Surrounded by family and cats, I watched an 83 year old Pope Francis lift the Monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament and bless a dark, damp, and desolate St. Peter’s square. Three times, he lifted that heavy, shining vessel, raising it in the name of the Father, lowering it in the name of the Son, and sweeping from left to right in the name of the Holy Spirit. Three times, the holy trinity of blessings, he blessed the world as they watched from home.
I’m a goosebump believer in signs. Throughout my life, personal stories of God’s grace have left my body knowing what my mind is still struggling to comprehend, that God is present. Still a skeptic even after years of witnessing small miracles happen, I’ve begun to think that God sends me goosebumps to remind me that he’s always waiting right by my side, even when I wonder how these stories of God’s grace are true.
That day, sitting cross legged on my carpet, looking up at Jesus, the goosebumps came. Six thousand miles away, at that exact moment, Pope Francis lifted Jesus and blessed me and I could feel it reverberate through my skin. Our bodies know.
The world is desperate for a leader right now. We need somebody willing to speak the truth and then guide us towards hope. Somebody unafraid to suffer with us and acknowledge our pain, and then in the next breath, remind us how valuable we are to one another and that there is hope. Pope Francis is that leader right now and I’m so grateful for his love and care for each and every one of us.
Before the blessing, he shared these words with us:
“For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost. Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other. On this boat… are all of us. Just like those disciples, who spoke anxiously with one voice, saying “We are perishing” (Mark 4:38), so we too have realized that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we do this.”
Please take the time to read his entire address. It will give you hope. I promise.
The Church surrounds itself with beautiful things because beauty leads us towards hope. Art reminds us that life matters. Poetry speaks volumes to the beauty and strife of life in just a few short words. Paintings guide our eyes towards a glimmer of hope with a trick of the light.
Art allows us to change our perspective and see things anew. It finds beauty where none could be found.
We are sitting in our boats right now surrounded by raging storms. All seems bleak, but there is always hope. Find the beauty in life each day and share it with those you love. We will get through this, but only together, and only if we keep seeing the beauty amongst the pain.