The Original Pope Francis: St. John XXIII

Yes — he is very old but during his time, he captured the hearts of many and his goodness and simplicity took the world by storm.

Sound familiar? Of course it does. Unless you’re living under a rock, you know the goodness and simplicity of Pope Francis. For the past year he’s been the Catholic grandfather to billions of people all over the world. But Pope Francis wasn’t the only one seen in this light. During the early 1960’s the world fell in love with a humble man named Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, also known as Pope John XIII.

While many people find Francis’ style of leadership to be new and original, here are five reasons why Pope John was indeed, the “Original Francis.”

Divine Mercy Sunday: God’s Mercy is Bigger Than Any Sin

God offers us His grace and mercy every day, especially through the Eucharist. Because the tomb is empty, we have freedom. When Jesus descended into Hell he took sin and shame with Him. He left them there, where they belong. It is because Jesus rose that we are free. God's mercy is so big. St. John Vianney put it beautifully when he said, 'Our sins are nothing but a grain of sand alongside the great mountain of the mercy of God.'

Good Pope John

He was also known as a pretty witty pope. His most famous quip came after a reporter asked “How many people work in the Vatican?” John XXIII’s answer: “About half of them.”

Another time he met a boy who introduced himself as Angelo. “That was my name,” John XXIII said, then added conspiratorially, “but then they made me change it.”

Manhood Looks Like St. Joseph

I’m not going to say all guys are like this… but it is how a lot of people place value on their lives. What you do and how much stuff you have is generally what a person is judged by – especially a man. Do more stuff! Buy more things! Wear good clothes! Work harder than Jobs at your jobs! Be more successful than Wayne Wright! Don’t know who that is? Me neither. But some dude has that name and he obviously wasn’t good enough to accomplish things.

Do You Believe in Santa?: The Real Story of St. Nicholas

Nicholas was known for his generosity. As tradition goes, he was so selfless that (although he, too, was poor) he helped his likewise poor neighbor support and pay for his daughters' weddings. Nicholas snuck up to his neighbor's house at night and dropped a handful of gold coins through the open window so that the eldest daughter could afford to get married. He would later repeat the generous act two more times. From there, the Santa legend grew into what we now know today – stockings, chimneys, a belly like jelly and all that good stuff.

The Truth About You: Looking Through Love’s Lens

Those are the little things, the little acts of love that God sees and understands. Those are the things that define you, that make your whole being beautiful. That doesn’t make up for our sins and failings, and it certainly doesn’t excuse them… but it means there are shreds of goodness even in the midst of our brokenness.

The definition of beautiful isn’t an absence of sin or blemishes; it’s the presence of love. Beautiful is not about having arms like Michelle Obama, but like Mother Teresa.