It has been interesting to hear about Pope Benedict’s response to his visit to the UK. I suppose I was so tied up in my own feelings and emotions that it never occurred to me that the Holy Father would have been affected by meeting us. I suppose I had assumed that he would take the whole trip in his stride, and would be soon back to business as usual back at his home in the Vatican. And yet he spoke very movingly yesterday of how his visit to the UK had affected him.
This apostolic trip confirmed my profound conviction that the old nations of Europe possess a Christian soul which merges with the genius and history of the respective peoples and the Church never ceases to work to keep this spiritual and cultural tradition alive.
I like the fact that he talks of us ‘never ceasing to work’ because this ties in with my previous post about needing to build on the blessings we have received from this visit. We cannot afford merely to lie back and bask in the afterglow.
The Pope went on to say
And in the four intense and very beautiful days spent in that noble land, I had the great joy of speaking to the heart of the inhabitants of the United Kingdom, and they spoke to mine, especially with their presence and the testimony of their faith.
Heart speaks unto heart!
I took so many photographs of the banners in Hyde Park that I am still sorting through them all. I put a few of my pictures onto Picasa and emailed them to some of my friends. One lady replied to thank me and commented that the one she liked best was the poster saying ‘We love you more than Beans on Toast’. This image has become quite famous, as the girl who made the photo, Niamh Moloney with the Papal wellies, was interviewed by Sky TV. I am sure Niamh never imagined those wellies would take her quite so far. It just goes to show that we never know what effect our actions might have on others, or how far their influence will stretch.
Finally I had an email from the More Than Dance group, who I had contacted about the song they danced to in Hyde Park. It turned out to be a track called Hail Mary from an album entitled The Promise by Jo Boyce and Mike Stanley. I should have guessed it would be one of theirs as it combined beautiful music with palpable spirituality, the ideal combination for the occasion. My prayer now is that we can make this ‘More Than’ just a few days of excitement and joy, that we can continue to work to bring God’s love to the heart of our world.