Yesterday at our papal audience, a woman sat begind me who just made my eyes well up with tears every time I turned around to sneak a glance at her. She had to have been at least 80 years old and was sitting at the audience with a man I presume was her husband. I dont know what her name was or where she was from but I can wholeheartedly say that I don't think I will ever forget her. She sat throughout the entire hour with her eyes closed, quietly mumbling the prayers of the rosary she clutched. She may have been in St. Peter's Square a hundred times in her life, I certainly don't know her story. But, given the look that was etched onto her face, this overwhelming sense of peace and contentment, I couldn't help but think that it was her first time she was in the presence of the Holy See, and that this day had been something she had wanted to do her whole life; she reminded me so very much of my own grandma, someone who I have thought a lot about on this trip. This woman was, I think, the detail I will most clearly remember of the day. To me she was an embodiment of how beautiful faith is, whatever or whoever one conceives God to be, and a reminder of how very lucky I am to have had this incredible expereince at such a young age.
The scene in St. Peter's Square was one of the most vibrantly colorful I have ever seen...people of every walk of life, faith, and culture. And yet, there we all were, gathered together, connected somehow to one another. I have so many thoughts I want to share, and again, not enough time! I wish I could bottle up this whole week and share it with all of you, but I know that all in good time, we will all have the opportunities to reflect and share. I have learned so very much and yet there there are still so many lessons to be learned, conversations to be had, experiences to be reflected on, and change to be made. A friend gave me the book "The Alchemist" to read on this trip, and I am so grateful that I have had the book to read on this trip. The story is a reminder to find our own personal legends and to follow our dreams. I don't think it would be at all inaccurate to say that everyone who has and is partcipating on this journey have come a step closer to realizing their own personal legends, the peole whom God intends for us to be.