It is astonishing that no one had thought of the name before, after all the name of Francis has been revered for centuries and has claimed many saints. And who knows, perhaps it is for that very reason that many have declined to use it. Regardless, to name oneself Francis as the Bishop of Rome is clever indeed.
Imagine the power of such a name if found consistent with one’s character. We would expect that Pope to be humble like a man from Assisi, almost radical in his denial of the luxuries that are rightfully his. We would also expect that Pope to be a missionary like Xavier, going out to the ends of the earth with a mind hardened with education and a heart softened for those he would encounter. And let us not forget that a Pope with such a name would be expected to wield a joy that can only come from the interior life, a devout life if you will.
Very few humans will ever experience the call to become Bishop of Rome and so we can only surmise what was going through the head of Jorge Mario Bergoglio when he was elevated to so lofty a position. But if I were to write his story; if I was the Savior of the world who makes all things new; I think I would have whispered gently into the ear of the son of Jesse, the one no one expected, and said something like, ‘’Francis, rebuild my Church.’’
And so, if a Juliet in your life asks you, ‘What’s in a name?’ Remember to respond that for mortals it can mean very little, but for God the maker of saints it can mean everything, absolutely everything.