The Papal Playlist

22 Sep The Papal Playlist

As the visit of Pope Francis to the United States fast approaches, here are five songs that are inspired by the advice we can expect to hear from him, and can encourage us to live better lives long after he leaves.

Lesson #1: Slow Down

Song: Inaudible Melodies by Jack Johnson

 Slow down everyone you’re moving too fast / Frames can’t catch you when you’re moving like that.

Slowing down is about taking the time to be truly present to the people you are with and open to the encounter that each moment provides. It can sometimes feel like an accelerating hamster-wheel of expectations and frenetic activity drives American culture, especially in cities like New York City and Washington, DC. We are so over programmed that we can too easily miss beautiful moments right in front of us.

Pope Francis will have none of it. He isn’t fast-paced, he’s faith-paced. He’s attentive to the opportunities to encounter those that God has placed in his way. He slows down to embrace children, the elderly, the disabled, and the disfigured. The same should be true for us.

Lesson #2: Expect Change

Song: Change by Tracy Chapman

How bad how good does it need to get? / How many losses how much regret? / What chain reaction / What cause and effect / Makes you turn around / Makes you try to explain / Makes you forgive and forget / Makes you change

Much discussion will be given to the important talks given by Pope Francis at the White House, the joint meeting of Congress, and the United Nations, yet it is important to remember that Pope Francis primary role is as a pastor not a politician.

And like a good pastor, Francis won’t just comfort the afflicted, he’ll afflict the comforted. His comments in United States should challenge everyone.

All of us should expect to be challenged about our spiritual lives. If we are never challenged to change, we are left worshiping a self-made God. If the Pope leaves and you aren’t challenged to  live a more holy life, you might be doing it wrong. 


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Jonathan Lewis is the Director of Evangelization, Youth and Young Adult Initiatives for the Archdiocese of Washington, and an Associate with Catholic Voices USA

Jonathan Lewis