|Over 3 million gather in Brazil to hear
Pope Francis (AP image)
To be honest, I was hooked from minute #1, when he chose the name Francis and asked us to pray for him.
My admiration grew as I heard that he stopped his motorcade to kiss a baby, took the bus instead of the limousine, and paid his own hotel bill.
Then came Holy Thursday. I remember stopping dead in my tracks when I heard he spent that day at a juvenile detention center. This is someone who is going to teach us by example, I kept saying to myself.
My admiration is now at an almost-fanatical stage as I read what he told millions of people in Brazil yesterday:
"At times we lose people because they don't understand what we are saying, because we have forgotten the language of simplicity," he said, "Without the grammar of simplicity the church loses the very conditions which make it possible to fish for God in the deep waters of His mystery."
He gets it.
All my Catholic life I have been frustrated with the intellectualism of our Faith. So many religious documents can barely be understood by the most learned, so many classes taught as if the students were Theological doctorates, and so many homilies preached as if the audience were only Cardinals.
What was missing in all of them was a connection. And to state the obvious, people tend to hang around with principles and people they understand and connect with.
Often times, that connection begins with simplicity.
After all, Jesus didn't use some sophisticated language when he preached to those around Him. His preferred method was the memorable parable.
Pope Francis gets that.
I pray that he continues to dazzle us with simplicity in message and action, and that his example converts millions to (and back to) our Faith.