|Here is a photo of M, me, and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in November 2005.|
I feel somewhat obliged to comment on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI today. I read his final general audience yesterday and this part of it stood out to me:
“I also receive many letters from ordinary people who write to me simply from their heart and let me feel their affection, which is born of our being together in Christ Jesus, in the church. These people do not write me as one might write, for example, to a prince or a great figure one does not know. They write as brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, with the sense of very affectionate family ties. Here, one can touch what the church is – not an organization, not an association for religious or humanitarian purposes, but a living body, a community of brothers and sisters in the body of Jesus Christ, who unites us all. To experience the church in this way and almost be able to touch with one’s hands the power of his truth and his love, is a source of joy, in a time in which many speak of its decline.”
It is a wonderful description of what it is like to be Catholic. Now having lived in four cities, I know that there are good, faithful Catholics in all parts of the country and world. When I meet a new person who I know is Catholic, there is an instant common bond and that is the community of brothers and sisters Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI spoke of yesterday.
And I do feel about him and Blessed Pope John Paul II before him a sense of familial connection and affection. I am thankful to him for being our Pope the past eight years and for the three Apostolic blessings M and I were given on the occasion of our marriage (I will take all the blessings I can get!).
As for the future of the Church, all I can do myself is to trust in God. I know that Church politics do not always make choosing the right pope easy. I only hope that with the rest of the world against preserving traditions that the new pope will continue to protect them within the Church and continue to bring back the old ones that were lost during many of the post-Vatican II changes.
I will conclude with this:
Novena prayer for a conclave:
Heavenly Father, We, the people of God, gathered in solidarity as did the disciples in the Upper Room, pray for the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the cardinals who will be in conclave for the election of the next Vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the hearts of our cardinals be open to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, beyond any human judgment, to elect the candidate most pleasing to you, Heavenly Father, and who will guide the Church at this momentous time in history and the beginning of the Third Millenium.
We invoke our Mother Mary, united in prayer with the disciples in the Upper Room, to intercede for our cardinals to select the next Holy Father in docility to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, her divine Spouse. With Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, we entrust this conclave to your maternal and Immaculate Heart, and offer these prayers for your guidance and protection over the choosing of the next Vicar of your Son.
1 Our Father
1 Hail Mary
1 Glory Be
Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!