Rest Stop in DC … Meeting Pope Francis

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Pope Francis leaving his residence in DC (credit: Chris Shea)

This week the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, is making his first visit to the United States. Regardless of one’s personal religious beliefs, Pope Francis has distinguished himself as a leader who cares more about those with whom he leads than he does with his position as leader. Pope Francis is a man of lived faith, concerned with the poor and marginalized.

Today I was blessed to not only have seen this holy man, but to have been present when he left his residence in Washington, DC heading to a visit at the White House. As the Pope greeted the people present, he took the time to shake people’s hands and speak with them. I am still in a state of disbelief after having him shake my hand. I am not the only person to have shaken the Pope’s hand, but in that moment I was filled with a spiritual peace and awe; not an awe one would get in seeing a famous person, but an awe-struck sense of a deeper understanding of the humility and simplicity of a man focused on what is important – his belief in a loving God!

I am not writing this reflection to promote myself,

Pope Francis, DC, Catholic, church, peace, life, lifesjourney, inspirational, joy, PopeinDC, walkwithfrancis
Immediately after shaking hands with Pope Francis in DC (credit: Chris Shea)

rather, I write this reflection in honor of a person who lives his life in a genuine way. We hear many stories of how personable this poem is, and of his focus on the poor, the immigrant, and the marginalized. But what I saw this morning in his smile and in his desire to be with as many people as possible, by looking them in the eye and speaking with them, I saw a holy man genuinely living in the moment. A man who is not only the leader of a Worldwide Church, but also the leader of an independent nation, spending time in his busy schedule to meet and greet students. as he walks among us he continually repeated this phrase: “please pray for me.”

There remain many feelings and emotions for which I am unable to verbalize, but what I do understand and much more fully realize, is the importance for all of us to be genuine persons in our actions. The importance for each of us to be truly who we are is what is going to help us create a world of peace and joy. The challenge for me, and the challenge I would like to extend to each of us, is that we try everyday to not only live in the moment let’s live that moment genuinely.

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