Vicar of Christ

Protestants don’t ordinarily use the word “vicar” for anything, but it is the basis for the word “vicarious,” meaning something like a second-hand experience. A vicarious experience is one in which I did not physically participate, but which through the description of  it by someone else, I can imagine, or almost experience.

The “Vicar of Christ” is like that. The Pope is supposed to be “Jesus among us,” the presence of Christ on Earth. Pope Francis appears to be taking that seriously (not that the others didn’t, mind you) in many aspects of his first days on the job. His beginnings are marked by humility and a desire to be more of a shepherd than a holy ruler.

It reminds me of a poem by Oscar Wilde called Easter Day:

THE silver trumpets rang across the Dome:
The people knelt upon the ground with awe:
And borne upon the necks of men I saw,
Like some great God, the Holy Lord of Rome. 

Priest-like, he wore a robe more white than foam,
And, king-like, swathed himself in royal red,
Three crowns of gold rose high upon his head:
In splendor and in light the Pope passed home.

My heart stole back across wide wastes of years
To One who wandered by a lonely sea,
And sought in vain for any place of rest:
“Foxes have holes, and every bird its nest,
I, only I, must wander wearily,

And bruise My feet, and drink wine salt with tears.”

We should pray for our religious leaders, that they would all exercise some humility in the days ahead.

For an easy to use prayer work-book, go see: www.therealprayer.org

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