Cantare amantis estBy Deacon Joshua Allen
I stood behind the altar, hands pressed together, glaring into the lights, seeing the faces of many of the fifteen thousand people gathered together to welcome the eruption of joy into the world that is the advent of the Christ. I waited. The servers rounded the massive altar, built over the tomb of St. Peter himself. From the other side of the altar, where the Vicar of Christ sat, smoke began to rise to heaven.
Then it was time. I rounded the altar, the place where centuries of Popes have celebrated the sacred mysteries. And then I was in front of the Holy Father himself. He was attentive, looking me in the eyes. His tired; mine nervous. I bowed, Iube, domne, benedicere — Father, give the blessing. He closed his eyes, bowed his head, and spoke words I did not hear. I saw his hand make the sign of the blessing, and I crossed myself. The Holy Father had just given a blessing intended only for me, that I might be a worthy herald of the Gospel.
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