At about this time 8 years ago I was at just about this point: the last weeks of pregnancy, and awaiting a new papa with the rest of the world. This time the pope will be announced a little earlier, and the baby a wee bit later.
All the same, I do have a small, happy sense of déjà vu. It's one of anticipation, some small anxiety, but mostly excitement and trust. Tomorrow the conclave begins; I feel that Mother Church is gestating a new alter Christus, and I can't wait to meet him.
I can't get these words out of my head:
Even now the tears well up when I watch this. I don't think it's just the pregnancy hormones. It's just those words: "Habemus papam!"
I didn't have a horse in the last race, so to speak, but I was familiar enough with Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to be thrilled when he was elected. I am, maybe, even less certain about the chances of the various papabiles this time around, even though I know more names. But whomever the cardinals choose this time, I am confident I will love him.
Come, Holy Spirit,
Fill the hearts of your faithful,
And kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
And you will renew the face of the earth.
Lord, you are our eternal shepherd and guide.
In your mercy grant your Church
a shepherd who will walk in your ways
and whose watchful care will bring us your blessing.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
(Our parish offered this prayer or a similar one for the faithful to pray every day until the new pope's election, but I lost it. I found this one at St James Cathedral's website.)