Monday, June 19, 2017

We Went -- We Saw -- We Loved

Our day started with an early wake-up call at 5:30 am, with breakfast at 6:30 am and then it was making our way to Vatican City, St. Peter's Square for the Papal Audience. God favored us so much because we had seats right against the wall that backed up to Pope Francis' ride through the aisles on his pope mobile which meant we had a birds' eye view of the pontiff. When my husband and I were here in 2006, we saw and heard Pope Benedict give his Papal address from his apartment balcony window -- far above us. Not so with Pope Francis. He wants to be among the people. He is uncommon in that he doesn't live in the palasial housing that were specifically built for the popes. He doesn't even use the summer villa that others used. He lives with his brother cardinals and bishops. Not that there was anything wrong with how other popes lived, but there's something about Pope Francis that causes us to all relate to him because, though he bears tremendous responsibility with this incredible call of God upon his life, he is humble, kind (you see it in his face and his actions), and loving to all -- at least from my point of view.

When we first found our seats, a lovely couple with a 6-month old baby boy was seated beside us. Their goal? For Pope Francis to kiss him. That's not unusal. After all, Pope Francis is known for his love of babies, stopping to get out of the pope mobile to shake hands, kiss babies and to pray with someone that is handicapped, The odds were pretty good for this baby to be noticed. His parents had him dressed in all white outfit with a beanie (similar to Pope Francis') and they held a sign: "Our baby was born on your birthday." While I had been praying that I would have the opportunity to be up close and personal to him, I prayed more for that precious couple to have their dream come true.

Pope Francis in his Pope Mobile, moved around the aisles of the seated and standing participants. Actually no one was seated during his drive-through because everyone wanted a glimpse of him. He waved, stopped often to hug and kiss a child, shake someone's hand and soon he was coming our way.
Sure enough, that sweet couple's prayers and dreams came to pass, along with many other children. The daddy was videotaping the experience, crying like a baby. I've read in many articles how Pope Francis most resembles Jesus in his servitude and His common practice of being among the people. I could just imagine that's the way Jesus walked about this earth -- healing, consoling, giving love and tenderness to those who needed it most.

Pope Francis certainly gets what Jesus meant when he said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Since his speech was in Latin, we didn't understand it, but like my sweet hard-of-hearing Mama once said to me about a sermon she DIDN'T hear when she was at church, "No, I didn't hear it, but I felt it!" I sure felt it too! I learned later that he was speaking about our Father God and how freely we can come to Him as our Abba, Father. "The Fatherhood of God, wellspring of our Hope". These were some of his words: "Dear Brothers and Sisters: Christian hope -- we now consider the source of that hope in the fatherhood of God. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He taught them to call God, Our Father. Here we see the great religious revolution introduced by Christianity, taught by the Saviour’s command, we dare to speak to the transcendent and all-holy God as children speak, with complete trust, to a loving father. In the parable of the merciful father, who welcomes his prodigal son with supreme forgiveness, Jesus speaks to us of the Father’s unconditional love. In his Letters, Saint Paul twice repeats the original Aramaic word used by Jesus in his prayer: “Abba” (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6). As God’s adoptive sons and daughters in the Holy Spirit, we share in the intimate relationship between Jesus and the Father, and this is the basis of our sure hope in God’s saving help. Each day, as we pray the Lord’s Prayer, may we be confirmed in the knowledge that, in His merciful love, our Heavenly Father will watch over us, respond to our petitions, and never abandon us."

There was just too much more we packed into this day to share with you today, but be sure....it's coming!
My final note on this day is to share with you that my faith, hope and trust in God is dependent on one main thing.....Jesus is Lord and the Son of Almighty God and it is in Him alone Who paid the ultimate price for our salvation and eternal life with Him forever. But, along the way, I'm so grateful that God brought so many Godly representatives to teach and show us the way to go. Thank God for Pope Francis. Thank God for the apostles, the Godly men and women who gave their lives for the sake of Christ, the brothers and sisters who sacrifice comfort and are bearers of the Good News of Christ to this world, priests, religious, pastors and teachers who proclaim God's love.....and to you and me who love to tell the story of His AMAZING GRACE!!!