This was the news story I woke up to this morning about the resignation.
I must admit, I am still in quite a bit of shock over this one. I don’t think it’s fully sunk in, but from what I understand, I take away these main points:
1) This has not happened for about 600 years. Take a moment and let that sit. Since 1415, no Pope has resigned. Many have tried since, but this is the first full papal resignation in just about 600 years. Wow.
2) What a humble gesture of leadership. To recognize the limitations of one’s own capabilities, and abdicate in favor of someone who is capable of performing required duties. With the limitation of travel being placed on him, the Pope saw himself as unable to minister to his global flock anymore. True, true humility. What other world leader would do this?
3) This is an exciting time to be a Catholic. It may be a bit frightening, but remember that the fate of this upcoming conclave is not in the hands of men. It is under the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit; we must just continue to pray and unite our sufferings that Christ sees fit to bestow His mercy on His church on earth. Our coming leader will reflect some quality of Christ which the world needs to reflect on in great detail.
4) For the most prominent Catholic leadership figure to resign with such significant timing, just before the Catholic Lenten season begins on Wednesday, indicates the severity of his claims. This was not thought of lightly. Arguably, Lent (and/or Advent) is one of (if not the) most important season of our faith. A time of renewal and transformation, this Lenten journey will be particularly poignant for the Church as a whole. Together we are united in the unknown, and together we seek the clarity of Christ’s will for us as His flock.
5) Beyond all else, pray for our Pope Benedict. Pray for his health, for his soul, for his effect on the world, that those who will gain something from this will gain something positive, and that those who are troubled by it will come to find peace in the turbulence that will undoubtedly follow. Pray that his example means something to this world. Pray for our future leader, that he will be guided by Christ in thought word and deed. Pray that he will be able to shoulder the burden that is this temporal world, and perform his vocation of service with love and compassion.
What an exciting time to be Catholic.
Viva il Papa.