Oh, Papa!

We live in an exciting era as the people of the world watch to see who the papal conclave will elect as our Holy Father.  For the Catholic Church, it’s kind of like waiting to meet a blind date before an arranged marriage.  We don’t know who to expect, but we wait in eager anticipation.  We trust that those selecting him are listening to the Ultimate Matchmaker (the Holy Spirit) — the One Who knows the soul who will best represent our Bridegroom/Shepherd as Vicar of Christ on earth.

When he’s chosen, we’ll have two living popes — one interceding on our behalf and one to lead and feed us.  How cool is that?

“If he’s short and bald — kind of a Gandhi character with dark skin — I’ve already met him,” I told my husband.

“Oh?” He gave me his this-one’s-gonna-be-a-doozy look.

“Yeah, I dreamt about him.  It was so real.  He stood at the end of our bed.  He looked spent and in need of consolation, so I hugged him and said, ‘Oh, Papa.'”

“You were hugging a guy at the end of our bed?”

“He was our Papa.”

“You and your dreams,” my husband shook his head.  “I thought you dreamt about giant Chex party mix and a cobra.”

“No, that was this morning’s dream. My Pope dream was a long time ago.  Anyway, if he’s short and bald, with dark skin, I met him first — but probably at the end of his pontificate, instead of the beginning.”

“Did it occur to you, the giant Chex party mix this morning might mean you’re hungry?  And, the cobra came into your head when I pinched you to keep you from snoring.  Thank goodness you’re not a Cardinal or you’d be scoping the Sistine Chapel for the short, bald, tired-looking guy with dark skin.”

“I’d at least want to chat with him — or hug him to see if he feels familiar.  What’s wrong with that? Saint Fabian was chosen Pope because a dove landed on his head.”

Regardless of whether our new Pope matches the Papa in my dream, I already have a strong affection and empathy for him.  What a tough job, carrying the Church and the needs of the world on your shoulders.  Historians say that papal elections are the opposite of political elections.  No Cardinal in his right mind is thinking, “Oo! Oo!  Pick me!  Pick me!”

If he is the right candidate, he should sleep well during the conclave, because humility will keep him oblivious to his eternity-altering future. And, after the initial shock, he’ll probably sleep well as Pope, too, because he’ll be open to the grace to come, assuring him that he’s not sherpherding his flock alone.

“Come, Holy Spirit, come!”

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