by Pino Corrias
The surprising greatness of this new Pope Francis is in the small things. For example, the ability to say, “Brothers and sisters, good evening,” instead of appealing to the centuries, the Scriptures or the universe to present himself to the world. To wear an iron cross of instead of a golden one. To wash the feet of the prisoners.
Or yet, to care for the Swiss Guard who guards the door of his apartment in Casa Santa Marta every night until dawn.
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."
"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."
May God preserve him for many years.