Come Holy Spirit!
Today in Rome 115 “Princes of the Church” inspired by God takes on one of their most solemn duties, the selection of a Pope. As they enter the Sistene Chapel awed by the most beautiful examples of God working through Man in the art of Pier Matteo d’Amelia, Michaelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Perugino, Rosselli, Botticelli, and Ghirlandaio the Cardinals sing “Vene Sancte Spiritus.” Asking for God’s help, inspiration and guidance in the task they are about to undertake.
Once they are assembled in the Sistene Chapel, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re (traditionally it would be the Dean of the College of Cardinals-Cardinal Angelo Sodano however he is 85 and disqualified from voting) will declare, “Everyone Out!” The room is then sealed and the 115 Cardinals are alone with each other and God.
Unlike American Presidential elections, there is no campaigning, speeches personal or racial slander slung at each other. Because no one truly wants to be Pope. The mantle of responsibility has and is extremely heavy for a man. However twice per day the Cardinals will vote, casting their vote by placing a simple piece of paper on a chalice while kneeling in prayer at the altar. Each man praying silently that they do not have the required 2/3 vote and that their vote inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit has chosen the most capable among them.
The Church is all of us for God is within and around all of us. The Church being of Man is at a cross-roads. An intersection that it has faced before over the centuries before. The new Pope will face a Church that again must fulfill the charge Jesus demanded of Peter:
And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound, even in heaven. And whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed, even in heaven. Matthew 16: 18-19
In light of this, a Pope therefore must be able to have the following qualities:
- Speaker for Social Justice
- Policy Maker and Implemementer
What a laundry list of qualities! Can they be embodied in one man? The Holy Spirit lends all people strength whether they know it or not. The strength to reform and to continue spreading the message of the Church will be granted to the person the Holy Spirit guides to take on the lineage of St. Peter. The lesson for us is that nothing happens by chance. A divine design has been created for each one of us. When we feel the design is faulty and crumbling around us in our darkest hours, the Holy Spirit hold us together, binds us, supports us, and heals us so we fulfill the design that God intends for each of us.
We Have a Pope!
After much prayer, meditation, discussion, and voting the white smoke rises from the chimney. Bells toll. The declaration, “We have a Pope!” is made. The man who will become the earthly leader of a spiritual being-the Church is introduced. This man who has never desired to be what he must become will smile and wave but has shed tears despair just moments before. In assuming a new name he will shed his old earthly bonds aspiring to fulfill the commands of Jesus Christ as Peter did through the example of a saint of the church It will be his faith and our faith of all believers that will sustain him. It will guide him. It is faith that will heal the ills that we as men have created in the body of the church. By God’s grace and in His grace is salvation for us and for the Church.