Pope Francis and I actually share a special date. On the morning of Wednesday, 13th of March, 2013, I met with the Jesuit in charge of vocations in my area and asked to join the Jesuits. His Papacy has accompanied my formation ever since.
Though I’ve never met him, I feel close to him; I feel like he would understand me - and many people feel this way. That’s one of his charisms which I appreciate.He makes people feel close to God, and that God is close to us. His Papacy is peppered with anecdotes such as when he called the news kiosk back in Buenos Aires to cancel his subscription when he became Pope; or when he told that kid, Emanuele, that his father - an atheist - was loved by God; or who could forget that iconic image of him all alone, because of Covid, giving the Urbi et Orbi blessing in March 2020.
Pope Francis inspires me with his courage to face issues that might seem controversial and which, to me, seemed like they were taboos for the Church before. Our shortcomings with cases of abuse by the clergy; our difficulty with understanding and welcoming LGBTQ+ people. For someone from my generation, these are not issues that can be brushed under the carpet, and it was heartening to see the Pope begin to address them.
He more than allows his humanity to show - he almost exposes it - because through his humanity we can see the Spirit moving and working. He reminds me of that quote by St. Ireneus, “The Glory of God is man fully alive.”