Today, Pope Francis was named Person of the Year by TIME Magazine. Frankly, this doesn’t really surprise us. Pope Francis has spent the nine months since his election the only way he knows how: living in radical service and love. By doing the things that are a genuine and natural extension of his faith–like working with the poor, visiting prisoners, blessing those riddled with disease, laughing with children, and speaking out against injustice and violence–Pope Francis is setting an example of the global power of humility and love. Of course, to him, being honored by TIME is no big deal. In response to the announcement, the Vatican said, “The Holy Father is not looking to become famous or to receive honors. But if the choice of Person of Year helps spread the message of the Gospel — a message of God’s love for everyone — he will certainly be happy about that.”
Here are 15 things Pope Francis does on a regular basis that are just a normal part of his life, but are exactly the types of things he does that, in our opinion, make him TIME’s–and our–Person of the Year.
1. That thing Jesus said about “let the little children come to me”…Pope Francis is all about that.
“To be children of God, and brothers and sisters to one another: this is the heart of the Christian experience.” Pope Francis
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2. When he speaks in public, he says radical things. Like, “Pray for me.” And “Who am I to judge?”
“Fifty years ago, Vatican II spoke of communications. Let us listen to, dialogue with, and bring to Christ all those we encounter in life.” Pope Francis
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Read more of his (controversial) thoughts in his book with Rabbi Skorka, On Heaven and Earth (Image, 2013)
3. Even in situations that would make most introverts cry, Pope Francis radiates joy.
“A Christian is never bored or sad. Rather, the one who loves Christ is full of joy and radiates joy.” Pope Francis
4. He does this. A lot.
“Charity, patience and tenderness are very beautiful gifts. If you have them, you want to share them with others.” Pope Francis
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5. When he says the Church is to embrace everyone in love, he isn’t being metaphorical.
“The Church invites everyone to be embraced by the Father’s tenderness and forgiveness.” Pope Francis
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6. He’s young at heart.
“The Church is young, as everyone can see at World Youth Day. May the Lord always keep us all young at heart.” Pope Francis
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7. His respect for the leadership of others enriches his ability to lead.
“In this Year of Faith, let us remember that faith is not something we possess, but something we share. Every Christian is an apostle.” Pope Francis
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8. He is an animal lover.
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9. But really, he’s a people lover.
“Take care of God’s creation. But above all, take care of people in need.” Pope Francis
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10. He takes the bus to work.
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11. And he checks out of hotels himself.
“Holiness doesn’t mean doing extraordinary things, but doing ordinary things with love and faith.” Pope Francis
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12. He lays it all down in prayer. Every day.
“Our prayer cannot be reduced to an hour on Sundays. It is important to have a daily relationship with the Lord.” Pope Francis
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13. He meets teens where they are. Even in selfies. (Person of the Year taking a Word of the Year? Awesome.)
“Dear young people, you have many plans and dreams for the future. But, is Christ at the center of each of your plans and dreams?” Pope Francis
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14. He cares more about the feet of prisoners…
…than he does about his own shoes.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is for those who place their trust in the love of God, not in material possessions.” Pope Francis
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15. He doesn’t just talk about service: he does service.
“True charity requires courage: let us overcome the fear of getting our hands dirty so as to help those in need.” Pope Francis
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These are just a few reasons why we love Pope Francis. And even though we know he is taking this all in stride, this is how we feel about the announcement:
Post compiled by Lindsay Olson, Image Books staff