After many false starts, the doors finally opened to reveal the Pope. He came down the steps toward his car and, then, headed toward the barricades on the lawn. I was standing close, but as he approached, I lost sight of him. He had to walk between two large shrubs and he is not a tall man.
The shrubs were a type of evergreen, trimmed round, fresh spring green. My eyes fell to the bottom of the bush. I do not recall focusing on the noise. All seemed quiet and time seemed to stop. I felt like a child playing in my neighborhood; looking beneath the shrubs, as I often had. What was I looking for in particular back in my childhood? Nothing in particular, looking beneath the shrubs was an exercise in pure desire, an exercise in hope.
Then, in a moment, I was recalled to the present. Amidst the spring green shrub I made a find, rather something emerged. I saw bright red. It had always been exciting to spy a red bird in the garden, so bright. The shoes! The images deluged my mind: fire from a bush, the shoes of the fisherman, the bloodied feet of Christ, St. Peter’s bloodied feet. The Holy Father had greeted Catholic educators yesterday evening with Isaiah’s words quoted by St. Paul: “How beautiful are the footsteps of those who bring good news” (Rom 10:15-17). The Holy Father brings Good News, Christ is our Hope! This morning we found abundant joy in Christ with each other. May the words of Psalm 65 be a prayer answered as the Holy Father travels to New York:
You crown the year with your goodness.Abundance flows in your steps,In the pastures of the wilderness it flows.
Isn't that great? It's been a couple of weeks now since the Pope's visit and I am saddened by the fact that I've gotten used to his absence nearly as quickly as I got used to his presence. Even being all the way across the country, we were so connected to every move that he made. I have never had EWTN on so much in my life! It was such a great feeling to come into the room and say to Tim, "what's the Pope up to?" and actually get an answer. (Not that this is a frequent conversation that we have...)
I think we got to see a side of this Pope that we would not have witnessed otherwise. When he was elected, so many people were afraid of this stodgy theologian who was going to completely take over and take away all our freedoms as Catholics! When he was in charge of the CDF, he was the enforcer. The "Grand Inquisitor." How in the world could this "rottweiler" fill the shoes of the dynamic, loving actor-Pope who had endeared himself, in many ways, to the entire world for almost 30 years? What I don't think is that people really gave any credit to the first-hand stories of those who shared endearing accounts of chatting with Cardinal Ratzinger as he would walk through Saint Peter's Square, of those who had listened to him play the piano so beautifully, of those who knew the man rather than simply the name.
His visit to America gave us all the opportunity to meet the man. And what a spry little man he is! Though I have followed his pontificate, and even seen him in person, I'm still so used to associating the "Pope" with the bent and tired (yet still completely with-it and amazing) JPII. While this little Pope - he measures in at a mere 5'7" - is so close in age to his predecessor, he seems to stand taller and stronger than many of my own peers! When he was introduced he would hop out of his seat to greet the crowd and get on with his speech. He'd reach out those little arms and wave his piano fingers at the crowd. He'd SMILE. What a beautiful, joyful presence he portrayed to our country and, by extension, to the world. We are blessed to have him.
All that, AND he wears RED shoes!! I guess the proof is in the Prada.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Shoes of the Fisherman
I came across this post on Amy Welborn the other day...