During his inauguration homily four years ago, Pope Francis reflected on Saint Joseph and the connection between the office of Peter and the mission of Joseph.
In particular Pope Francis focused on the role of "protector" that Saint Joseph was given.
"In the Gospel we heard that 'Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife' (Mt 1:24). These words already point to the mission which God entrusts to Joseph: he is to be the custos, the protector."
Pope Francis then connected his role as "protector" to that of Saint Joseph and emphasized the need to be a servant leader.
"[The Pope] must be inspired by the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-46). Only those who serve with love are able to protect!"
To go further, Pope Francis pointed out four specific domains that the Pope needs to protect.
"To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly. Let us protect with love all that God has given us!"
It is obvious to see how Pope Francis has followed through in those four domains, proclaiming Jesus' Divine Mercy for all, challenging everyone to protect our "common home" of nature, urging a special care for the poor and most vulnerable of society and constantly encouraging us to rid ourselves of the various poisons of the world.
As we look back on Pope Francis' pontificate, may we be inspired by his servant leadership and strive to protect those domains that he has placed before us and join him in his mission. This is one of the primary goals of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network, assisting the Holy Father in his mission with our prayers and action.
On this anniversary of his election, let us pray for the Holy Father in a special way today.