The press is filled with more eloquent and informed voices than my own. It would be presumptuous of me to add to them. At the same time, this stunning and gracious election requires acknowledgment. I can do it best by observing it in silence while I reread George Bernanos’ Diary of a Country Priest . Francis stood on the balcony and asked us to pray for him. If ever a work of fiction can be called an act of prayer, it is this one.

 

diary-of-a-country-priest2
From Robert Bresson’s 1951 film version of Diary of a Country Priest

 

That profound, heart-scalding window into the agony of a true priest—and of the making of a saint—carries us close to Benedict’s resignation and Francis’ election. Closer than any press commentary can ever approach. Bernanos’s nameless priest writes in his diary:

Faith is not a thing which one “loses,” we merely cease to shape our lives by it.

We have been blessed with a pope whose life as a cardinal was shaped by humility and faith. Yes, it is true: “Grace is everywhere.”

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