Another year is slipping past us. And as I watch the months of my young life zip by, I can only stand in awe at the unexplainable things that leave my mouth gaping.
One year ago, I had never met my firstborn child. My wife and I waited in anticipation to meet our youngster…and even learn his gender. Now, I can’t imagine a life without baby Elijah.
One year ago, I was still settling in to a job and responsibilities that I never dreamed I would have—or even have the desire to do. If things had followed
post-college plans, I wouldn’t be writing this column as editor of this paper. Now, I can’t imagine spending eight hours a day doing anything else.
One year ago, I hardly knew certain individuals who I now have deep friendships with. Today, I can’t imagine walking the journey of life without them.
One year ago, 99 percent of us didn’t even know a man named Jorge Mario Bergolio existed on this planet. Now, he has erupted onto the scene as Pope Francis, providing a fresh wave of energy and hope for the Catholic Church. He does things his way—challenging us to examine our hearts, to more fully live out our Catholic faith “in the streets” and to honestly evaluate the depth of our personal relationship with Christ.
It’s a mystery
Try to explain the mystery of the Holy Spirit (one of the three persons of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit) to a second grader. It feels like you’re explaining the unexplainable. Then try to explain it to a grown adult in a newspaper column. It
feels like you’re explaining the unexplainable.
We can’t fully grasp the Holy Spirit—it’s a mystery of our faith, so it is naturally hard to explain. However, when we think about the unexplainable events of our lives, we should raise our eyebrows at the Holy Spirit as the culprit.
Stop and think about this for a moment. Put yourself in Pope Francis’ shoes. A year ago, he had already submitted his letter of retirement to the Vatican (a requirement for all bishops when they turn 75). Before he could blink, Pope Benedict had stepped down and the finger of God (and the fingers of at least 77 cardinals) was in his face. The Holy Spirit.
Can you imagine? Forget retirement. You have a new job description. Guide a billion Catholics. Good luck to you. Go.
gone…and he hasn’t looked back. Who could have imagined how deeply he would capture the attention of the world in such a short time? Every word he utters is scrutinized. Yet he hasn’t misspoken once, boldly answering the “same old questions” with new answers, turning heads that weren’t turning before. The Holy Spirit.
Then, as an unnecessary stamp of affirmation and popularity that the Vatican called “unsurprising” and “a positive sign,” Pope Francis finds himself Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
The honor was announced six days after the death of Nelson Mandela; a death that, given the media’s days-long gushing praise of Mandela’s life and humanitarian work, proved that the world is so thirsty for a character worth praising, a virtuous model to look up to, a messiah.
You have to admit that
is alive and roaring in the Catholic Church right now, guiding her with new vigor.
As I look back on my 2013 (and beyond), I have to admit that
has unfailingly guided me to where I am today.
Can you feel it in your life? If not, are you open to it?
Do you tell God each day that you are open to the promptings of His Holy Spirit? Do you ask Him each day to make it clear what he wants you to do, to guide the decisions you make?
This is something I’ve been striving for in my own life recently. And I can guarantee you it’s something our soon-to-be 77-year-old Pope Francis does constantly.
Pope Francis knows that he doesn’t deserve to be Person of the Year. Alone, he is completely incapable of being the pope. But he’s not alone. He simply opens his heart to the Holy Spirit each day.
And as he kneels in prayer at the end of another day of meetings, homilies and handshakes, he bows his head and thanks God for guiding his footsteps. And asks for the strength to continue.
Pope Francis isn’t our messiah. But if you watch and listen carefully, he will show you where to find Him.
>> Read the Time Magazine article on Pope Francis' selection as Person of the Year
>> Bismarck Diocese priest Fr. John Guthrie
comments on ABC news
on the pope's honor
More DCA online stories