Wednesday, March 13, 2013

habemus papam

Dinner was over. Our allotted half hour whipped by. Just minutes before, I had been in the frenzy of the kitchen: slicing, stirring, flipping. Three different pans cooking at once. The community getting hungrier and hungrier.

Now, the chaos evaporates--leaving dew of peace, drops of joy, glimmers of thanksgiving. The fragile Poor Clare opens the door to the chapel. "Beautiful evening, isn't it?" she asks. "Got to say thank you," I wink.

Habemus papam. We have a pope.

The tiny desktop screen revealed him to us hours before. Our office crowds around, texting, murmuring, giggling, crying. Amy and I did the "Pope Disco" (soon to be a worldwide sensation). Whatever the reaction, all know history is being made. Catholics and non-Catholics stop to watch. There is something about this man coming out on the balcony. He wears the white uniform, facing the millions watching, listening, judging, relishing.

Habemus papam. We have a pope.

He steps out into the weight of the world. With scandal, gossip, corruption, hunger, poverty, injustice and complacency waiting as he takes his stole.

He stands stoically on the balcony, barely moving, staring out into the recording lenses of the world. Side glances, a nudge. "Say something! Do something! Smile!"

And moments later, he does. A prayer for the Pope Emeritus. The prayer Jesus Himself taught us. The Hail Mary. A good start. But then--

The chosen representative of Jesus Christ on earth bows to his people--the children of the world. And we, the Church, the Body of Christ, extend our blessing before receiving his.

We are people of faith. We are brothers and sisters. We are children of God. We are universal. We are Catholic. And we unite now, resilient in these times, in the wake of a new dawn, looking towards the sun.

Habemus papam. We have a pope.