A few years ago my friend and I were standing in front of St. Peter's Square in Rome. It was late -- almost midnight -- and no one was around.
No one, except for the Pope.
You see, if you're facing St. Peter's Basilica and look up and to the right, you can see the windows of the Papal Apartments. And that night a light was on.
It was a surreal moment. A place which can be filled with hurricane frenzy -- bustling crowds, long lines, tour guides yelling follow me! -- now felt like the eye of a hurricane in which all noise and chaos are suddenly gone and there is that moment, however brief, of blessed stillness. It's a moment which illuminates the fundamental truth that we are not alone; that sometimes we simply need to ignore everything else to focus on that light and know there is a God in heaven, there is peace in the world, there is hope ... and that there is a Pope behind that window.
Today, as the world watches one Pope leave and prepares for another to be elected, as cardinals gather from all over the world, as centuries of Catholic tradition are displayed, celebrated, scrutinized, criticized and questioned, I think back on that night.
And go to the quiet of that light in the window.
|Look up and to the right ... the light in the window.|