By Christopher Neyhart
As everybody in the western hemisphere has learned by now, Pope Francis will be visiting Washington DC this month and will say Mass on the steps of the National Shrine. The excitement on campus is understandable, regardless of how likely or unlikely acquiring a ticket to the Mass will be for CUA students. Everybody is looking forward to the Holy Father’s visit. The hype around Pope Francis is incredible.
But it’s not a radical teaching or a change in Church doctrine that has caused this fascination with the Pope. Anybody who has looked beyond the exciting headlines has found that Francis doesn’t want to rewrite the Catholic position on marriage, homosexuality, or any other hot topic. Rather, the Holy Father is simply asking us to shift our attention away from judgment and conviction, and towards charity and love. These values are vital, but nothing new for Christians. What has captured our attention is the Pope’s humility and prayerfulness. It is clear that God is truly in the driver’s seat of Francis’ life.
We have all heard the stories of how he has rejected the more ornate facets of Vatican City for a simple, humble life. Francis famously does not wear the traditional red cape or red slippers. He has used the bus instead of the papal car to get around Vatican City. On Holy Thursday, instead of celebrating the Mass at St. Peter’s, he visited inmates in a Roman prison. These stories have stirred something new in many people.
In the world we live in, Francis’ humility and simplicity are incredibly refreshing. As the school year moves forward, we should remember that those two qualities are key to keeping God at the center of our lives.