Before I turn in, here are some thoughts that are [still] lingering in my mind.
What a day it has been, for the world and for the Roman Catholic Church. (Perhaps this is more applicable to the latter.) The news of the resignation of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has been on my mind all day long, and I’m sure it will continue to be for some time as the Church navigates through changes within the coming weeks and months. Initially all of this was a hard pill to swallow. I didn’t even know resigning from the Papal Office was possible. I mean, the last one that occurred was six centuries ago and I was never really interested in studying Canon Law…yet. Anyway, for a few hours this morning I chewed on the continual release of details of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. I read over a dozen articles. Watched several videos, including this (which brought tears to my eyes – again) and videos I’ve taken myself while living in Italy and pilgrimaging throughout Spain for World Youth Day. I also reflected on the work he has taken on his hands in the Lord’s vineyard. Truly, he was a good and faithful servant for the past 8 years and I know his papacy will be missed. I know I will miss him personally because it was under his leadership of the Church I have grown deeper in my faith.
My mind experienced a familiar feeling from about eight years ago now. When the news of the death of Pope Benedict XVI’s predecessor, Pope John Paul II spread throughout the world and into my own home that sad day, a feeling of despair came over me. I was only 15 at the time, but the now-Blessed John Paul II’s death really affected me as if the then-Supreme Pontiff was my own grandfather. But it wasn’t solely that. The despair I felt was also because of the absence of a Shepherd of our Church – the Vicar of Christ. What will happen? Who will lead us? How long will it take for the Conclave to elect a new pope for us? That was me at 16. Pretty similar to the Apostles after Jesus’ Death, in retrospect. Something like that.
The questions I asked myself then aren’t necessarily the same questions I ask myself now (maybe that’ll change come February 28th). At 23, I have a better idea of what will happen (my curiosity the first time around went a long way – I may even whip out “Shoes of the Fishermen”sometime soon for old time’s sake). One thought that hit me over breakfast was the depth of the Holy Father’s discernment and the immense humility and courage he must have possessed upon reaching that point in his discernment. Just like him, we are called daily to discern God’s will for us. The Holy Father did that, and here we are now as a Church. In our own life, we are to seek God’s will, and in faith we step out and take action, trusting that He will manage and provide the rest. This is that moment when we, the Church, need to trust the Bridegroom and move right along just like we have for over 2,000 years. It is scary because this is something we are far from used to. But what God has been planting in my heart this evening is that He will continue to provide… yes, even on a grand-scale. Didn’t Jesus do that with Peter before His Ascension to the Father? So, why wouldn’t He now?
(Um, by the way, we are not even halfway through the Year of Faith yet! Crazy!!!)
“The sudden news of the Pope’s decision to retire at the end of this month, rather than die, as his sainted predecessor did, with his boots on, has taken us all by surprise. But the shock of the realization that this good and gentle man, this wonderful Vicar of Christ – whose mind is as profound as his heart is fearless – should be tempered by the recognition that while popes come and go, the Church remains forever.” -Dr. Regis Martin, Professor at Franciscan University of Steubenville
Thank you, Papa, for being a faithful instrument of Christ to His Church on earth.
You are loved and will be prayed for as you continue to do the same for us.
Good night & God bless us all.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!
St. Peter, pray for us!