Well, today is so special for so many reasons, one of which is that I was able to attend His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's papal mass at the new National's Stadium in Washington, D.C. The last I heard, some 46,000 excited Catholics were in attendence, which made for an extremely powerful experience.
The Pope said the Mass of the Holy Spirit in anticipation of Pentecost and consonnant with his trip theme of "Christ Our Hope." His homily was beautiful, but tough to understand at times because of his German accent. Indeed, his Spanish feels far more comfortable than his English. All hispanics in attendenance were thrilled that he addressed them in their native tongue, and so smoothly at that.
His preaching alighted on the theme of interior conversion from the frequent reception of the sacrament of reconcilliation, which produces an effect--holiness--that it both "inspires and accomplishes." It is the fruit of this conversion, joy, hope and love, that becomes leaven to our confused and increasingly secular society that inspires others to take up Gospel message.
The Pope also had frank and sweet, healing words of compassion regarding the grave evil of the sexual abuse scandal in the U.S. In case you missed it, the Pope had a private, unscheduled meeting with some of the victims of sexual abuse at the Apostalic Nunciature in D.C. You can read about this moving event here.
I am gladdened that the Pope has been so forthright and direct in his dealings regarding the scandal. I am presently reminded of his words (then Cardinal Ratzinger) from the 9th Station during the Papal Stations of the Cross on March 24, 2005: "How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him!" To be sure, one reason Pope Benedict has come to America and D.C. is to bring healing and hope the Church for this great evil. It is my feeling, and that of those around me, that his words and example are having their intended effect.
The Pope has many messages and insights for us to be sure on this trip, more definitely than I am able to give justice to here. I just want to say, due to a lack of some time to really update, that I love Pope Benedict. He is the total bomb!
Viva el Papa!