Matt Maher (a Catholic artist) recently won two Dove Award wins, taking home the trophies for Songwriter of the Year (Artist) and Worship Song of the Year for “Because He Lives (Amen).” At one point he was asked what it was like to sing for the Holy Father.
It is a common question for those who aren’t Catholic (and even for some who are): what is the big deal with this Pope guy? What if I were to say that he’s a big deal because… the guy isn’t really a big deal. He’s quite a normal, regular deal. In fact, the big deal is the fact that God can make a big deal out of a normal deal! The Pope is a living example of this!
Matt Maher say’s something similar:
“You’re talking about a 78 year old man whose sole profession is proclaiming what Peter did in front of some cemetery gates in Caesarea Philippi, which is that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God, the Messiah. So for me, every time I’ve been at an event where the Pope shows up, there is something very profoundly special about it. Because it’s that confession on a deep spiritual level. You feel connected, you feel tethered to the people that have gone before you and the legacy of faith that they’ve left.” He wrapped up his comments by saying “I don’t think it’s really about this man, I think it’s about who he’s working for.“
The Pope represents God’s presence with us. Why? Because even when the Church has gone through rough patches (which he always does), and even when the Pope has failed to live up to his calling (starting with Peter), God has never abandoned his Church. When you see Pope Francis, you see the confirmation of Jesus’ words: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
Just as in the case of Mary and the Saints, it’s up to the apostle (that’s you) to transmit the fact that what fascinates the Church isn’t star-like personalities or rare-genius, rather God’s constant decision to offer his salvation through men and women (sometimes in spite of them).
When looking at the list of 266 of Pope’s, anyone with any notion of history and human fragility (the two always go hand in hand), realizes that there is something special here, something divine (and that is big deal). 266 normal guys have been elected by the Holy Spirit to guide the Church. Even if you want to point out all the corruption, the political bickering, the moral failures, it does nothing more than confirm my point. No other nation, family, or cooperation has gone through the roller coaster ride that the Catholic Church has and survived: human weakness has always led to collapse. The Catholic Church, hospital for sinners, for some reason has not. That “reason” is something special called God’s merciful love. This something special, I believe, is exactly what many people, Catholics above all, experience and discover in the Holy Father, in this moment, Pope Francis.
Put in better words than man, Chesterton said:
“When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its cornerstone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward – in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed, because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing, the historic Christian Church, was founded on a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.”
Featured Image: Jeffrey Bruno @ Flickr
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