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Viva la Men of God like Pope Francis! Viva la UnConditional Love !
by Leah Sellers
2013-10-04 11:06:10
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Yes, I was raised in the tradition of Protest-antism, and have BeCome more of a Universalist, but in my Book, Pope Francis is Truly a Man of God. A Man of Christ’s Gospel and Living Word.
One of the Precious Souls I have the Honor of Helping each week has Alzheimers. Some of her higher level Thinking is still active, but her Speech is often confused and confusing, and frustrating to her, whenever she Sees or Feels someone’s lack of Understanding.
So, I always strive with the best of my Teacher’s and Performance Arts Skills and Experience to Understand her, and when I don’t, I happily distract her with other topics of conversation near and dear to her Heart. Her Family and her Faith.
Ms. J. is a devout Catholic.
Every day is truly a New Day to her when it comes to short-term or recent Memory Events. So, every day I am with her, I treat her to lunch before driving her to the two Catholic Churches in the area that her Husband, Mr. A., takes her to most Sunday’s mornings or Saturday evenings.
We sit out in the Meditation Garden at one of the Catholic Churches, and I get out my Red Rosary Beads, given to me by one of my good friends in my Bible Study group from another Catholic Church, for Ms. J. to use during her Prayers.
What am I Doing with a string of Red Rosary Beads, and in a Bible Study group with a bunch of amazing Catholic Ladies ?
Well, I am a Protest-ant-Universalist who was invited by a nun (who is also a Friend of mine) to attend a Bible Study with a wonderful group of Catholic Ladies, and we have been studying with one another for more than eight years now. They all Respectfully Listen to my InPut, even when we may dis-agree (which isn’t very often) in spite of my Protest-ant-Universalistic points-of-view. Such is the Path and Walk of UnConditional Love.
Why would I be open to attending a Bible Study with a group of terrific Catholic Ladies ?
I have made it a Habit of Curiosity of mine to study, and try to Experience, most of the Religious Traditions around the World. I truly Think and Feel that Humanity’s various Religions are just the many Faces - the many Personality Traits of God - of the Creative/Destructive Cosmic Energy/Energies of All Things Great and Small.

In one of the suburbs that I was fortunate enough to spend a part of my childhood in Houston, Texas, my very Protest-ant-Baptist family and I were surrounded by Catholic Families with lots of Catholic Children that my Sisters and I really enjoyed Playing and Doing things with. They all attended the Big Catholic Church and Parochial School located one block over from our neighborhood’s street.
So, I learned a lot about Catholicism from my Catholic Friends and their Families.
I even had my First Experience with Holy Water at the age of twelve, thanks to some of our Catholic neighborhood friends.
One day, on a lark, I asked some of our Catholic Friends if we could see the inside of their Big Church. They said, “Sure !” And so we mosied over, and quietly opened the large, heavy wooden doors in order to enter their Church’s Sanctuary.
It was huge and beautiful. It made me feel small and a little nervous. As we passed by a stone fountain filled with running Water, I watched my Friends dip their fingers in the Water and make the sign of the Cross on their Foreheads in the area of the Third-Eye, while whispering a short benediction. Something about the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
Now, I had been raised by my parents to always be Polite, and follow the Rules of whatever House we visited. So, since it was the Lord’s Catholic House, I did the same things I had seen my Friends do.
I dipped my forefinger in the Holey Water, created the Sign of the Cross of Crucifixion/Resurrection upon the Third-Eye of my forehead, and whispered, “In the Name of the Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost”.
I was expecting something Spiritually Magical to happen, but was disappointed that I felt no differently.  And that the vaulted ceilings of the Church had not opened up with brilliant Divine Light, and the glorious Chorus of winged Angels pouring down upon us. However, I was in awe of the Architecture, Sunlit Stained Glass Windows and Statuary Artwork within the Sanctuary of the Church, which eased my disappointment over feeling no other sense of Life altering Personal Transformation.
I chalked it up to being a Protest-ant-Baptist, especially after one of my Catholic Friends decided to chastise me. “I’m not sure that a Baptist is supposed to touch the Holy Water.”
I smiled and said, “When y’all visit my Church, I’ll take out some extra broken pieces of Crackers and Grape Juice glasses out of the Communion trays for y’all to Share with all of us.”
“Baptists do Communion ? Why do y’all drink Grape Juice ?”
“Yes, we have Communion once a month. And they use Welch’s Grape Juice, not the cheap Kool-Aid stuff. So, it tastes pretty good. What kind of juice do y’all use ?”
“We don’t drink juice at Communion. We drink Red Wine.”
“Y’all drink Wine ?  But doesn’t that make you drunk ?  Isn’t it a Sin to drink Wine ? Especially in Church ?”
“Naw, they only allow you to take a little sip out of a silver goblet. It’s not enough to get drunk on. And we don’t eat broken up crackers. We eat little round wafers that don’t taste like much of anything.”
Taking in all of the information, I nodded my head and said, “How interesting.”
A couple of months later when three of my Catholic Friends visited the Baptist Church with me and my Family, I was true to my Word, and when the round silver trays holding the broken Crackers and small glasses of Grape Juice got passed down to me, I took out some extra pieces and extra glasses for my Catholic Friends to Share with all of us during Communion. In my Eyes, Making us all Spiritually Even and Doubly Blessed.
