Yes, the Holy Father arrives in just two short days!! As a Catholic, it’s very exciting. But, I’ll even go so far to say that for all Christians, it’s exciting. And I’ll tell you why.
When I was dating Scott and thinking about the remote possibility of converting to Catholicism, I wasn’t too sure about that Pope guy. What did he do, anyway? Didn’t Catholics just worship him, along with Mary and the plethora of so-called “saints”? I guess you could say I tolerated him – even through my entrance into the church. It really wasn’t until our first pilgrimage to Italy that I begin to understand what a faith-filled man he was. Fr. Kevin had us do a trip report – focus on an area of our trip – that we were to be the “expert” on and deliver a report when we arrived at that particular destination/person’s birthplace. My report was Vatican City. I read a ton and in reading about the Vatican, you can’t help but stumble upon anecdotes and such about the Holy Father. So, I guess you could say I was warming up to him.
Then, we entered St. Peter’s Square for our first Papal audience and there was this electricity. (No, not quite like the static at the Barry Manilow concert I attended in middle school.) You could just feel that we were in the presence of someone holy…dare I say, saint-like? Pope John Paul II had a presence about him, but I know that it was the Holy Spirit focusing him on his job at hand – to bring millions closer to Christ – that was the true electricity. Sometimes you’re in the presence, or you see someone through the media, that you just KNOW has dedicated his/her life to Christ. Mother Teresa. Bishop Fulton Sheen. Pope John Paul II. Pope Benedict XVI.
I often marvel at the effect the Holy Father has on so many people. Yeah, I know there are lots ‘o Popestalkers out there, c-r-a-z-y Catholics that are a wee bit over the top. But, I urge you to look at the faces of his youngest fans…teenagers. JPII and B16 are different, but the same. One an actor, the other a quiet theologian. But, both want us Christians worldwide to live our faith – to unite, not divide.
So, as we prepare for the visit of B16 let’s all take heed to what will likely be his message. To focus on the sanctity of life, the end of war and a re-birth of moral values in America. Last time I checked CNN does NOT have the market on morality…even though the nightly news tells us differently. Hollywood is not Jerusaleum. Entertainment Tonight is the not the Bible. And, LA is not heaven.
(photos courtesy of CNS)