Are you feeling it too, denizens? Are you feeling the Papal Love Machine?
True, it's driving around in an open sided Fiat, which offers protection from only the wind, and that makes it a somewhat anxiety ridden Love Machine, but I can't help myself - this Jewish girl has spent Yom Kippur crushing on Francis.
He's opening his heart to those who've had abortions, to those who've divorced. He understands the difficulties multiple pregnancies have, especially in the developing world, and he's talked about it. He congratulated the bishops on their work to heal the victims of the Church's sex abuse scandals. He's given voice to issues his followers deal with every day.
He's apologized for the damage done to indigenous peoples; then he sanctified Junipero Serra, focusing on his Hispanic background, rather than the conquering generals in whose wake he traveled. This is the same crazy logic which makes every 4th grader in California create a model of one of Serra's missions; I have learned to live with the inconsistency.
After all, one forgives one crush his flaws.
I spent the morning watching video of Francis leaving the Fiat to bless and caress and kiss a young man on a stretcher while family members clapped and cried and clasped their hands as the Pope held them and smiled with them along a dirt road in Cuba. I kept hitting replay. There was so much joy in those moments. I didn't want to let them go.
I saw him arrive at Andrews Air Force Base, which may have been renamed Andrews Joint Air Base (there was a sign in the background) and he kept smiling. There was a red carpet between his vehicle and Mr. and Mrs. Obama, but it was a short, narrow one. The President thanked the Pope for his words and work with Cuba, and I didn't have a moment's worry about the separation of Church and State.
This isn't a man who needs pomp and circumstance, although the mass he celebrated was held in the largest Catholic church in the Americas. The nuns who had the aisle seats were transfixed within their habits, their faces shining and bursting with joy.
And everyone kept smiling.
I'm so tired of complaining. I'm so tired of feeling blue. I'm going to lose myself in the man in the white robes, and contemplate the past year, and wonder about the coming year, and step forward into tomorrow. I'm hearing Neilah, the final prayer, being sung over and with my brother and his family (the only ones I can be certain are actually there, doing that) and remembering my father and eating hard boiled eggs to break the fast.... or HoJo's All You Can Eat Fried Chicken sophomore year in college.... and feeling a connection to 5776 years of ancestry doing just the same things, in somewhat the same ways.
And so I'd like to say thank you to Rita and FAMBB for explaining being Catholic by living it and being my friends when I was young enough for that to have made a difference. We were different but we were also the same. I think that's a message Pope Francis might be glad that I'm feeling right now.
This is so much more worthy of my attention than the Clown Car.