Dad and Mom didn’t say anything about my Sharing our Protest-ant-Baptist Communion with my visiting Catholic Friends until my Catholic Friends returned to their Homes after Church was over.
Then Dad chastised me for, “Sharing our Christian Communion with Catholics. That it just simply was not done !”
I tried to explain to dad that Catholics were Christians, too. And that they loved God, and Jesus, and even Jesus’ Mother, Mary.
Daddy then told me that Catholics were not really Christians, but Idol Lovers, and that it was a Sin to worship Jesus’ Mother, Mary. And that they baptized their babies at Birth by sprinkling them with Holy Water, instead of fully immersing their Church Members in Water, as Christ had done, after they were old enough to make a Conscious decision to Give their Life to Jesus.
I told dad that I had not seen any idols in their Church, but had seen their Holy Water. I did not tell Daddy that I had Touched the Holy Water. I did not want him blowin' a gasket.
Daddy then asked me if I had seen any statues of Jesus and Mary in their Sanctuary, because those statues were the idols that they worshipped.
I answered, “Yes, and they were beautiful, Daddy. But they do not worship the statues. The statues are just pretty Artwork, just like our Baptist Church’s paintings of Jesus, and carved Wooden Crosses, and the beautiful murals of the Holy Land behind the Baptistry where they Baptize people who accept Jesus into their Hearts.”
I then said that it only seemed fair to show Gratitude and Love to Jesus’ Mother, Mary, too, because Baby Jesus would not have been Born if not for Mary, his Mother. That God and Jesus Loved Everyone no matter what Religion they were, and no matter how they were or were not Baptized, and no matter what kind of pretty Artwork they had or did not have in their Church !
I then dug a deeper hole for myself by telling Daddy that, “God Created Water, and Wine and Bread. And that Jesus turned Water into Wine. And that a bunch of Crows had dropped Manna - the Bread of Life - from the Heavens to Moses and his People when they were Lost and Starving in the Wilderness after fleeing Slavery in Egypt. So, God’s Water, Grape Juice, Crackers and Bread are for EveryOne. EveryOne, Daddy.”
“God and Jesus Love EveryOne. God even Loves Lucifer. In fact, Ms. Lundy, my Sunday School Teacher told us that Lucifer was God’s favorite. Although, I don’t believe that God should ever play favorites. That’s always nothin’ but trouble. But, anyways, Lucifer got full of HimSelf. His Selfish Pride and Greedy Heart made him Hungry for Everything, and turned him into the Evil Devil who lives in H-e-l-l, and who Wants to Destroy and Burn EveryThing and EveryOne.”
Of course, I was sent to my room for “Backtalking my Elders”, but I learned a lot about mySelf, and some of my Core Beliefs when I was placed in a position of having to defend my Friends and their Religion.
So, years later down the Road of Life, taking Ms. J. to her, and her Husband’s, Catholic Churches of Choice every week does not feel like UnFamiliar Territory to me.
In fact, I’ve discovered that if I Pray along with Ms. J. with my extra string of Green Rosary Beads, she hardly ever loses her train of Thought. The Habit-Memories within Ritual are very deeply embedded within us all, no matter what the Rituals within our Lives may be.
Then we always end our Time together in the Meditation Garden singing, “Amazing Grace”. She never forgets the first verse and chorus (which is just the first verse repeated more forcefully and joyfully).
Ms. J. is as happy as a Lark for the rest of our Time together at the Park feeding the Ducks and Wild Birds, talking briefly to passers-by and petting their Dogs, and walking the wooded trails.
I am always telling her whatever news I hear about their new Pope Francis, and how much Spiritual Leaders like him are truly Needed Worldwide. That Pope Francis Teaches Christ’s Core Message, that We are All Sinners who fall short from Time to Time. All Sinners, who launch surprising and Miraculous Hail Mary’s from Time to Time. But most importantly, that we are All Sinners who must Strive to Love One Another UnConditionally, ForGive One another, Seek to Understand and Empathize with One Another, Offer Healing and a Hand-Up to those in Need, and Seek to Nurture and Sustain what is Best - what is Beautiful - what is Brightest - what is most Noble and Virtuous within One another.
That Pope Francis is Reviving His Church and the World’s Sense of Hope Verbalizing and Enacting these very Powerful Ideals and Energies once again.
That the World is Hungry and Thirsty for Love and a Loving and Fruitful Existence. And in dire Need of these very Innervating Positive, Constructive, Common Sensical, Highly Self Disciplining and Self Motivating Messages, Ideals and Energies once again.
That All Religious and Secular Systems Need the infusion of these Liberty Inducing, Self Determining and Life Affirming Messages, Ideals and Energies once again.
That the only Energies that can successfully inoculate and Transform our World’s Dis-eases (Murder, War, Greed, Hubris…..) are our Capacities for Unconditioanal Love and Life Transforming and Creative Grace and ForGiveness.
Viva la Men of God like Pope Francis !
Viva la UnConditional Love !

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