Along with millions of others, I was eager to hear the new pope's chosen name.
Since it's been exactly 11 centuries since a pope has picked an original name -- Pope John Paul doesn't count in my book since he recycled two used names -- I wondered if he might consider one of the 39 papal names that have never been repeated.
Cool names like Hilarius, Formosus, Sisinnius or the last stand-alone name, Lando, whose reign lasted for only six months in 913. Seems it would be a nice gesture to honor his name with a little more time.
Actually, there's little information on many of the early popes and much of what's available deals with the politics of their times.
But then there was Telesphorus who was pope from 125-136. Depending on which website you believe, Telesphorus is credited with establishing the number of weeks in Lent and declaring that Easter be celebrated on a Sunday instead of on the third day after Passover.
Just think, had he not stepped up and regulated the schedule, Easter would have been on Friday and Saturday Easter egg hunts would have been on Thursday, requiring many parents to take off work. And on what day of the week would we have fish fries?
If Christians had been celebrating Christmas way back then -- it wasn't observed until the year 336 -- he might have fixed that day as well, making it easier for people to plan their skiing vacations and for schools to schedule their standardized tests.
Sounds like he was a real take-charge kind of guy. The kind of guy who could be a really good role model for a pope whom people seem to expect to come in and straighten up the whole world.
Since this new pope took over during the Lenten season that Telesphorus supposedly established, I thought it also might be appropriate that he honor his long lasting organizational skills by taking his name. But, no. The new pontiff chose Francis. And in view of what I just wrote, it's in the Prayer of St. Francis that I find great significance:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen
I think Pope Francis has it right if he's wanting to be an instrument of God's peace. No disrespect to Pope Telesphorus, but the last thing the world needs is another control freak.
Susan Larson is a writer form Lilburn. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.