I’m not Catholic. In face I love being a Jew, love the path that I took to get here. But I love Pope Francis. In fact, just watching him makes me not only renew my belief in G*D but actually feel that he is certainly and angelic man.
Rarely in my 40 years of trying to find the right religious path have I been as sure of there is a higher power, divine goodness, or ultimate collection of positive energy as I am when I watch Pope Francis interact with the common people who gather to see him. There is something there. He is truly something unique and the calm and serenity that radiates from him is inspiring.
Let me say again, for many reasons Christianity is not my path. I was born into it, baptized into the lifestyle of judging and left on my own after discovering that I do actually have a choice. I don’t regret my exploration of various religions. In fact I highly encourage everyone to explore all faiths and don’t settle for the easiest one. And for some, religion isn’t for them and I respect that too.
No, Pope Francis isn’t the symbol of my religious path as he is for many. But I do feel a connection to him that is both beautiful and peaceful. I love the way that he isn’t restricted by anyone, and will often have his car stopped on the side of the road to jump out and rush to the side of a sick child, spending time to touch them and hold his hand.
I love the way he makes eye contact and smiles in this loving and incredibly beautiful way. His acts of love are so unique and unlike any other religious figure I have ever witnessed that I am drawn to his radiance like a moth to his light. I watch with tears in my eyes as he changes all of the previous rules of discretion to step away from his handlers and embrace with open arms those who come. This man is a “Pope of the People” as a friend of mine said of him.
For me, as a Jew, my feelings for Pope Francis are complicated. On one hand, I think he is a wonderful man and I am so proud of his brave statements of both homosexuality, contraception, and embracing of other faiths. He is rare and wonderful, and it makes me love him even more when I know when he speaks up and doesn’t just go with the flow.
I truly believe that there have been unique people throughout history that have stood out, been a beautiful light so attractive that they drew the attention of the world. They live their lives for others, asking little or nothing for themselves. In my lifetime I can only think of Mother Teresa and the incredible Princess Diana also having such radiant love. I know there are others, however these are truly my favorites as I remember looking upon them as a teen girl, struggling to identify my own religious understanding and thinking that in life if I could embrace this level of peace, calm, and radiant love then no matter what happen, I would be okay. I didn't define them to a particular faith, but more of a particular level of energy.. one that vibrated with such goodness and light that it was difficult not to think of them as angels. Pope Francis also has that specialness.
I honestly admire him, support his outreach, and see him not as the voice of Catholics but as someone who is truly filled with the wisdom of a higher power beyond our understanding.
However, it’s a weird devotion to someone who doesn’t represent my faith. Jews don’t really have that one go to guy for all things Jewish. Sure, there have been many really good rabbinical teachers, my favorite being my Rabbi who helped me to embrace my faith and feel accepted for who I am. Yet, I am somewhat jealous of Catholics who have this wonderful man as their spiritual link, someone able to lead the new face of religion and make people who aren’t even Catholic love him!
Pope Francis is a rock star, and you don’t have to love all things Catholic to love his unique style and sound. And that is okay, because I am pretty sure Pope Francis doesn’t even mind if you keep kosher, dance under the moon for Mabon, or leave flowers for Ganesh. His message of love and peace aren’t limited to only those who take communion.
I believe there is a connection that goes beyond religion, and it is that desire to be a part of something that answers our questions in the middle of the night when we are tearfully staring into the dark asking if we are doing the right thing. It is that desire to know that our faith means something that draws people out by the thousands to see a simple man with kind eyes who goes out of his way to touch the lives of those who also want to be a part of his relationship with the Devine. We all seek out calm, serenity, and hope that our lives mean something.
So it’s okay to love the Pope and his awesomeness no matter which road you take in life. With some faith, all roads lead to love.