Judging by the excitement that black smoke has, twice, caused the world since yesterday, this is an extraordinary moment in the life of the Church. Again. For the past month the eyes of the world have, if not been fixed on Rome, at least occasionally glanced in her direction. We have several international media networks topping their 24 hour news cycles with shots of the Sistine Chapel and the famous chimney, and simply thousands of journalists have descended on the Eternal City to report on events. As I said yesterday, too, we have an unprecedented representation of Catholics in the social media arena, who are contributing well to the story and rhetoric and commentary of this event.

In the business of evangelisation, this is a moment of grace. We are in the spotlight and, despite the attempts – justified and otherwise – to bring the conversation back to the sins of a few, we are being given an opportunity to speak openly, confidently, and warmly of the love of Jesus Christ and the place he has, through Holy Church, in the contemporary world.

We are also being presented with a moment of grace as individuals. How reliant we are on the Holy Spirit! In this period of transition, we must be even more trusting of the Lord, even more dependent on his will for us and his Church. As I have said before, this really is a Year of Faith – forcing us to reflect on our lives, and on the need we have of the Lord. In prayer and in fasting, and in a good daily meditation – even a holy hour! –  we have the opportunity to draw closer to the Lord in this time, who is our guardian and guide. Amongst all the excitement and chimney-watching, let us united ourselves to the will God and, with the Cardinals in the conclave, make this prayer our own: Thy Will Be Done.