The Kenosis Hymn (Phil 2:5-11)
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Catholics around the world, heard with great shock the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. It was for many, a confusing decision, but it remained for me an unparralleled act of humility and confirmed my understanding of his papacy and the great virtues PBXVI sought to teach us from the pages of Christ’s life. A month later we were graced with the election of Pope Francis I, formerly Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.
The humble act of resignation (although interpreted by many – in the mainstream media as cowardice, reminiscent of the crowds at Golgotha) catalyzed the Church on a cascade to single out the most basic, the most important of all Christian Principles: that is to say: Jesus’ humility and the duty that all Christians are called to imitate, hence my opening with the Kenosis hymn. Else, following Christ is in vain (#punintended).
Thus, in the divine providence of the third person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit, prioritized this cardinal virtue, HUMILITY, which Cardinal Bergoglio, no surprise to those who know him made a point to live his life by.
If this is the direction God intends on taking the church, whom are we to object?
Many signs of humility already decorate the papacy of Pope Francis I:
-In picking the name of the founder of the Franciscan order (Francis of Assisi), the Jesuit priest now named Pope Francis symbolically affirms the UNITY of the church. A humble gesture to say the least, in a world that is constantly divided by ideologies.
-The Church has never been graced with a Pope Francis. Unbelievable, I know, for such a grace-filled name. But St Francis of Assisi was a remarkable saint who mirrored the humility and love of Jesus Christ, and in electing to model his papacy after him, Pope Francis I foretells his intention of a meek papacy.
-Pope Francis hails from one of the modern epicenters of catholic faith: South America. The church in departing from the long standing tradition of a European pope sends a strong message in the paradigm of its humble future. This parallels the dichotomy that the first Christians faced at the council of Jerusalem in matters of opening the doors of Christ to the Gentiles. We are witnessing a “re-gentilification” of the church that will most certainly heighten efforts of the new evangelization.
-Lastly, but certainly not least, it is said that: God does not choose the equipped, he equips those whom He has chosen. He did it with the first pope, in singling out St Peter….2000 years later, He has remained faithful. The inauguration of Pope Francis is scheduled for the Feast of St Joseph, March 19. St Joseph, quite arguably the most underrated biblical character, was tasked with the impossible task of raising God. Do you know what Pope Francis’ papal motto is: MISERANDO ATQUE ELIGENDO” -LOWLY YET CHOSEN. How Appropriate!
In comparison with his predecessors who also motored the engine of the church according to their respective motto.
PBXVI: Cooperatores Veritatis - Cooperators of the Truth – affirming his vigorous love for the Truth of Jesus Christ and His Church - (that was the legacy he is leaving – doctrinal rigor!)
PJPII: Totus Tuus – Totally Yours – affirming his total surrendering to Jesus – (even onto death - THIS was his papacy)
No conclusion is necessary. It is only the beginning.