(source: Orbis Catholicus Secundus)
In the public domain / fair use
There is confusion in the Church
The Church is confused. Many, if not (secretly) most, Catholics (of whatever rank) are in shock. The Barque of Peter seems to have fallen into a whirlpool of its own making. And, although the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, despite sometimes appearing to be asleep, is always in control of the boat (which is the Church) and the elements that surround it (the world), the Church now desperately needs a good (earthly) helmsman, a holy Peter. She needs a new Pope, sooner rather than later.
Pray for our former Pope
The next few days will be a difficult time for our former pope – he really is stepping out into the unknown, despite the fact that he seems to have planned his future as best he can. Ultimately, though, as I wrote soon after the resignation was announced, the now former pope is powerless: all his final decisions about his future – and the future of his secretary and friend, Archbishop Gänswein -- were not really his to make, and can easily be unmade by his legitimate successor: the man who will be Peter. Humility, if it is authentic, must be painful -- and our poor former Holy Father will soon know the true cost of that dearest of virtues.
We must learn to detach and focus on the things that matter
Unite yourself to the Lord, who never abandons his flock
We must unite ourselves more and more to the Lord -- all of us, poor sinners and weak creatures that we are. Let’s comfort ourselves with these truths: Put not your trust in princes nor in men, but in the Lord your God alone (cf Ps 118, 146), and The last shall be first, and the first shall be last (Mt 20:16). Look around you at our brothers and sisters in Christ who are poor, lonely, despised, rejected, persecuted, starving, unseen, unloved, and unnoticed by so many 'in the Church' – these men and women will soon be surrounding the Throne of Glory! In the Kingdom, they are the closest to God's face. We should also know that only Jesus Christ saves -- no other can bring us true peace. We are all sinners.
The papal abdication, along with the resulting scandals and chaos, have helped me to move a little bit further away from my attachment to a false 'churchianity' and a few steps closer to that simple and authetic Christianity (I do not mean that in an anti-Church, or Protestant, way!), which a deep relationship with Jesus is all about. In that sense, I am personally very grateful to the former Pope.
Move on ... and pray for the Church
Yes, say a prayer for Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) as he begins his self-imposed retirement, ask God to keep him in wisdom, health, and in His grace; but put most of your efforts into praying for the Church and for the Sacred College of Cardinals, who now govern her and who will soon elect the next Pope. Pray, too, that whoever will be our new Supreme Pontiff will exercise the authority given him with great care and love, whilst wedded to the truth – may he put the needs of the Church above all other considerations. And may he always have the courage and wisdom to do what is right.
Tu es Petrus
|The Papal Cathedra in the Archbasilica of St John Lateran|
Detail from a photo by Ern (Flickr)
Published under a Creative Commons Licence
(source: Wikimedia Commons)
Prayer for the election of a Pope
ut sacrosanctae Romane Ecclesiae
illum tua immensa pietas;
qui et pio in nos studio semper tibi placitus,
et tuo populo pro salubri regimine sit assidue
ad gloriam tui nominis reverendus.
Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum,
Qui Tecum vivit et regnat
in unitate Spiritus Sancti,
Per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.
We entreat Thee most humbly,
O Lord, that Thy boundless mercy
may give the holy Roman Church
a Pontiff whose loving care in our regard
will always be pleasing to Thee,
and by his beneficent rule will always give glory to Thy name
and be deeply honoured by Thy people.
Through our Lord, Jesus Christ,
who liveth and reigneth with Thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
forever and ever. Amen.