Laudetur Iesus Christus!
Nunc et in æternum! Amen.
“Many thanks, Pope Benedict! We will miss you! We love you!”
Well, today’s the day. Needless to say, I’ve been watching everything on EWTN. I watched the Holy Father’s final general audience yesterday morning. My eyes welled up and a lump formed in my throat. I watched his arrival at Castel Gandolfo after leaving the Vatican for the final time this morning. Same thing happened. I also witnessed the last blessing he bestowed as Pope. Ditto. Now awaiting the coverage for the sealing of the main door to the Papal Apartments.
Let me let this out …
I woke up this morning depressed. Not like “My life is a dark abyss of sadness, woe, and emotive sighing” but more like sadness because I really love and admire this Pope. I have admired him since before he was “Pope-d.” I am a devoted reader of his books (they got me through high school “religion” classes) and when he became Pope, I was just beaten down with gids (did a victory dance around my desk when it was announced in 2005).
Needless to say, I had many high hopes for Papa Bene. He didn’t let me down (like that matters). He is such a wonderful teacher who can take the most profound and complex truths of the Faith and explain them in the most simple and cogent ways without watering it down (which, sadly, is what happens many times to the detriment of the Faith and the faithful). He has been such an example of humble obedience to the will of God and a stalwart for the fullness of the Truth against the contagion from without and within the Church.
One thing that I particularly appreciate is his great devotion to the Sacred Liturgy. He has helped the “reform of the reform” with his promotion of greater reverence of the Holy Mass. He has increased the availability of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (aka the TLM) so that those who feel an attachment/devotion to it may be able to assist at it and incorporate it as a greater part of their spiritual lives.
With all that and so much more in mind, I don’t understand some people.
My home parish is having Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament all day today so people can come in through the day and pray for the outgoing Papa Bene, for the cardinals who will be meeting in conclave, and for the man whom the Holy Spirit will guide them to elect as our new Pope. Adoration began after Mass so I just chillaxed with the Savior for a bit longer after Mass ended. Prayed my Rosary and just spent some QT with the Lord.
Afterward, I had to head into the office to check on something so I made my way over there before heading home.
While in the office, I started talking to some people; we were talking about the Pope leaving and I said how sad I was.
They didn’t seem to understand why I was sad to begin with. Like it was no big deal (historic-ness aside).
As we kept speaking, they kept making it seem like my sadness was a waste of time since it was really about nothing.
But then I thought, “Well, having known this person for a rather long time, they probably don’t think it’s such a bad thing because they never really cared for this Pope to begin with what with his whole thing about ‘orthodoxy’ in the arena of teaching and ‘orthopraxy’ when it comes to the Holy Mass.”
I hate to say it. But I think I am right. Those who disagree with the Holy Father and/or have a deep animus for him are either: a.) flat out celebrating his abdication or b.) treating it like it’s no big deal (while celebrating internally).
In my lay opinion as an outsider, I do think that Papa Benedict has been such a great Holy Father. He has been such a great example for all of us of humility, true obedience to the will of God, and of faithfulness to the Truth even in the face of resistance and those who wish ill upon us (if you ever want to see the very depths of vitriol, look at some of the responses to the Pope’s Twitter … absolute classless hate-imbued trash … saddest thing? These are the people who claim to be so loving and tolerant. *facepalm*).
I will miss Papa Bene but now, the Lord has called him to the next step in his journey to the Lord. Instead of being the visible head of Christ’s Church, he will now be like Our Lady or Saint Joseph, quietly dwelling in the background praying for the Church and offering sacrifices for the Church. Never doubt the power of prayer and sacrifice. There is no doubt in my mind that this holy man has been living this already but I think this will now be his way of ministering to the Church and to souls. I have heard that he shall not write anymore books which, while it makes me sad, makes sense though his writings have made such an impact on Holy Church.
I am still conflicted about my feelings about the Holy Father leaving. We all know that he has spent countless hours praying and discerning about this. He didn’t just wake up one morning and decide, *with a thick German/Italian accent* “I think I am tired of being Pope now. Yeah. I am done now.” He has probably been wrestling with this for a very long time in addition to dealing with all the issues that are affecting the Church from within and without. He is 85 years old. He’s not a young priest anymore. He has the zeal, that much is abundantly obvious, but his body is just unable to deal with the stress of the office.
Such humility he has. Here he is, the Vicar of Christ. The Visible Head of the Church (Christ being the invisible Head) on Earth. He could continue one but he has realized that as he is now, he could not execute his duties as Pope to the degree that he sees them as deserving (being the head of the 1 billion member Church is no cake walk … ever).
What do we do next? We pray for the outgoing Pope and ask the Lord to bless him and keep him, a faithful son of God and servant of the Church. We pray for the Cardinals who will be meeting in conclave very soon. We pray to the Holy Spirit to guide the Cardinals in selecting a new Pope: that the Spirit will give us the Pope we need during this rather harrowing time within and without the Church.
All right. It’s almost time. Offer prayers and sacrifices. Let us always rely on the Lord Who, as Papa Bene puts so often, is the Supreme Pastor of the Church knowing that He will never abandon His Bride, the Church, nor will He allow the gates of Hell to prevail against her.