Our dear Pope Benedict XVI died yesterday morning. He was 95 years old. We were received into the Church during his pontificate so I have a special affection for him. What a great man who wrote clearly about Christ and His Church. He's been suffering and praying for Holy Mother Church. We will definitely offer a Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul. May he rest in heavenly peace. I've edited to add his Spiritual Testament, that the Vatican released, written a year after he was elected Pope. "Stand firm in the faith! Do not be confused!" Wow! It's so prophetic. Here's the rest of the paragraph.
Stand firm in the faith! Do not be confused! Often it seems as if science - on the one hand, the natural sciences; on the other, historical research (especially the exegesis of the Holy Scriptures) - has irrefutable insights to offer that are contrary to the Catholic faith. I have witnessed from times long past the changes in natural science and have seen how apparent certainties against the faith vanished, proving themselves not to be science but philosophical interpretations only apparently belonging to science - just as, moreover, it is in dialogue with the natural sciences that faith has learned to understand the limits of the scope of its affirmations and thus its own specificity. For 60 years now, I have accompanied the path of theology, especially biblical studies, and have seen seemingly unshakeable theses collapse with the changing generations, which turned out to be mere hypotheses: the liberal generation (Harnack, Jülicher, etc.), the existentialist generation (Bultmann, etc.), the Marxist generation. I have seen, and see, how, out of the tangle of hypotheses, the reasonableness of faith has emerged and is emerging anew. Jesus Christ is truly the Way, the Truth, and the Life - and the Church, in all her shortcomings, is truly His Body.
The word placed upon my heart this year is TRUTH. For fun, I enjoy getting a saint and inspirational word from Jennifer Fulwiler's Saint Generator. St. Lucy and FLY for A.D. 2023.
Brace yourselves. It's going to be a challenging New Year! But we were made for a time such as this. All glory to God!!!
Former Pope Benedict is the only pope I ever saw in person, if you can call watching his motorcade pass by on Bethlehem Road in Jerusalem where I was staying while visiting relatives in 2014. The security was daunting, but those who lived along his route were allowed to stand by. I was sure we wouldn't really SEE him, but we did.
I don't expect I would ever glimpse in real life at a pope again.
Like Mirka, the only Pope I have seen in person is also Pope Benedict XVI. I attended a Mass in Yankee Stadium for his Christ Our Hope visit to the United States. (But, I think Mirka's experience is AWESOME, too). He was such a a learned and peaceful person. People will be unpacking his wisdom for years to come. I think it's no coincidence that the Ascension Press Catechism in a Year podcasts began just as his fruitful life ended.
Correction to my comment: I saw Pope Benedict in May 2009, my penultimate visit to Jerusalem. (My later visit was in 2014.)
On the way from Ben-Gurion airport to Jerusalem, I shared a cab with pilgrims who had come just because of the Pope's visit, and that's the first I learned of it. The city had closed some main roads, and of course the locals complained. But the country as a whole was happy for this honor.
Mirka, that is amazing! I would think every Pope would want to spend time in the Holy Land.
Carol, it's so funny to think of Pope Benedict in Yankee Stadium but it makes sense because thousands must've come to see him. I'm sure he will lead many people to Christ our Lord, through his works and prayers. Ora et labora, the Benedictine motto. I find it fascinating that labora has ora within it.
Get this, our sponsor (we had a Catholic couple who walked with us when we were converting) told us that his conversion to the Catholic faith began when he saw the funeral of Pope St. John Paul II on TV. It was a sudden compulsion, a jolt of recognition that he must be Catholic.
I remember watching that funeral. Then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger did a beautiful job as the celebrant. He truly showed himself as the likely successor to St. John Paul II. Soon after he was Pope Benedict XVI. He was heaven sent to lead the church during that time of healing.
That is so beautiful Carol. I have a hankering now to read the Infancy Narrative. Will have to wait until I get home. I do have a couple of essays on my kindle.
Thank you for posting this, friend. I feel so sad and yet so joyous that our dear pope is gone from u, but with Our Lord. I love Pope Benedict so much and his writings have formed me for many, many years.
I'm praying for you and your family every day, Vijaya. (This should be a comment on previous posts, but I'm streamlining here…) I'm so glad your brother has you there, although it's always hard when everyone can't be together. It's been a challenging Christmas here in much smaller ways (mostly just constant sickness), and many rough moments have been offered up for you!
Thank you, Faith.
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