Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lent / Pope Benedict Resigns


The season of Lent has a past full of twists and turns.  Even in our time Lent is growing and changing.  This is partly because of the focus on those preparing for Baptism.  The Church has selected for them a noble manner for the process of conversion and of preparing for their Baptism, a preparation that occurs over many weeks.

Equally, there is a dramatic focus on our own continuing conversion.  Since Vatican II there has been a concern for the stability of the Church.  Some point to a deep need incumbent on the whole church to find our way back to the arms of the Church.  This expresses itself in a vision of the soul journeying to God.  The Prodigal Son is, of course, the perfect symbol of this movement during the season of Lent.  It is truly a season of the grace of conversion.  It might be helpful to look at this “moment of grace” again.  There is an incredible occurrence associated directly to the meaning of Lent: reconciliation.  The various names of the sacrament help us to see the richness of this celebration.  It is called “penance” to remind us that change is part of the response we have.  It is the human condition to need this change, to grow to improve.  Usually we are assigned a penance that includes saying a particular prayer.  It reminds us that God is the source of the healing that we seek in this sacrament. It is called “confession” because this is our part in the celebration of the sacrament.  However, even this is a good that we must attribute to God.  We should be cautious about this, cautious enough to know that all good has its origin in God.  Our proper response is to praise him and to thank him for rescuing us from our sins.

Pope Benedict Resigns

The news is full of the Catholic Church today.  Pope Benedict has announced that he will resign at the end of February.  We should rightly be sad that his ministry will conclude this way, with a broken and tired Bishop.  On the other hand, no matter what the news has to say, we have a secret joy that the Bishop has known suffering and been called to spend the last days in a different way.  Perhaps we will all be surprised to what God may be calling Benedict and the whole Catholic Church.  Even in the midst of the life of a tired Pope we can all applaud his whole life’s work.  What a magnificent writer, shepherd, Father.

It is true that a Pope belongs to the whole world, so the whole world has a right to make a comment on his resignation.  Some of those who wrongly imagine that they have something to say should at least be a little hesitant.  If the house was on fire and my father pulled me from the flames, who would not,say that my father was very brave?

Holy Father, Your Excellency, so many times you have pulled me from the fire, given me a new understanding and made me proud to be a Catholic.  Thank you.  My offer still stands.  I would love to teach you how to fly fish.

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