Norwegian-American, Writer, Mom, Catholic, Wife, Soldier, Redneck, Photographer, Republican, Historian, Logger…(this list is not in any particular order, nor is it all encompassing). The definition of me refuses to be packaged neatly in a box. My writing desires to fly out in countless directions to explore the world or at least my world.
Yesterday, I was blessed to see one
of my faithful readers.The visit was
much too short, but sweet just the same.As I was leaving, she commented, “So which Saint Francis did the pope
pick?You didn’t put it in your post.”Now, I know she is a faithful reader, but in
the lonely hours I spend at home with just the cat and my keyboard to keep me
company, I don’t “know” I have faithful readers.My heart rejoiced when she asked.Later I realized I let down my readers by not
For those who haven’t heard, it is
said that Pope Francis took the name from Saint Francis of Assisi.I am delighted.The first saint, other than Mary, that I ever
studied was Saint Francis of Assisi.The
main reason was because it was the first book I found in my library.I fell in love with his humbleness, his love
of nature, his love of animals, and his striving to live with less.I keep his statue in my front flowerbed where
he greets all my guests whether they like him or not.
Saint Francis was never a
priest.He was a simple friar (deacon)
who preached the gospel and took a vow of poverty.I love his ideas of want verses need and try
to apply it to my life when contemplating buying things.It is said he preached to the animals which
some people say he was a crazy old coot.I find it enduring.I talk to my
cat and the neighborhood meadowlark.Of
course, I am probably crazy as well, so be it.God spoke to Saint Francis and asked him to repair his church.I find this interesting in this may be one of
the reasons Pope Francis picked this name.What course this will take is impossible for me to speculate, but I
There have been many books written
about Saint Francis of Assisi. He is
beloved by many Catholics around the world.I will leave you with some quotes that I have always enjoyed.
“We have been called to heal wounds, to unite
what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.” ― St.
Francis of AssisiMany Catholics
have left the faith which I think is true fall all generations.I hope more will be able to come home with
the guidance of our church leaders and lay people.
“Lord, make me an instrument of thy
peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” ― St.
Francis of AssisiThis is part of a
song that I absolutely love.
“The deeds you do may be the only
sermon some persons will hear today” ― St.
Francis of AssisiI think I have
written about this one before.It is so
very true.Many people give up on church
because our actions are not Christ like.
have been all things unholy. If God can work through me, He can work through
Francis of AssisiI love this.None of us are holy until the day we are
cleansed and enter heaven.Yet, God can
still work through us if we are open to the Holy Spirit.The flip side of this is that we need to
remember those who offend us in the church are also unholy.They are doing their best.I am doing my best.Pray for us.
As I sat
down on Wednesday to my computer, I thought of the conclave voting for a new
pope.I felt a rush to get out on the
web to see what was going on.Deep down,
I knew.Sure enough about five minutes
later, my husband called me to say the smoke was white.Our good computer broke the day before so,
yes, I was still trying to get on the Internet.I bagged that task and went straight for the television to watch the
thoughts were I should be taking notes to have for a write up for my blog.I realized a million people would be doing
the same thing and the social media world would be flooded with the story and
thoughts.How could I compare with all
of them?I can’t.What I can do is tell you my story of popes.
Catholic at the age of 23 during the time of Pope John Paul II.I knew he was a respected leader throughout
the world and he led my new church, but other then that, I didn’t give him or
the position much thought.I also didn’t
think much of Bishops, Archbishops, or Cardinals.Speed up to his death, I was very sad.We lost a great world leader.I was more saddened for my husband who loved
the pope.He was stuck in Iraq and
wouldn’t be able to watch the selection of the new pope.I did watch, but it didn’t move me all that
much.In fact, I thought him a bit old
and distant.This time, I reacted much
my eyes from the time I received the call and even today I get goose bumps
about the event.I sat watching Fox News
waiting for our new papa.I was amazed
by the variety of flags in the middle of Saint Peter’s Square and smiled with
pride as I saw my beloved American flag.The crowd sang together.I would
have loved to have been there.One
announcer said the feeling in the square was a precursor to heaven with all the
joyful celebration.When I heard that, I
realized my tears were tears of joy.I
listened to the coverage, my heart swelled with love.The two announcers on Fox were also
Catholic.What fun to have them talking
about their faith.I was proud to be
living in a country where my fellow Catholics could share on national
television during Catholic/World history in the making.In fact, John commented that he had his
Rosary with him in the studio.Amen.
heard it. “Pope Francis.”Could it be?Could the new pope be taking the name sake of one of my two favorite
saints: Saint Francis of Assisi or Saint Francis de Sales?I almost jumped for joy.Finally, they announced Cardinal Jorge Mario
Bergoglio from Argentina as the new pope.I sat in anticipation.Some
commentators where speculating he would take the name of Pope Paul or
Benedict.“What about Pope Francis?I want Pope Francis!”The ticker across the scene finally read Pope
Francis I.At that moment, I knew he
would be my pope.
