Here I am getting ready for our next trip! We head out to CA early tomorrow morning: 4:40 am to be exact. Even as I think of that hour, I groan. I just came down with a cold too, so perhaps my groan is more like a wheeze. Still, the point is the same: anything before 7:30 am is too early. And besides I could be going to see the Pope. Ah yes. The Pope! Pope Benedict is in America! That is a whole ocean closer than he has been to us since he become pope! We have the Pope!
The last time I heard that phrase, I was in St Peter's Square. In 2005, I stood in the piazza gaping at the white smoke rising and curling from the tiny smokestack above the Sistine Chapel, unable to grasp the fact that white smoke = new pope. That smoke signalled the election of the pope who was to replace the familiar John Paul II, the pope we all grew up with. I pushed and jostled my way to the front of the crowd as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was introduced to the crowd below as Benedict the sixteenth. The utter silence exploded into shouts and huzzahs of joy! Habemus Papam!
And yet I will not be there in NY this weekend. Instead I will be flying to beautiful California, landing at the Sacramento airport, on our way to Angel's Camp. There we will be doing much the same as the pope, though on a smaller scale. We will have 25 kids, while he will fill Yankee stadium (capacity 45,000, nevermind the seats being set up on the field) on Sunday. Yet we and the Pope share a common goal of being willing participants in the army of Christ. We all have that mission. Through our Confirmations we are made soldiers for Christ, with the responsibility of making His fight our own. We must learn more about Him whom we fight for. We must witness to the power of His words. We must be shining examples for all to see, even as Pope Benedict is surrounded by thousands of cheering faces. Pope Benedict comes to tell us of Christ our hoe. We must remember that. Christ is our hope in this dark spiritual battle. Even as we fight for Him, we know He is fighting for us, that He is dying for us every day in the mass as Calvary is reenacted.
Pope Benedict comes to America as the representative of Christ. He is the Head of the Church, our leader and general in the spiritual battle for souls. Christ told Simon "You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Peter means "rock" and through the apostolic succession, we are assured that Christ has never left us alone. The Authority of the Church, given to Peter when Jesus gave him the keys to Heaven and earth, has been passed down in an unbroken line to this very Pope Benedict! Amazing! Keep an eye on this weekends activities... and read some of the speeches and talks he gives online if you cannot watch any of the events live. EWTN has had steady coverage on the visit and major news channels will also have some coverage of the major events. For the Pope's itinerary check out: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,350448,00.html?sPage=fnc/world/papalvisit