This Daily Sanctity

Among the surprises the Lord has dropped on us, the election of a Jesuit as the Bishop of Rome ranks highest.

And that he should be a person ready to say that Caravaggio's 'Call of Matthew' illustrates his own call and life comes right after that. Here's Matthrew (Levy) clutching his money bag to his chest and there is Jesus, the light shining over his shoulder onto Levy, pointing his finger at the money changer. And this bishop of Rome says this about himself first of all: "I am a sinner."

We discover, as he lets us know more and more about his mind and heart, that his appreciation of holiness is much closer to St. Paul's than to St. James's, one rooted in the messy bluster of everyday life rather than in an ideal of sanctity.

He calls it "this daily sanctity" and ascribes it to "a holy middle class." Admit two things to yourself when you read this: First, huge relief that the holiness promised us in scripture does not require one or more miracles even before we are dead. A great sense that what we have been proclaiming all along really, really is true: Do the next good thing, loving God, and you are enacting your Baptismal holiness.

And the other thing to admit is that  you've known all along about this holy middle class, even if you were privileged to be born and reared really poor or really wealthy. You watched it in your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, the nuns who taught you, and lots of others. Here's what I appreciate deeply about this sovereign pontiff: he is rooted and grounded in love - not the love of a mystic floating above all things, but the love of a mystic embracing and embraced by the kind of people we know and are.

Peace and blessings.