Today, US President Barak Obama met with Pope Francis in the Papal Library at the Vatican.

Depending on which report you read, the two met for either 50 or 52 minutes,. during which time they exchanged gifts. The President gave Pope Francis a seed box made from American leather and from wood gleaned from the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. The seeds are a variety of fruits and vegetables from the White House Garden, and the gift was inspired by the Pope’s recent decision to open the Vatican Gardens to the public (thanks goodness, since they are lovely!). Pope Francis gave President Obama a plaque, but none of the reports I read noted the inscription.

Apparently, at some point of the conversation,. the President told the Pope that he is a great admirer of the pontiff, as well he should be.

Here is a video of the event posted on When I watched it, I cried, not because I was reminded of the sad state of affairs in the US under this administration (as well I could have), but because it gave me a glimpse, perhaps, of what I might be in for when I travel to Israel this May to participate in the Pope’s visit there. I doubt I’ll get as close to him as Barak Obama did today, but I will see him in person.

When I watched the video (above) the first time, I was taken in by the importance of the meeting and the people conducting it. I prayed that the Holy Father might be able to say something during this brief exchange that would change the heart of our president to promote families and protect the unborn.

When I watched it a second time, I was taken aback by the noise. The noise of the cameras clicking rapid-fire by an army of photographers and reporters trying to capture the event was so loud that I had to turn the volume down on my speakers!

I cried because it brought me back to the future, so to speak, and brought reality home. When I see the Pope in Israel, likely there will be the same push-and-shove of the media, and the same rampant clicking of the camera shutters. And one of them will be mine.

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