The Saints in heaven did God's will while they were on earth. They did it according to the task to which God called them, using the abilities that were given them. We have saints who were great sinners at some points in their lives. They repented, did reparation for their sins and set about doing God's work. Some did menial tasks working in most unpleasant conditions taking care of the sick while bringing the Gospel to their charges. Some of our Saints were great preachers and debaters. We had those known for great works of charity. There were the smart ones who could explain our faith clearly and thoroughly. They worked through their own personalities. But, each one was most pleasing to God. They fulfilled his plans in spite of obstacles, difficulties and criticisms.
We can look at the papacy in the same way. God has given us great Popes in our lifetime. Each, in his own way, fulfilled the duty of teaching, sanctifying and governing. Blessed John Paul, soon to be canonized a saint, was an insightful teacher, deeply spiritual and compassionate for the weak and the poor. Pope Benedict is deeply spiritual, a great teacher and compassionate for the weak and the poor. Pope Francis is compassionate for the weak and the poor, profoundly spiritual and perceptive. These vicars of Christ had different ways of helping us to see and to live the truth. Each was elected by God to lead us to holiness in the times in which we live. Our Lord certainly takes care of us.
It is easy to understand why so many people love each of them. Their love for all of us is obvious. Unfortunately, they have their detractors too. People who do great things usually do, especially those who, like the Saints in heaven, live and teach God's will consistently.
Pope Francis asks for our prayers. Of course, our supplications should not be to make him into our image of what a pope should be. Rather we should always pray that he have the strength to do what God wants. We should pray that everyone listen to him and understand what he in fact is teaching. May each of us grow in holiness by what we have learned from Pope Francis, from the other popes and from the Saints.