Happy snow day for those in the Mid-Atlantic! I hope you are enjoying your day off whether that consists of sipping on some hot chocolate, having a tv show marathon, sitting by the fire, trying new recipes to bake, or doing work at home…like me. (Well, not now. It’s break time. ;-) Whatever you’re doing, enjoy it!
A few days ago I’ve received tweets from the Capital Weather Gang about the impending snow storm, and also this morning, tweets from locals about where the snow is accumulating (accompanied with pictures of their yards blanketed with snow) as well as which roads and highways have been layered with salt. These are all reasonably good updates that contribute to our safety. And then you have school and work closings. There’s always an element of excitement when finding out about whether or not you have a day free from work. When I was still at St. Columba, I always woke up extra early to watch the news. This morning, I basically did the same. It’s good to be updated. With this storm, you stay updated so you don’t risk driving out there, or even so you don’t show up at your office with no one there, feeling like a dummy. (No, that didn’t happen to me this time.)
Over an hour ago, I just got finished praying with the Cardinal-electors in St. Peter’s Basilica, as well as with people at home or at their workplaces all throughout the world. This is because the Vatican called the Universal Church to prayer at 7 pm Rome time today, 11am EST. I was glad to have been updated on Facebook about this prayer service because for days I was wondering when we would hear some updates. It’s natural for me to grow impatient, you all probably already know because of my posts from years back, so even with the anticipation of the official opening of the Conclave, I’ve thought one time or another: “So, what’s going on now? We need a Pope! We’re still Popeless!” Is it just me or do any of you feel the same way?
Easily, the best part of my morning was having the chance to pray and reflect on the Glorious Mysteries of the Holy Rosary followed by Solemn Vespers and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I must’ve chuckled sometime towards the end because I again thought of my impatience for updates…”have they set a date for the opening of the Conclave?” (Also, let me just make it clear that I’m not panicking, haha. I’m just speaking in the perspective of a concerned sheep without an earthly Shepherd to guide me and the flock I’m a part of.) Thankfully through these latest updates, I’ve learned that the real work of the Conclave is actually happening right now in this pre-Conclave period. And it’s because of the media’s missing presence that I haven’t been aware of that. I have learned, through a book I’ve been reading these last few weeks by John L. Allen, Jr. and through Raymond Arroyo during EWTN’s coverage of the prayer service earlier, that the voting (while not official) has in fact already begun during meal times and within conversations amongst our Cardinal-electors in discreet locations. The Cardinals present are already speaking freely, without the media trying to get a listen or look in, about various candidates and getting a sense of what others are thinking. These exclusive meetings are shaping the cardinals’ attitudes toward the official election when the Conclave will be opened. All of this is new to me and so interesting! While they are of course prioritizing their prayer time, just like what we’ve done as a Church shortly ago, the actions that occur behind closed doors are already determining who the Successor of Peter will be. That, we don’t know. So like the Cardinals have asked, let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide these discussions and the discernments that are now taking place each day, whether we have updates on them or not. It’s important that we not only look in to what these men are doing, but praying with them. One of them will be Pope, our earthly Shepherd.
Come, Holy Spirit!
Stay warm, folks.