There have been several media references to Pope Francis’ departure from his prepared text to share an anecdote during his general audience yesterday. For anyone who missed it, it seemed worth sharing.
The Pope told this story of an elderly woman who helped an immigrant:
As the lady came across this young man, who was without shoes, they began to speak and she asked him, “What are you searching for?”
“Saint Peter’s to go through the Holy Door,” he responded to her question.
Moved with sympathy, she thought to herself: “But how can he walk? .. He doesn’t even have shoes. She insisted on offering a taxi to bring him. When the taxi driver stopped however, he was hesitant to accept the passenger, as he smelled very badly.
However, the driver agreed, as the immigrant and the lady got in and chatted on the way to the Vatican. They spoke about his history, what he has lived through, the trials, the war, etc.
By the end of the ride, the lady went to pay, and the driver, who hesitated to accept them, said: “No, Signora. It is I who must pay for you, because you made me listen to a story that changed my heart.”
It seems to me that the question implied by the Pope’s story is this: How open is my heart to being changed by the stories I hear?