Sunday, June 10, 2012

'Glory of the Olive' 2: Sunday 24 April 2005

I don't know how I found the radio station, its name or its provenance, but as I searched the air waves suddenly it was there, broadcasting from St Peter's Square direct into my little Pimlico living room. It was a bright and beautiful spring day. The new Pope was about to begin his homily. I turned up the sound and opened the window. Outside was Sunday quiet, as if the whole of central London was preparing to listen to him. I could not believe my good fortune.  It may have been Vatican Radio English Service because there was a simultaneous English translation.. I was riveted and stood in the middle of the empty room throughout. (Colin was in France.)

The homily certainly answered my question about what kind of Pope we now had. As you remember he said that he was not going to present a programme of governance and preferred to meditate at this point on the significance of two of the symbols with which he would shortly be invested: the pallium and the fisherman's ring. How effective this was. As he spoke the sensation grew and grew that here was a Pope who was full of the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit. They were all there in his actual words and in his mien, and they have been proved to be present in him during all the seven years since then. Particularly in the way he has reacted in moments of difficulty, the present one being the latest case in point.. But on that April morning  I knew with no shadow of doubt that this was exactly how it would be. Here was my shepherd. My trust in him was forged that day and will not be broken.

That God had sent us such a man as Pope to succeed John Paul II was incredible,.given our manifest lack of merit,.validated and strengthened my faith. I rejoiced in thanksgiving. There was nothing I could do about the tears of profound relief that welled up from the depths of my half century's experience as a catholic Christian. Ever since that day I have always matched what he has done and said against those lists of Gifts and Fruits.. Everytime,  the essence of Pope Benedict defeats the arrogant individualism of the dissenters.

I invite you to check the lists and see for yourself, if indeed you are not already convinced.

May the Lord have mercy on us and not take Pope Benedict from us just yet.And may He bless His holy  servant with a quiet, restorative night.


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