Knitting With the Papacy

I was quite excited for the Pope’s visit last week. I think even non-Catholics felt a truly overwhelming sense of peace and compassion pervading the air. I believe it was being called The Frances Effect. And on some of the pundit, talking head shows, they even somberly posed the question, “Will this lifting sense of joy fall away when the Pope leaves?” The question was probably asked because once the Holy Father leaves the States and heads home we’ll all go back to our normal lives….and sadly, I think our daily routines don’t often hold as much peace and compassion as they often should. That must be why the religious use icons and scapulars and rosaries, as constant reminders of sacrifices made, sacrifices given, and the reward and joy that only comes from being connected to the heart.

Once the Pope made it to Washington and started giving speeches, I was glued to the radio. I grabbed my knitting and sat perched on the edge of this chair of mine and dutifully listened to what he had to say. I know that many of us were dead set on trying to categorize and classify the Pope’s message as either right leaning, or leftist. Which somehow bothered me. It was as if they weren’t taking what he had to say to heart…they were just listening for code words to politicize his statement. Can you imagine tolerance and grace being only afforded to one political party? Nonetheless, I was sitting with my knitting, hearing what he had to say, and (always looking for signs), I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard the Pope address congress and not only mention, but quote one of my most beloved heroes, Thomas Merton. What a wonderful, delightful surprise!

And with a big smile, I looked down to my knitting and remembered my teddy bears. It is to those I owe my daily remembrance of compassion, not only received, but also given. I reminded myself that every time I pick up my needles and knit a teddy bear, that I was connecting to the compassion in daily life.

So, I feel like I’m on the right path, so to speak. If the best of life is born of quiet humility, then I think we should all consider ourselves blessed. If the smallest of actions brings joy into the world, then let the simple smile of contentment on your face fervently bring peace and compassion to our daily lives long after the Frances Effect is gone.

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  1. Lovely post! Oh and another big fan of Thomas Merton is Bishop Barron, he mentions him in his videos and books! Bishop Barron is huge on social media and his messages are always very enlightening!

  2. When people of faith like the Pope or the Dalai Lama speak, we should be listening for words of inspiration that can alter our way of thinking and behaving to make our lives and those of others better. That “Francis Effect” and the smile you had after you listened to him speak is the “peace that passes all understanding” which is mentioned in the Bible.

  3. I agree! Beautifully said! Now, back to reading your book. Hope sumbuddy gets me Will Knit for Food for Yuletide! Even without the added stress of homelessness, your words often resonate with me. Thanks for all the good you do! Teddy Bears and all!

    Bright blessings of peace and love,

    Janice Muir
    Lady Regina

  4. I work in downtown Philadelphia and live in South Jersey so I was right in the middle of the Pope Zone. Starting 2 weeks before the pontif came into town, streets were being blocked off and transportation routes impacted. They closed a bridge across the river for the entire weekend. There was much grumbling and gettin’ out of Dodge by the locals.

    BUT (and for Philadelphia this is a BIG but), the atmosphere was peaceful and joyful all weekend. I did what I could to stay out of the crowds (an anxiety producer for me) but the folks I talked to who were in the city, said it was wonderful. The crowds behaved well and people seemed to treat each other with respect. The Francis Effect indeed.

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