Our eyes this day will turn towards a chimney erected atop one of the most famous chapels in the world. Inside under the glorious frescos of Michelangelo and looking up at "The Last Judgment," the College of Cardinals will begin their most solemn duty to elect the next Roman Pontiff. What you will see today is prayer, prayer, and more prayer. And once the "extra omnes" is uttered for all except the cardinals to retire and the conclave (literally translated "with key") officially begins, these men from all parts of the world, sinners just like you and me, will begin to cast their votes. As they do so, they will say the following prayer: "I call as my witness Christ the Lord who will be my judge, that my vote is given to the one who before God I think should be elected." They are fully aware of the gravity of their task and rely on our prayers to elect the one chosen by God.
I posted this 5-minute video last week and don't know how many people actually saw it, but it shows what goes on inside the conclave as told by cardinals who have gone through this process before and share their unique experience. It is a truly moving video made by Catholic News Services that should remind us that this is not just about tradition and ritual, that this is about discerning the will of God. May the Holy Spirit guide the College of Cardinals today, and may he prepare the heart of the man who will soon be chosen to walk in the Shoes of the Fisherman.
Inside the Conclave: