A lone small figure stands, spotlighted in the utter emptiness of the majestic cathedral which once teemed with behatted lades, and gentlemen, all in Easter finery. Ladies in veils or charmingly flowered and veiled Easter hats. Men in perfectly creased suits and a tie, with hats in their hands. Little children gazed in wonder at the golden tabernacle where Jesus lived. Little babies cried.
That time is gone.
The time is now today.
The camera moves back to the center front and stops for a moment on the massive statue of the first Pope, St. Peter, with upholded teaching finger and the other hand holding the Bible … all stone grey and glistening like polished marble.
The camera moves back and rests its lens on the pure white cap on the head of he who it is said holds the keys of the kingdom today. His hair, once black, is crisply cut with spokes of grey coming.
There is no fluttering of the snowy white elbow length cape. It hangs silently in perfect folds. Like the silence of the rocks making up the cathedral … sounds of silence that echo in the emptiness.
He stands close to the bones of St. Peter, at a podium. It is where he, a short time ago, offered the Holy Unbloody Sacrifice of the Mass close to a bowl of mother earth. The words … ‘Thou shalt not have false gods before Me … float through my head and a feeling of fright comes over me.
The white microphones are twisted toward his mouth by a priest. A wide stole, threaded with gold, depicting pontifical and ecclesiastical images is placed across his shoulders by the master of ceremonies priest. He faces the non existent audience. He glances up, with eyes that appear to be surveying the matter of business at hand. Then he shuffles the papers before him and lifts up his hands and faces the virtual people.
The words of the papal blessing of the city and the world are sent forth to the ends of the earth. Urbi et Orbi. I do not hear them, for I do not hear. I make the Sign of the Cross. There is a tear about to fall.
Not a soul is there. The emptiness is a sound itself that shatters the sound barrier and reaches to heaven. The souls who once were there are as scattered sheep … separated … confused by the strike to the shepherd.
They are home. They are masked. They are hungry for words. Some are sick and some are dying. Some are dying devoid of the priestly words. Some priests are heartsick, unable to leap over the boundary placed around them …chained … the vigor of youthful priesthood a fading memory because of abuse by power. Their tears fall within … where the memories are … in their souls … where the power of memory is located.
I have just received the Urbi et Orbi blessing by television. The camera slowly drifts away from the figure in white. It finds a round stained glass window radiant with sunlight streaming through. It is so beautiful. A white dove in the center is sending rays of sun colored with amethyst, gold, and jasper. His wings are outspread as though in blessing.
It reminds me of the Holy Spirit. The camera lingers on the little dove and it seems to be singing… Cast your eyes on what is above in the heavens … and the word jewels from the mouth of your Christ … who left them behind for you written in a book … after he endured unspeakable torture and death on a rough Cross.
Then He rose from the dead! Then He promised us that we would do the same if we lived by His way. “I am the way, the truth, and, the life”
I return to earth from my musings and see that the camera is following the little man in white… accompanied by a small cadre of black and white vested men. No usual applause and outreaching for a touch from this man who wears the papal attire. Nothing. I think … pray for him.
God is in control. He can do anything.
He can convert the man in white just like He converted St. Paul.