Saturday, March 16, 2013


BIS Mumbai                                  




By Fr. Bento D'Souza sdb


BHINGAR-AHMEDNAGAR, MARCH 16, 2013: "Life is like a game of tennis. The player who serves well, seldom loses."


Let me tell you a story and like all good stories, it begins with, "Once upon a time' there was a chimney. It was situated in the corner, on top of the most famous chapel by the side of St Peter's Basilica in Rome.


Every tourist in the world came to  admire the beauty of the Basilica but no one even noticed this old, ugly and black chimney, so the chimney felt  itself lonely, forgotten, useless and of no value to itself or any other.


Come sunshine or rain, in summer and winter, the chimney meditated on its value and worth in the world and gave into depression and loneliness, until one day…. something historic happened…


The chimney found the fire brigade men climb the roof and clean it, check it, repair it and paint it then the chimney  knew that there was going to begin an important meeting in the Sistine chapel containing  frescos painted by Michelangelo five hundred years ago, over which it was located. To its astonishment the BBC News crew placed a camera in front of it, as an important vote was to take place. This became known as the Chimney camera.


The 1.2 billion Catholics in the planet were to elect their new leader for the second time in history as the aging Pope Benedict XVI had resigned from his position and place due to his failing health, to let a younger Bishop lead in the interest of the common good of the Church. The one hundred and fifteen cardinals of the world would assemble to pray, meditate and chose a worthy successor to St. Peter, the first Pope here below the chimney.


On the midnight of March 12, the square in front of the basilica was filled with tourists and devotees praying in the rain for a new Pope and all they did was, look at the chimney. There was excitement in their hearts as all wondered who the new shepherd of the Catholic church would be? Would he be from Europe as had happened many times in the past, from Africa, Asia or Australia? No one could guess and those who would guess would be wrong. They came with umbrellas and raincoats to look, to watch, to keep vigil and look at the smoke that emanated from the chimney that announced the arrival of the new leader of the Church.


Would it be black to show that the voting was inclusive or white to show that the Pope was elected and chosen to administer the faith of the church's faithful people?  Early on the night of March 12, a sea gull flew to the chimney walked around the chimney and finally stood on the chimney wondering what was happening beneath its ceiling and that is the time the chimney knew something historical and momentous was happening in the Sistine chapel.


Fr. Rosica told BBC that it was the Holy Spirit. The final voting for the Pope was taking place.  Previously only black smoke blew out of the chimney's top and the people were discouraged as they all expected white smoke to blow out. Late in the night, the chimney noticed that it had a purpose and there was meaning in it's life as all eyes and cameras were focused on it.


A few minutes later a gust of white smoke emerged and the crowds in St Peter's square were jubilant with wonder and amazement. The results had been decided and a new Pope was voted in.


Every TV screen in the world had the image of the colourfully painted chimney bellowing white luscious smoke marking the arrival of the new leader of the Catholic Church Jorge Mario Bergoglio, called Pope Francis, the Cardinal of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Latin America.


The Chimney was no longer a forgotten chimney. It was 'the hand of God' announcing the message and communicating the good news of Hope and Salvation to the world of a new pastor, shepherd and leader. No longer did the chimney feel forgotten, alienated and useless but stood stoically in the corner of the St Peters Square to await the reign of the new Pope as "a compass to the people of the world."


And the chimney, dear children, lived in happiness ever after, proud of its own role and certain of its own worth in human life, as a very special chimney. The chimney was evangelized by its new self-esteem and understanding of it-self. It was now an ambassador of Good News, a messenger to the world of the new transformation that was to take place in the world.






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