This post was originally published at Ignitum Today
I have a confession to make. Well, if you read the title of this post, you already know, but here it is again: Pope Francis makes me uncomfortable.
I know that as a Catholic I am probably not supposed to say that (or feel that way), but it’s true. Ever since he was elected Pope, he has made me uncomfortable.
It started with hearing “first Jesuit Pope” and seeing this humble man meekly waving from the balcony, and it has continued throughout his papacy.
Every time I see him in the news, or trending on Facebook or Twitter, my first thought is, “Oh no, what does the media think he said this time?"
After that wears off, I begin to wonder, “Wait, what did he actually say?"
And then it usually hits me square in the face: “Is he speaking to me?"
At first, I thought my discomfort stemmed from the media’s portrayal of our beloved leader, but I came to realize that it was more than that. He makes me uncomfortable because he is challenging me, personally, to encounter Christ and His Church in a whole new way.
I have decided that it’s a good thing that he makes me uncomfortable. Honestly, he should make all of us uncomfortable. A leader who makes people feel comfortable can’t lead very effectively.
As Pope Benedict said, “The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”
We were not made for comfort. I have to let that sink in sometimes, especially when something comes along that throws me out of my comfort zone. We were not made for comfort. We were made for greatness.
We are called, as Christians by our baptism, to be challenged. We are then called to challenge the world by our love and faith. Christ radically challenged the world, and so should the Vicar of Christ here on earth. Christ asked the disciples to leave all comforts behind and to follow Him, and He asks us to do the same today. In the same way, as leader of Christ’s Church, Pope Francis is also called to make us uncomfortable, just as Jesus did and continues to do today.
I’m eagerly and anxiously anticipating Pope Francis’s arrival to the United States. I’m excited to hear how he challenges our country to step out of our comfort zones, but I’m also uncomfortable about what he will say that will speak directly to me, challenging me in a new and radical way. Pope Francis reminds us that we do not live in a safe Catholic bubble, but rather we are striving for the Kingdom as we live in the world. He challenges us to step out of that safe bubble and bring Christ to the world. Yes, it will be uncomfortable at times. But by accepting this discomfort, we will find the peace that God promises us, because we were made for greatness.