Just sharing here some random thoughts about our new Holy Father, Pope Francis:
1. I love you, Catholic Memes.
2. I misspelled “Habemus Papam” all yesterday, which I find hilarious. I am the one laughing at other people’s grammar and spelling errors usually (their/there and your/you’re used incorrectly drive me crazy), and here I was hashtagging #habemuspapem all.day.long. My 12-year-old made an iDoodle for my phone that read:
It’s the wallpaper on the phone now, and I was “this” close to correcting her spelling (to “habemus papem,” natch). But I didn’t because I didn’t want to spoil in any way her enjoyment of the day. And here I was, tweeting and Facebook posting it wrong for literally hours, not even noticing that the Vatican website was different than my spelling. When I discovered my mistake this morning, I was glad that no one had corrected me, either. Habemus Papam!
3. CNN’s coverage of the papal election was surprisingly good and balanced. I am not just saying this because Wolf Blitzer looks like my husband. They had an extended long interview with Fr. Thomas Rosica, CEO of the Canadian Salt+Light Television network, and I was riveted to his words, and DVRd it so my husband (cuter than Wolf Blitzer) could watch when he got home.
4. We took a break from Lent yesterday; how could you not?
Much dark chocolate was consumed at our house last night. When the white smoke began, the younger kids and I were actually just arriving at a homeschool bowling event. My husband called us (he had been at home having lunch at home after a meeting between home and work, so stayed for the announcement), so we scratched bowling and came home right away. I also invited a mom & son at bowling who live nearby to join us when they finished bowling.
After they arrived and we were watching, I immediately brought out candy for the kids to enjoy (and dark chocolate for my husband, the other mom and me), and the boy said, “I can’t, I gave up candy for Lent.” I said, “So did I, but not today! We have to celebrate!” as I popped a Dove promise into my mouth. So he happily enjoyed some candy (after some
arm-twisting gentle persuasion of our nine-year-old to share from his hoard).
5. One of the greatest things about this is celebrating with my family. I love that my kids are older and can really join in. (though my two older children remember) than they did the last time a Holy Father was elected. I love that we can celebrate with food and drink, because we are Catholic and that’s what we do!
For dinner, I went out to get a small steak for us to share (Argentina=beef) along with rice and veggies, and I opened a bottle of red wine for hubby and me (Sicilian, not Argentinian). My husband had some wine but not the steak because he fasts from meat on Wednesday and Friday, but he did enjoy some wine. I was going to make a caramel sauce (dulce de leche) to go over ice cream, but didn’t get to that.
6. Social media is AWESOME! I cannot say how joyful it was to be tweeting and Facebook posting with others, and sharing photos and memes and quotes.
What moved me most was two non-Catholic friends who shared on my Facebook page greetings and congratulations on the election of the Holy Father, and how they enjoyed getting to “share” it with me. It was so kind of them to reach out in friendship at this special time.
7. Plenary Indulgence. After the blessing Pope Francis gave (and after he asked for a blessing from us–beautiful!), my (mandatum-carrying theologian) husband informed me that it comes with a plenary indulgence. He said since I had gone to confession on Tuesday, I was good for this indulgence, and so were the kids, who had gone with me. Super awesome! So I tweeted:
“My theologian hubby tells me since I went to confession Tue, I am good 4 plenary indulgence given by Francis. U have 2 wks. Go 4 it, peeps!”
I put a similar post on Facebook, and a non-Catholic friend asked after many Catholic comments of woot and so forth, “alright, for non-Catholics, what is a plenary indulgence?”
Aggie Catholics has a good explanation of indulgences here, which I shared on Facebook. I knew I couldn’t do a good job explaining it easily in a comment, but I also had a nagging feeling I should say something personal to explain this admittedly quirky part of the Catholic faith.
I woke up extremely early this morning because, hey, I’m that age where early waking is fairly common. And one of the first thoughts in my mind was the following idea of a plenary indulgence, that just popped into my head–I wasn’t even thinking about the question. It felt like an inspiration of the Holy Spirit to me, but I’m sure there are all sorts of theological “issues” with it, which is why I’m not vetting it with the theologian husband.
And so I wrote back to her on Facebook this morning:
“A plenary indulgence is like this: You’re on the shore of an ocean of mercy, and your mom is in the water saying, ‘Come on in, it’s great!’ And you say, ‘Really?’ because you’re kind of skeptical but you dunk under anyway and come up and say, Wow, that’s refreshing!’
I’m happy to be corrected by theologians far and near, but I still smile when I read that.
8. Interested in learning about Argentinian saints?
One of my March books for The Catholic Post includes Radiate: More Stories of Daring Teen Saints.
Author Colleen Swaim helpfully points out on her blog (and notice that she spelled Habemus Papam correctly) that Radiate includes the stories of Argentinian saints Blessed Laura Vicuna and Blessed Ceferino Namuncurá. Definitely worth checking it out, and stay tuned here for an author Q&A with Colleen very soon!
9. The choice of the name Francis for the new pope is inspiring a lot of comments. His embrace of poverty and simplicity is very humbling. I’m pondering that a lot today and what it means for our Church.
On the lighter side, I, for one, am just glad to be 15 years ahead of the Francis/Francesca baby-naming trend, having a 15-year-old (my baby!) named Francesca.
Coincidentally, my nine-year-old informed our family several months back that he had chosen St. Francis for his confirmation name.
I recall having a conversation with my husband years ago, when I learned more about St. Francis than the usual things, and said to him something along the lines of, “Why exactly did we name our first-born after St. Francis? ”
It’s just a little worrisome to have my nine-year-old be so excited about a saint who lived a pretty radical life. So I guess I am being given some time to get used to it, unlike St. Francis’ family. Deep breaths here.
10. It’s back to Lent, I noticed right away this morning.
This awesome quote from Pope Francis is Lenten food for thought:
In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don’t baptize the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it’s baptized! Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit.
Also, the second reading from today’s Office of Readings is from St. Leo the Great. Here’s the first great sentence, and it just gets better after this:
True reverence for the Lord’s passion means fixing the eyes of our heart on Jesus crucified and recognising in him our own humanity.
Also, I miss chocolate already!
Are you looking forward to Easter as much as I am?