Eugene went to St Peter’s basilica to attend the beatification ceremony of a Capuchin – expressing his admiration for a fellow mission preacher. At the end of the ceremony he saw Pope Leo XII for the first time.

I must go to bed for it is midnight. But I must tell you that I missed the post this morning for I had not written much of this letter before I had to leave for Saint Peter’s where I wished to attend the beatification of the blessed Angelo d’Acri, Capuchin missionary. Here is another of these missionaries beatified; they all have the same method and in ten or twelve days put on a mission for you with all that belongs or goes with it. That gives us courage and hope.
I had been assured that the Pope would come down to pray before the newly Blessed and indeed that is what happened. So I had the consolation of being present for the inaugural ceremony for this saint, to whom I commended myself strongly, placing all of you under his protection, as well as the happiness of seeing and contemplating at leisure the Head of the Church. I cannot describe to you the impression made on my soul by the Vicar of Jesus Christ. I looked at him, it is true, with eyes of a lively faith; so I experienced feelings that were certainly not shared by most of the people close to me who only looked out of curiosity. He prayed with great fervor and I quietly united myself to him.

Letter to Henri Tempier, 18 December 1825, EO VI n 212

In his personal Diary he confided his thoughts:

I was able to leisurely savor the Holy Pontiff who prayed with angelic fervor at his kneeler. I united my prayers to his…
I glanced at the whole audience. I saw many who were looking with curiosity and even with interest; but did not recognize any others who shared the sentiments of profound veneration, mixed with kindly affection, which filled my soul. Such is the result of a faith-filled habit of regarding the Pope.

Roman Diary, 18 December 1825, EO XVII


“The new pope knows that his task is to make the light of Christ shine before men and women of world – not his own light, but that of Christ.”   Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    There is in this mornings reflection incredible faith. Last year when a personal pilgrimage took me to Rome it was suggested to me that I go down to St. Peter’s Square on Sunday to listen to the Pope speak and to receive his blessing. My thoughts when the suggestion was made ran along the lines of “I don’t think so”, but come Sunday morning I found myself standing in the rain that fell on St. Peter’s Square looking up, waiting to see the light from the window of the Pope’s office, waiting for that window to open, waiting to hear the voice of a man who I was not particularly fond of speak. And I stayed there until the very end watching, listening to and praying with the Pope and the other people who filled the square. I could not at that time have told you why I was there or why I was glad that I stayed, but the words obedience and faith come to mind now. I had to let go of my hurts and my struggles, let go of my very self somehow and truly listen and pray with this man that was not on my short-list of people to emulate. But he was the Pope and God had to be there somewhere in the middle of all of that. There was in the experience a certain amount of powerlessness, an experienced poverty in my being there but even that was okay.

    The words obedience of faith come to me and I must look them up because I do not understand where it is coming from. I am surprised to find the definition in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It reads; “To obey (from the Latin ob-audire, to “hear or listen to”) in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. Abraham is the model of such obedience offered us by Sacred Scripture. The Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment.” I want to say ‘holy crap’, maybe I am on the right track for they talk about Abraham as the model and our Lady as the perfect embodiment. And there is Eugene who in his own words shared “…I united my prayers to his…”[the Pope] and “others who shared the sentiments of profound veneration, mixed with kindly affection … Such is the result of a faith-filled habit of regarding the Pope.” There is in all of this for me a great mystery, that must simply be accepted as such. There is in all of this great love. Eugene I think was looking at the Pope with eyes of lively faith, with eyes of love, a love that transcends our small hearts and becomes one with the heart of God.

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