With Peace In My Heart

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Late yesterday morning my regular TV viewing was interrupted with the news.

A new pope had been chosen.

The symbolic white smoke billowed from the Sistine Chapel chimney.  The massive bells rang. The faithful flooded into Vatican City.

At first I watched with curiosity.  I watched with the same fascination I feel when watching a royal wedding or a presidential inauguration; history is being made, but yet I can still feel removed from it.  I continued to watch.  And as the crowd cheered in the rain, and some cried with rosaries in hand on that cold night in Rome, their eyes transfixed on the loggia above, my feelings humbly evolved.

The moment carried far greater significance than those other things I half-heartedly compared it to.  The moment was about faith and immense love.  It was about the people in that crowd and around the world, watching and feeling those emotions toward this chosen man; and how he would feel the same emotions toward them, with the incredible responsibility of guiding these faithful.

I was also struck by something else.  In times like this, whether it be great joy or tragedy, people join together as one.  Humanity, and all its beauty, love and awesomeness, really is alive and well.

I don’t subscribe to any one faith in particular.  There are many reasons for this.  I have discovered in my heart and in this life that truth is everywhere; it isn’t found in only one place.  I have stepped foot in churches of every denomination, synagogues, mosques, Buddhist and Hindu temples, and St. Peter’s Basilica, too. While I always felt welcome and at peace in those holy places, my spirit feels most at home in nature and when I am surrounded by love, no matter where that may be.   It is where I feel closest to God.  It is where I feel most connected to all things.   It, simply, is what works for me.

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Many years ago, when I was a wide-eyed teenager, my mother took me to a small city called Speyer, in what was then West Germany, for a papal mass by John Paul II.  Over twenty years later, and despite the fact that I am and always have been a non-Catholic, I can say that it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.   The new pope Francis I seems like a loving and humble man, just like John Paul II.  I feel in my heart that he will do great things.  Make the world better.

With peace in my heart I wish him love and strength as he starts this part of his journey.

Make it a blessed and beautiful day, everyone.

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