I think I understood Benedict, I have to admit I don't understand Francis!
Benedict amazed with his brilliance in his sermons and catechesis, Francis will probably remembered for the simple homely preaching at his early morning Masses at Domus Mater, for rubbish collectors and policemen, with their simple homely message: be faithful to Christ, tell the truth, be meek, be gentle.
Benedict was that wise scribe who drew out from his store room things both old and new. Francis, maybe it is his Jesuit sense of poverty, doesn't seem to have a store room. Benedict and Francis are obviously closely related, Benedict was the kind and wise grandfather, Francis the kind old uncle, who delights in surprising you.
I was rather taken by this story:
Recently, when he left his apartment at Domus Marta and went out into the hall, the Pope found a Swiss Guard standing at attention outside his door.Quite what Il Capitano and his fellow guardsmen made of this I wonder.
He asked him, “And what are you doing here? Were you awake all night?
“Yes,” the guard answered respectfully.
“One of my colleagues gave me a break.”
“And you’re not tired?”
“It’s my duty Your Holiness, for Your safety.”
The Pope looked at him with kindness. He went back into his apartment and, after a few minutes, returned with a chair in his hand: “At least sit down and rest.”
Shocked, the Swiss Guard replied, “Forgive me, but I can’t! The rules don’t allow it.”
“My captain, Your Holiness.”
“Oh, is that so? Well, I’m the Pope and I am asking you to sit down.”
So, between the rules and the Pope, the Swiss Guard, complete with his halberd, chose the chair. And then the Pope brought him some bread and jam for a snack, saying, “Buon appetito, brother.”
What I find rather exciting is Benedict taught us to connect our worship, theology and belief, Francis seem to teach us to connect simple kindness to belief.
Christians should be known for their kindness. which I think he said in one of his sermons to the binmen, policemen and cleaners. Perhaps that is one of the qualities above all else that we need to relearn.
A hearwarming picture from Rorate: