February 13, 2013
Pope Benedict XVI
I’ve always had a tremendous respect for Pope Benedict XVI’s wisdom, clarity of thought, humility, and courage, but today my respect for these virtues of his has increased a hundredfold. It is clear that our Holy Father is so concerned about the good of the Church that he is willing to humbly admit his growing frailty of mind and body, even at the risk of being misunderstood or suspected of ulterior motives.
When our Holy Father passes on to the Lord, I will be asking his intercession when I have a difficult decision to make. I hope that at his canonization someday he will be nominated as the patron saint of making tough decisions. To be able to act truthfully, lovingly, courageously, to follow a path where almost no man has gone before, with clear-sightedness and profound trust in God – this is the legacy that he leaves us now more than ever.
The timing is appropriate for the Church as we enter into the desert of Lent. These 40 days will feel a little more desert-like with this uncertainty before us. In the desert, as Our Savior experienced in a truly human way for 40 days, we are left without our usual security and comfort. However, we may learn there to rely on the Lord in a deeper way, to listen more deeply to His Holy Spirit and to battle our lack of faith. We may feel alone, but we discover more deeply the fact that He is with us, inviting us to exchange our finite or false securities for the Rock of our Salvation.
The saintly pontiffs of the past century, and so many that went before them, remind us that we need not be afraid. The Lord will protect and provide for His people in the desert in unforeseen ways.
Let us pray daily during this Lenten season in gratitude for His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, and for a new Vicar of Christ who will feed us with Bread from Heaven.
Fr. Richard Roemer, CFR
St. Crispin Friary