When I first came across this news early this morning, I thought it was a rumour. Upon realizing it was true, I thought it was surprising to me because I haven’t been keeping up with Catholic news.
A quick glance on my Facebook news feed and I realized that quite a number of fellow Catholics were also astonished at the news.
Now I have mixed emotions. I am sad actually to see Pope Benedict step down. Having only reverted to my Catholic faith in the last seven years, he is the first Pope I have known. I shared in an earlier post when Pope John Paul II was beatified how that affected me, since I was still asleep to the Catholic faith during his papacy. Having been awakened to the beauty of the Catholic Church while Pope Benedict sat in the chair of Peter has given me the opportunity to grow and appreciate sacred traditions.
This sadness is a mixed with admiration and respect for Pope Benedict. I have never seen him as a man who recoils in the face of a challenge. This decision to step down now must not have been an easy decision to make. With much courage and humility he has determined that he would best serve the Church by allowing someone else to step up to the chair of Peter.
In fact, we should all be able to say to Christ, “I want to serve you the best way possible, even if the best way to serve you is to get out of your way.”
This news also instilled in me a great sense of hope. Hope for the new Pope that will be elected. Pope Benedict knows that there is much work ahead as we embrace this year of faith, and move ahead to face new challenges in bringing Christ’s message to the world. Which reminds me that Christ has called me to play a role in that mission, however insignificant it may seem to me. Following the example that Pope Benedict set for us today, I must stay the course and obey Christ’s call.
I cannot possibly add much more to what has already been stated by other Catholic writers today, except that I will keep Pope Benedict in my prayers, as well as, all our Cardinals. I pray the Holy Spirit will continue to guide them and keep them safe from calumny and evil during these coming days of transition.