As I hoped, we got a non-European pope! And as I suspected, the non-European pope was quite passionate for social justice. Even though some question marks have been raised concerning Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s actions during the Argentinian civil war in the 70’s, few can deny that he has been working hard against inequality, poverty and oppression as archbishop of Buenos Aires. He combines this activism with simplicity – as a cardinal, he lived in an ampartment instead of the usual palace, he took the bus instead of his chaffeur-driven car, and he cooked his own meal.
Many has pointed to the fact that his papal name, Francis, expresses this concern for the poor. S:t Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) sure was a radical, Christ-like activist. He sold everything he had, preached simplicity, loved the poor, criticised the rich and proclaimed the Kingdom of God. However, the new Pope is said to have another Francis in mind as well: S:t Francis Xavier (1506-1552). He is less well-known but just as radical – as a missionary in Asia he worked hard for poverty reduction and development while he was also spreading the Gospel.
Both of these Francises were charismatic activists. They combined their passion för justice and evangelism with marvelous signs and wonders in the power of the Holy Spirit. Francis of Assisis most famous miracle is probably the stigmata – the wounds of Christ supernaturally appearing on his body. But he experienced a lot. Marilynn Hughes writes:
During the life of St. Francis of Assisi and even beyond, crippled were healed, blind received their sight, those possessed were exorcised by his mere walking into the room, terminally ill people recovered, swellings went away, dropsies were cured, arthritis disappeared, paralyzed people began to walk again, lepers were cleansed, mutes began to speak and the deaf began to hear. Many miracles were attributed to this great saint.
Likewise, when it comes to the miracles of Francis Xavier, Jesus Army writes:
Xavier was a man of power in the Holy Spirit. He burned with love for Jesus. Sometimes he appeared to “drift off” in a trance; he had visions of Jesus. He had an accurate prophetic gift, foreseeing storms, dangers and political events. He spoke in tongues, and on a few occasions actually preached in a language he had never learned.
Most of all, Xavier moved in miraculous power gifts. Many demons were cast out. In Malaysia he prayed for a girl who had been dead for two days, and she was restored to life. Other raisings of the dead took place when he and his team prayed. There are hundreds of recorded healings from blindness, deafness, ulcerated limbs and tropical fevers.
I really hope that Pope Francis will be inspired by his namesakes in this area as well and combine his simplicity and activism with some prophesying and dead-raising there in Rome. He has to live up to his name, right? In fact, the same goes for me – my middle name is Frans, the Swedish form of Francis. Oh yes, come Holy Spirit.
Speaking of pope Francis and miracles, this tweet has become very widespread during the last 24 hours:
It says: “My boyfriend woke up last night at 4am saying that he had dreamed of a new pope called “Francis I” and Benedict resignation today.” It was written on February 11th, the same day Benedict did resign.
Whether the boyfriend, named Alejandro de Cabo, really knew that the pope would resign before he resigned is impossible to know, but he definitely knew that the next one would be named Francis long before that guy even was elected! Then keep in mind that picking a “new” pope name is extremely unusual. This sure seems like a genuine prophetic dream to me, unless there is some hidden Twitter function I don’t know about that can create tweets retroactively.