It’s kind of funny because I think I have met more people in Rome from the United States than when I was on the other side of the ocean.
When I meet someone in St. Peter’s Square, we have so much in common. We’re pilgrims on a journey. We speak the same language of faith. Often we’ll come to the table of the Eucharist and give thanks together. We belong to the same family, the Body of Christ, the Church.
As Christians, how often we experience this in our parishes at home, in the Christian charity of a neighbor, or simply the hospitality of others all around the globe! We, priests, participate in this family, and Christ has called us to be the fathers and older brothers. Not only do we participate in this community of love, but in some ways we are called to provide for, to protect, to fight for the Church, “just as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed himself for her” (Eph 5:25).
In the Square, the keyhole shape also reminds us of Peter and his keys to bind and loose. He was Christ’s Vicar and continues to be present in the Church through his successors. Even as we walk in we are led forward by the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove who in turn illuminates a gigantic bronze chair, which represents the pope’s governing, teaching and sanctifying power. He is the one to lead us on our journey within the family of the Church through time towards our eternal destination.
All of this symbolism can be very beautiful but it has a very real and concrete dimension. One thing that I have learned in very practical ways within Regnum Christi and the Legion is how to love and follow the pope no matter what. We are constantly reading the addresses of the pope, keeping up-to-date on his travels and activities, praying for him and his intentions, and countless other small details. There can even be, and have been, times when he or his representatives give indications that we don’t fully understand, but we know when we are with him, we are with Christ. The past couple of years have been a little like a roller coaster, but with the pope in the lead, we cannot go astray.
Today we’ll see the pope in the audience. We will listen to Christ’s Vicar and gather with thousands of other Catholics around the successor of Peter. We are all in the boat of the Church with a sure hand at the helm. Let’s experience this reality.
Sometimes it can seem very far away and distant, but in Rome we live on a physical level what is the spiritual reality of our lives – we’re part of a family that includes brothers and sisters all over the world. We support each other in prayer and charity and are called to follow and support our Holy Father as he guides the Bark of Peter to safe harbor.