So, why did
this affect me so differently?I thought
about it the rest of the day.In the
evening I figured it out.In the last
six years, my strong faith has grown in leaps and bounds.I have been studying even harder.But even bigger than that, I have grown to
know our Bishop.I am sure he doesn’t
know me, but I have sat through many of his homilies and gotten to know him
through his words and his actions.He
blessed my husband before he left for Iraq.He chatted with us at a function and as I got ready to leave I
spontaneously gave him a hug.(I still
don’t know if that was appropriate.)He
is a wonderful man.
radio, I have gotten to know Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York (I started
listening to him when he was an Archbishop).I told my husband I want to go on a pilgrimage to New York and attend
Mass with him.I want to meet him.When he speaks through the radio, I really
feel his sincerity and love.I also
enjoy his sense of humor.I really think
these two men who are larger then life have made me realize how the Pope can
still lead me even though many miles and an ocean are between us.And hey, taking the name Francis is some
amazing icing on the cake.
I love the fact that he didn’t move into the Cardinal’s palace in
Argentina.I love that he cooked his own
meals, road the bus, and washed feet.I
cried as I added my blessing to that of all the world’s when he asked us for
our blessing.I knelt in front of my
television as he blessed me.
dream is to travel to Italy to go to Mass at the Vatican, see the sights, and drive
up to Assisi and check out Francis’ digs.During our countries time of financial uncertainty, my dream trip will
have to be put off a couple more years.But I will work hard at grasping Pope Francis and Saint Francis of
Assisi’s humble attitude and patience.Besides, I need to let the Holy Spirit decide when it is best for me to
fulfill this pilgrimage.And maybe in
the meantime, I will make if over to New York to see Cardinal Dolan.
So, I would
love to hear your thoughts about Pope Francis.
year near the end of February and all of March, I struggle with the winter
blues, aka depression.I can have an
amazing trip planned, be busy planning a graduation, or painting a new
room.It doesn’t really matter.I get depressed.Last year I put in my daily planner that I
should do some fake and bake, salon sun tanning.I can’t bring myself to do this though because
of the expense in both time and money.So yesterday, I decided to go for a bit of an adventure.Okay, I drove to the local lake here in town
and took some pictures to show you that even the weather is depressing.
Helena sitting sentinel dreams of the warm days of spring when the residents of
the area clamor along its paths.
sits in the gloomy cloud covered day with dead grass protecting its roots.
next hangs from the branch impatiently waiting for its vacationing owners to
return from the south.
of our days, though gloomy, do have an artistic feel to them.
rough edges of the bark portray the roughness of winter.
wood standing tall in its old age.
abandoned building with long forgotten thoughts of days long past.
much better after my little drive to the lake and hike.Today I anticipate another gloomy day.My project will be to go through old photos
and do some editing.I hope to bundle up
and take a walk around my daughter’s school.I won’t take my camera.But I
will talk with God and try to encourage him to bring spring a little quicker.
Last night as I read my Bible
reading for the day, I excitedly realized a connection between the book of
Leviticus and Ruth.I have read the book
of Ruth a number of times.This past November,
I wrote the story of Ruth for part of my NaNo (National write a book in the
month of November) project.She worked
very hard gleaning grain from Boaz’s field to feed both her and her
mother-in-law Naomi.The practice of
allowing the poor the droppings has been common knowledge for me; however, I
didn’t know it was a law.
is the book in the Bible with the laws of the Jews.In chapter 23 verse 22 it states, “When you
harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of
your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop.Leave it for the poor and the foreigners
living among you.I, the Lord, am your
God.”Boaz wasn’t simply being generous,
he was following Biblical Law.
other aspect I find interesting this morning as I reflect further is that this
law sets up the idea of tithing and charity which of course are very important
aspects of the Christian faith.I must
confess reading Leviticus has been a tad bit boring, but last night I started
to see merit in this aspect of the old law.