Who Would’ve Thought?

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December 17, 2013 by Jan Stone

Who Would’ve Thought?

Awhile back—after some would say were too many years studying at The University of Chicago —I stopped following Catholicism and organized religion in general. All the typical reasons: hypocritical, too many Sunday-only believers, too political, etc.

Yes, I’m still watching from a distance and not a pew. But I’ve found spirituality when and where I least expected it. In the smell of the dirt and plants when weeding; during long sleepless nights while searching for peace; in the voices, eyes and memories of a handful of people who remind me daily about the real meaning of love; in the words of my godfather—a priest who helped me find my way recently despite my ranting against many things, including The Church. Who forgave me my sins without my asking and the long list.

While not too much has changed spiritually for me at the moment, I’ve begun to feel a simmering of something, and I know it is in part because of the views and words of the new Pope. And with that comes hope. Of the little I know, I have learned that without hope, there is no peace.

Here he is—The Pope—in The Advocate of all places. I think he deserves all the accolades he’s getting, and it concerns me that there are many who aren’t listening to him. Honestly, there is no one holding a gun to my head. This is a man working mightily to pull boatloads of Catholics into the 21st century, and I am very surprised that more haven’t noticed. For those who show up only on Sundays, Easter and Christmas Eve Mass or are on the fence in general, now is NOT the time to walk away or remain quiet.

Now is the time to get noisy. Talk about what he’s saying and thinking. Read every story about him. He is a human speaking to other humans. Imperfect but more realistic than any other Pope.

Who would’ve thought a Pope would say we can love each other whether we are of the same or a different sex, that we are living in a real world that we can change, and many other beliefs that are unfamiliar to the “flock.” Not me. But now I am also forever grateful for weeds, sleepless nights, people who hold you up until they convince you that you can do so yourself. Who would’ve thought?

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