As a disclaimer, I am not Catholic. But I do have a very strong respect for traditions, ceremonies, and “ways things are supposed to be done.” And as I point out to you that the title of this post is what the Vatican tweeted after Pope Francis was announced, I immediately digress.
I’ll stay on the same general theme, though.
I was at school yesterday when I hear about the fumata bianca rising from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel. I was able to make my way toward an available computer to watch the video feed on CNN. True, I could watch one of the numerous replays later in the day. But there is nothing quiet as meaningful and moving as watching something so important as it’s happening. True, it’s not a once in a lifetime event, but it is a 5 in a lifetime event and that’s pretty rare. I can only imagine the excitement everyone in Rome felt yesterday, but I can’t imagine how fortunate I would feel if I happened to be visiting Rome on a day like this. I wonder if an experience like this is necessarily more exciting for a visitor than a local. Something to think about. I really don’t know.
And that leads me to crying – how you ask?
In the past, I have tried to explain what makes me cry. Emotional pain makes me cry but physical pain usually does not. Beyond that, though, there is something else which always makes me cry, and I can’t clarify it succinctly.
Being part of (or watching on tv) an important event makes my eyes teary. Something about tradition, something about someone’s importance being realized, something about someone succeeding or being honored that makes me cry. My eyes suddenly got teary yesterday at the particular moment when I saw white smoke, and again at the long moment when the new Pope was standing there on the balcony for the first time, being cheered. These moments were not important to me (in the religious sense) but I was touched while watching something that was important to others.
I also cry when someone is being recognized (as in an award ceremony) for something they have poured their heart and soul into. The best I can figure is that I am emotionally attached to the idea of recognition. But I would like someone to help me put it into words.
Getting back to the Pope, formerly Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio- If you have never been to Italy, make it happen! And when you do, get yourself to the Vatican City. And when you do make sure you go into St. Peter’s Basilica – even if you aren’t Catholic. No one can possibly comprehend how large the interior is until it is experienced in person.
I’ll leave you with some photos of December 31, 2011 (some I have posted before – others not). One of the most incredible experiences of this non-Catholic’s life.