As I hurried my way to the television I made a quick recap of the people I knew were not anywhere near TV or internet and decided to shoot of a few quick texts –“White smoke!” Slipping into a seat I made myself comfortable next to a friend who was also alerting her friends. Shortly later I heard her chuckling to herself. She showed me her phone and her text conversation read as follows:
– White smoke!
– No, we have a Pope.
Needless to say we had a good laugh out of this, but those words came back to me during a time of adoration in thanksgiving for our new Pope. Fire! Yes indeed, where there is smoke there is a fire. Through the eyes of the media the eyes of the world were fixed on a lead pipe with white smoke streaming from it. Even if cameras were allowed in the Sistine Chapel, no existing technology would have been able to capture the scene of the blazing fire that enveloped the chapel and then ‘rested on the head’ of each cardinal elector. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” For those of us who believe we know that the cardinals were not alone in that room.
At the words ‘extra omnes’ (literally outside, all of you) anyone who was not participating in the conclave or caring for the cardinals exited the Sistine Chapel. The doors were closed and interestingly enough ‘extra omnes’ was followed by ‘Veni Creator’. “Everyone out! Come on in, Holy Spirit!” It is the Holy Spirit who has pointed out the Shepherd who would guide the flock in this moment of history. Oh yes¸ the Spirit is moving among us! We are not rejoicing over white smoke. No, we are instead texting, tweeting and testifying… “Fire! There’s a fire in God’s house!”