Thoughts on Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation
By Jeffrey van Zuiden
As a Protestant, I used to look upon Catholics with an eye of suspicion when I saw their devotion to the Pope. To me, he was analogous to a president. When Blessed Pope John Paul II died, I watched as Catholics mourned as if their own father had died. I simply couldn’t grasp this. As a Catholic, I have grown to love Pope Benedict, and consider him a living hero.
Today, I understand.
I awoke this morning, to the shocking news. My mind raced as I tore through every article I could find on the resignation. At first, I was in disbelief. I thought, “This is a hoax or a misunderstanding.” As the realization hit me, I began to feel a deep sense of loss in my heat. It was as if a family member had just died! Oh, how Catholic I have become!
My next thought was fear. Yes, fear. With the Church under attack from seemingly all sides, and a soulless, secular culture gaining ground, inch by inch, I felt afraid. What would happen to us? Would the next Pope be the leader we need in these trying times?
My fear then turned to sorrow, as I realized how much I would miss my German Shepherd. However, the sorrow, as I read through the countless articles being generated by the minute, turned to sorrow for the Holy Father himself, as I realized how much he has done for God, and for us, throughout his life. I finally began to grasp, that the Pope, as a man, has spent a life of self-sacrifice, and that he deserves this. Dr. Scott Hahn posted this on Facebook: “Today God showed us what we’ll all be giving up for Lent …”
So where does that leave me now? Through prayer, I began to realize that my fear, was my lack of faith, and it was my own greed. Jesus Christ had given us an amazing man to lead us. A great scholar, he was called. A giant of the faith, he has lead with unequaled wisdom, patience, love, and mercy. In his last act, he is showing us something us, humility, and faith in God’s plan. I have to trust in God’s plan for us, further more, I must let the Holy Father go in peace. My desire for him to stay was, while born out of love and admiration, selfish and greedy. As Pope John Paul II frequently said, “Be not afraid.”
What do we all need to do now? Pray. Pray for the College of Cardinals to follow God’s will. Pray for the Church. Pray for the lay faithful. Given faith, we will continue to thrive and carry on the Holy Father’s call for a new evangelization. This is a loud call for us to go out and evangelize the world. Pope Benedict, has shown us the way, what’s more, he has shown us a living example of how to be Christ-like. Let us, through our lives, be a worthy example, and carry on the mission the Pope has given us — indeed, the mission Christ gave us!
Pope Benedict, you have been a father to us all. A giant of the faith, you leave us in way we all should have expected; with a humble heart. May God be with you, and give you the peace and quiet you have so earned.
May God Bless You.