I've always liked this Pope for his economic justice advocacy, but after hearing him ask regular people to pray for him I opened my heart to Pope Francis. I still disagree with him on significant issues,but his humility dissolved my self-righteousness. When he asked me to pray for him, he made himself vulnerable-- not perfect, all-seeing or impervious. Like me, he needs prayer. He's in a little boat making big waves, and sometimes we all lose direction.
Watching the Pope and discussing this with Michael afterward made me late for an event featuring acclaimed playwright Suzan-Lori Parks.
I almost skipped it, but something told me to just go. As I walked into a warm college gym, Suzan-Lori was demonstrating what she called Radical Inclusion. With her arms stretched open so wide that they were behind her a bit, she demonstrated that radical inclusion requires opening the heart to the point of some discomfort. Radical inclusion means stretching to see some of ourselves in those we don't like or with whom we profoundly disagree. Then a student asked what do you do when you are low or stop believing in your dream. Without skipping a beat, Sister-Girl said "Pray." She suggested something short such as "God, gosh (or whoever), help!" That exchange also took me into my heart. It's like Suzan-Lori was saying take your sad, hurt, fearful self into your heart. You will find help.
I approached Suzan-Lori after her talk and told her that minutes earlier the pope had asked a for prayer, and she hugged me.