Habemus Papam!

An Essay By Gary // 5/24/2005

We looked on, the lot of us, at the balcony. Hope ran through us as we waited for Peter’s successor. Whom had Our Lord chosen through the cardinals? Would he be like John Paul, his holy predecessor? We had been busy with our monthly book report club, when the house we were at received a phone call, it was my mom! White smoke was being issued out of the chimney! Habemus Papam! We had a Pope!

During the previous days I had learned so much about John Paul II. As the Holy Pontiff passed from this world to the next, people of every walk of life turned their eyes toward this little Polish man, a man who had for so long helped Christ in carrying the weight of the world. He was a Pope whose pontificate had proclaimed Christ’s mission, who battled against evil, and held onto the Way, the Truth, and the Life. A man whose family had died, whose country was ransacked, whose religion and God had been hated. A poet, a Priest, a Knight of Christ… the Pope.

As we all waited for the new Vicar of Christ to step out onto the balcony, we talked. Who did we want? Who was it? Where was he from? Questions racing through the minds of many people. The Cardinal stepped out to announce the new Pontiff. We, parents and children of our homeschool group, waited in anticipation. Eyes fixed on the television, we waited for the news. We were such a family, the homeschoolers in that room, our Dioceses, the Catholics of our country, and the Catholics of the world.

I was at a wedding when I received the news of John Paul the Great’s passing. It was a sad time for the Church; such a wonderful leader had left us! A leader of prayer, of holiness. A leader who kept Christ’s Church, as a shepherd, and who tended to individual souls. A leader who wrote grand encyclicals and who heard personal confessions. A leader who received the Eucharist, which he knew was truly Jesus Christ, and who ministered to Christ in his people. A warrior against the devil and his snares. Yet, with all the sorrow, joy was also kindled. At last, this man, who had suffered for his flock for so long, would meet the flock’s Master face to Face. He was headed for Heaven!

Joseph Ratzinger! Benedict XVI! Our Lord had chosen! As the new shepherd stepped out onto the balcony, we watched along with the Church and the world, along with Christ. The room was full of emotion! A mother began to cry tears of joy, “I wanted him so badly, I couldn’t say!”. We all had our desires, but now Christ’s desire was at the forefront. The Lord of Heaven and earth had chosen an old German man to be His General against evil! Benedict’s smile and wave reverberated throughout the world! Joy! He was so happy! Christ had chosen him! His humble words rang like thunder, the words of the new Pope!

Peter and John Paul may very well have been peering down to earth, clapping as The Lord’s work was made present. Cheering as their successor stepped up to bat.

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