over truth

It's easier and safer to say that we need to be tolerant of everyone and not 'force' our beliefs on other people. I think that we don't want to make people mad. We want everyone to like us. Evangelization comes down to whether or not you care more about saving souls or saving your popularity.

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Pope Francis cares about saving souls so he isn't going to water down the truth. In the past he has spoken out strongly against abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia, and other hot topics . . . and he isn't about to quiet down. In fact, he'll probably proclaim truth even louder. Because tolerance should never mean being relativistic. Truth is true no matter how difficult it is so proclaim. Some people aren't afraid to call others out of their sin – and they're called saints now.

Because we fear authority figures

Have you see his face? Of course you have. Come on, he's adorable! There's no way to be intimidated by someone who ends his first public pope-speech with, 'good night and sleep well.' Is there anything more fatherly?

We're a generation who's out to 'stick it to the man' whenever we can. That's not okay. God places people in authority and they deserve our respect whether or not we agree with them. Sure there are people who abuse their power and herald faulty ideas and agendas, but that doesn't mean it's okay to deface images of them or call them names. A refusal to respect authority is also a refusal to accept God's authority. Since Pope Francis is a visible sign of Christ’s authority on earth, putting our trust in him is to put out trust in the Holy Spirit.

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Pope Francis is an authority figure that we can feel safe placing our trust in. I have.

Why have I decided to place my trust in him? Because I need an example of how to be a good Catholic. I need someone who not only serves Christ's people, but who embodies Christ's sacrificial love. I need a father to love and care for me through thick and thin.

I need Pope Francis.

“Rend your hearts, open your hearts, because only in a broken and open heart can the merciful love of God enter, who loves and heals us.” – Pope Francis (Lenten Message to Buenos Aires)

Christina Mead

About the Author

I'm just trying to figure out how to be holy so I can get to heaven, where I want to be the patron saint of lifeguards. My perfect day includes a nap, my gold shoes, a game of scrabble, gluten free brownies, absolutely no surprises, and a great phone conversation. If you want, you can email me at [email protected], or follow me on Twitter at LT_Christina.