There is a story going around Rome at the moment. A few days ago, at dawn, the time the Pope wakes up, he came out to the corridor (at Sanctæ Marthæ where he is still living), and he found in front of his door the sentry, a Swiss Guard standing with his halberd at attention.
He asked him: “And what are you doing here? Have you been up all night?”
“Yes,” replied the guard with deference and a bit surprised.
“On your feet?”
“Your Holiness, my duty since I took over from my companion.”
“And aren’t you tired?”
“It’s my duty Your Holiness; I should watch for your safety.”
Pope Francis looked at him again with kindness, went back to his suite and after a minute he came out carrying a chair: “At least sit down and rest.”
The guard rolled his eyes and answered: “Santo Padre, forgive me, but I cannot! The regulations do not allow that.”
“The regulations?”
“Orders from my captain, Your Holiness.”
The Pope smiled, “Oh, really? Well, I’m the Pope and I order you to sit down.”
So, caught between the regulations and the Pope, the Swiss Guard (so much for the halberd) chose the chair.
The Pope returned to his apartment. After a couple of minutes, the Pope came back to the Swiss Guard, still obediently seated on the chair, carrying “panino con marmellata” (Italian bread with jam) which he had prepared.
Before the soldier could say anything, the Holy Father, exhibiting his Argentinean smile, told the Swiss Guard, “With all the hours spent standing on guard you must be a bit hungry.”
The Swiss Guard had no time to object because the Pope right away wished him a good bite: “Bon appetit, brother”.
Pope Francis in such wonderful simple acts of kindness is showing us the type of “spirit-filled” living that should characterise us as Catholics. An even more poignant visual example of the Spirit of kindness at work was the way the Holy Father greeting disabled and sick people when he took recently possession of the Lateran Church… his own church as Bishop of Rome.
…….From Br Mark O’Connor– Office of Evangelisation

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