|St Peter's Square, The Vatican, Rome. Image via pinterest|
I believe the social etiquette is not to discuss 'Religion or Politics" publicly, but I just can't let this historical moment pass without some commentary. I must tell you at this point that I am not Catholic. I have only ever stepped into a Catholic Church for a handful of Weddings, Christenings and Funerals, but find myself bizarrely fascinated by the historical ritual and ceremonies of the religion and in particular the Vatican.
|The Conclave begins at the Sistine Chapel. Image via mundabor.files|
As I watched the second conclave of the 21st century get underway and the announcement of the New Pope, I am captivated by how much of the worlds attention the process has held. With the utmost respect for the historical and momentous importance of this process, I wonder if it is my interest in history and ceremonies of old which captures my attention so greatly.
|The Sistine Chapel. Image via Pinterest|
Mr P and I visited the Vatican a few years ago and I will never ever forget the effect it had on me. I can honestly say I have never ever in my entire life seen such absolute decadence with my own eyes. As we were lead through the hallways by our guide we passed AMAZING works of art jammed onto every spare inch of wall and noticed how they were all hung in frames of brilliant gold. Apparently, that which was on display was only a tip of the ice burg as to what was actually stored in vaults below! Standing in the Sistine Chapel took every ounce of my breath away. I felt so minuscule and insignificant in the presence of such historical beauty. The desired out come of the Vatican achieved there I would say. As we stood in the main Basilica near Bernini's Baldacchino (the 95ft canopy the Pope stands under when he gives mass) the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I definitely 'had a moment'.
|The main Basilica and Bernini's Baldacchino. Image via saintpetersbasilica.org|
Visiting the Vatican and standing in St Peters Square was a very personal spiritual experience for me, but not one that I felt compelled to convert to Catholicism over. It was the same feeling I experienced when I was lucky enough to be in the presence of the Dali Lama, also, not unlike what I felt the first time I held my children in my arms when they were born and is the same sensation I have when I feel in complete balance and full of clarity; which is generally when I'm amongst nature or near the ocean. The feeling is pure natural energy generated by a sense of being at one with myself and the knowledge that there is something 'bigger' out there. I suppose this is what some might call divine energy and guess it is what the thousands of people standing in St Peters Square felt when Pope Frances addressed them for the first time.
For now I wonder what Pope Frances' legacy will be to his faith, his followers and indeed the world as he leaves his imprint on our history; which is what he has been ordained to inevitably do.