I was at work when the white smoke came billowing out of the chimney. I was able to keep an eye on things via live streaming video while I went about my daily tasks. My boss would come in from time to time for an update on the proceedings. She is not Catholic but was very interested in the results of the conclave. But when the words Habemus Papam were finally pronounced, they did not produce the same reaction in me as they had with Benedict XIV. I cried tears of joy and relief then (I’m emotional that way). Yesterday, my stomach was all a flutter with nerves, as it had been since the smoke appeared. The decision came much sooner than I expected and it made me nervous.
I didn’t catch the name of the cardinal who had been elected to the papacy when it was announced, which also made me nervous. I like being in the know; the unknown worries me , which made the waiting period between the smoke, the announcement and the presentation of the new pope was torture. Not only was I anxious to find out who the new pope was, but I also had to go to the bathroom. I was afraid to leave my office for fear I’d miss the historic announcement. I was in agony! I tried to offer my sufferings for the pope as he grappled with the immense burden he had just received and wait patiently, but I didn’t last long.
I made it back to my desk in time to see Pope Francis make his first appearance on the balcony. His face was kind but somber. I glimpsed the weight he now carried and my heart was filled with love and peace. That’s when the tears came (I told you I am emotional that way). Tears continued to flow as the Holy Father humbly addressed the world, asking us for his prayers and then extending his blessing to us.
Habemus Papam. We have a pope. Those beautiful words no longer fill me with anxiety; they have brought me joy and peace. Why did I doubt when God always provides exactly what is needed when it is needed? What little I have learned about the pope thus far has confirmed that, and I am excited for the challenge to live my faith with charity and humility through the example of Pope Francis and St. Francis*. Habemus Papam!
Here are some great links with more about our Papa Francis:
from The Deacon’s Bench
from Standing on My Head
from The Deacon’s Bench (again)
*from Catholic Vote
from Cardinal Dolan
ABC reports on Pope Francis’ first day
more on his first day from Christopher Closeup
photo c/o cbsnews.com