Jeff pointed out something to me this morning. In his public addresses, each time, we have heard Pope Francis thank Pope Emeritus Benedict and pray for him and ask us to pray for him. Benedict may have “emeritus”in front of his name now, but Pope Francis will not allow us to forget him anytime soon.
ht to Katherine for sharing this meme with me
Our American world-view makes most of us tend to think “out with the old, in with the new” when it comes to changes of power. So it comes as a shock to many to hear the name of Benedict invoked by the current Pope so frequently. But it is only fitting. Because while, yes, Pope is the highest attainable rank in Catholicism, it is also the highest level of servitude. And we would do well to remember that. And that both Pope Francis and Pope Benedict NEED our prayers.
As Katherine mentioned to me,
“The one thing that bugs me when people acclaim the benefits of Pope Francis is I just hope they aren’t highlighting them as some sort of criticism to Benedict.”
I couldn’t agree more. Pope Benedict was an amazing Pontiff and taught the world so much. He brought many to Christ during his Pontificate. This picture above so clearly displays how much servitude is required of the man chosen by the Holy Spirit in this position. Could you imagine having that weight on your shoulders? And we surely should not being thinking that all that is right with Francis is what was “wrong” with Benedict. Dr Temple Grandin’s quote about autism, “Different, not less,” is a very apt one in this situation. Benedict was led by the Spirit to be the Holy Father he was. His demeanor, his actions were uniquely his. Francis is, of course, not Benedict, so he will not speak, act or do things exactly the way Benedict did. And we must be very careful to remember this. As Francis said when he addressed the Cardinals unity does not mean making the same but in harmony. And Cardinal Soldano remarked at the beginning of the audience that he was thankful each of them acts according to the graces he is given. No gifts are better than the others, but will be different. Pope Francis is not “an improvement” on Pope Benedict, he is his successor and each is acting in according to the graces he is given.
Granted it’s hard to see detail in this pic, but to me, the serenity of Papa Benedict and his personal secretary Archbishop Georg Gänswein walking together praying the Rosary shows to me he is where he should be in this moment. He clearly followed the will of the Holy Spirit in realizing his schedule was too demanding on his health and making him not as effective as he would like for the Church. The humility is almost overwhelming.
And he still needs us. And we still need him.We must continue to pray for Pope Emeritus Benedict during this Papamoon and beyond. Many of us still pray for Blessed John Paul who has departed from this earthly life close to a decade ago. Benedict is living a quiet life of prayer and contemplation now, as he feels called. And he prays for us and loves us still. Please, do not forget him, his sacrifice and his love. Follow the example of our new Holy Father, and remember give thanks and lots of prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict.