We are not always ready for a sea change. We are not always ready to embrace and allow progressive thinking. We tend to want to hang on to our ideas as if the were precious. Sometimes we hang onto our ideals with the same tenacity that we use to hang on to a person,or things, or a drug.
Life has a way of presenting itself in such a manner that we believe that the act that just happened in front of me is the cause for my emotion. That simply is not the case. All kind of terrible events happen to us or in front of our eyes. But our reaction to these random events do not cause us to have an emotion. Our emotion colors how we see the act or how we perceive the person in front of us.
The more powerful our reaction is to an event gives that event its significance its meaning and it value in our lives.
I have experienced several se-changes in my life. I want to say a few words about the most recent which is still resonating with me today.
When Francis was elected to the thrown in Rome, I had a violent, somewhat vicious and totally uninformed reaction to him. One more pompous man dressed in a white dress, covered in gold lame, accessorized in crimson red and wearing Prada shoes…parading around dispensing judgements that were in fact condemnations to hell.
I have to apologize to Francis. My partner was very stern when he told me I was spouting out language that had no bearing on the man himself. I was prepared to condemn him as I has felt condemned by the church.
I was wrong, or at least I now have hope that perhaps I was wrong. His tone and his peace manner imparted in me a serenity and formed a cavern in my heart that left room for reconciliation, forgiveness. I watched with tears as this humble man moved a high liturgy from inside the basilica, adorned in ancient marble and gold and paintings by Michelangelo, to a juvenile detention center in Rome where he proceeded to wash the feet of 12 inmates instead of washing the feet of twelve old Cardinals.
I listened in disbelief when he made poverty into a global issue that we in all nations needed to come to a better understanding of. I read his encyclicals where he instructed his bishops and priests to support civil unions for Gay couples, advocating that we be afforded all the rights and legalities that belong to marriage. He asked that we might keep the sacrament of marriage as unique to the partnership between man and woman, because it was a venerable tradition.
My decades of resentment toward the Catholic church has created a cold spot in my heart, one that I was no longer aware of. But when Francis with his insistence on peace and poverty and humility entered into my consciousness, I had an immediate desire to emulate that humble nature that smiled out of what looked like a man very much at peace with himself….
Who knows, he might be exactly what the world needs at this point in time….I have no need to forgive the church for the insanities of the Spanish inquisition, nor can I forgive yet the insane position that condoms would increase the spread of AIDS.