News of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation was one of the first things I read today. It was the second or third time I woke up this morning near 8.00 AM in text message form. My first response was sadness, followed closely by confusion. Could Popes resign? Now my chances of ever meeting him seemed drastically decreased.
Somewhere along my journey in the last couple of years, I began to respect the Pope as I understood the necessity of his position. After reading short portions of his writings and about his life growing up, to my respect was added a great fondness for His Holiness. Imagine the endearment one has for their grandfather, a kind, thoughtful and loving grandfather who shows equal amounts of compassion and wisdom in a very dignified manner. I have never seen in person, shook the hand of or talked to the Pope, yet these are the qualities I saw in him. He reminds me a great deal of my great grandmother: she is wise, at times a bit sassy, loving of all her children and grandchildren and has an even greater love for God. She is happy to entertain the company of her family but can also be found enjoying solitary activities like reading, crocheting and showering animals with attention.
I saw these similarities and all the more wished the best for His Holiness. Each time prayers would be offered after the homily at Mass, I would keep a special ear out for prayers for the well-being of the Pope and prayed them most fervently. Though I prayed for his strength and health, I understand that he isn't very young.
It must be a great deal of mental, physical and emotional taxation to be Pope and I have come to understand that it is best for him to let the Church be led in strength rather than to selfishly yet inadequately continue. It still saddens me that I will never meet him as Pope, but I am thankful for the ways I have seen him reach out to youth and stand firm against this modern age's mediocrity, temptations and evils.
I pray with all my heart that Ratzinger will be able to retire quietly into a prayerful life and the new Pope, God bless him whoever he may be, will lead the Church with great wisdom, love and devotion to Our Lord Jesus Christ. I trust in God's plan for His Church and look forward to one day seeing white smoke and hearing: "Habemus Papam!"
"And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, andthe gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:19