As of one minute after midnight Thursday February 28th, the first minute of Friday, March 1st, 2013, the Church became Sede Vacante—there is a vacancy in the Holy See, the “Chair of Peter” is vacated and in expectation of a Successor. Let us PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! First of all, for Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger), for his health and for his intentions before God—which only God fully knows! Then let us pray for the College of Cardinals—for their safety in travel and that they will surrender their minds and hearts to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We must also pray for The Universal Church, the People of God, that all of us—humble before God—would be as Mary at the Annunciation praying Fiat Voluntas Tua, “May it be done to us according to your Word!” When Mary and Joseph were “processing” what was happening in their lives, there were threats, accusations, and all manner of anxiety and worry all around them and in them—until they realized that surrender to God’s will was necessary and that in that surrender would be found—FREEDOM!
Just to share with you a little, I have found myself of late imagining myself in St. Peter’s square looking up at the balcony just when the grey—then white—smoke appears—and what I would be praying for and what I would think when that man walks out on the balcony. My prayers are all over the map, but in the end, my prayers may be summed up in one word—RECONCILIATION—for all in our Church, in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (Church local) and in the Church throughout the world (Church Universal) that needs healing and reconciling to Jesus, The Way, The Truth, and The Life. I remember the last time I saw “the elected” walk out on the balcony, and I have to confess that I was shocked. I was WAY off. And now as I look back over the past eight years, the operative word is surprise; I would never have guessed what now has actually constituted the pontificate of Benedict XVI. So this time I am much more ready to give it to God and to begin praying immediately for the man who appears on the balcony, that he simply place himself in service to God’s people, so as to reconcile himself and us to Jesus. I pray that he may usher us into Holy Communion with God and with each other, that he may help us all to find ourselves first and foremost having the common denominator of being created in the image and likeness of God—and take it from there! Now, imagine you are there in St. Peter’s Square on that day, at that moment. Where are YOU in heart and mind and soul?