On my last days on the job, I have my hands full: I try to catch up on my filing (Impossible! Impossible, I tell you!) I clean out the files (a little bit). I erase the voicemail messages I had saved, dust the keyboard, make notes for my successor. I chat on the phone. I pack my coffee cup and my spare pantyhose and my vitamins and get well cards and photos from home in a cardboard box and run them out to the car. I fill lots of trash cans.
I think it’s different for Pope Benedict.
With just four days until his retirement on February 28, Pope Benedict continues to inspire and delight with his final messages. A case in point: Today’s Sunday Angelus, which was attended by thousands of grateful followers.
As is customary, the Pope spoke about today’s Gospel reading—so his audience focused his teaching on the Transfiguration. You can read the full text at the Vatican’s website.
In particular, though, I wanted to point out his explanation for how he will spend his time in retirement.
“Dear brothers and sisters, I hear this Word of God addressed to me in a special way during this moment of my life. Thank you! The Lord is calling me to “scale the mountain,” to dedicate myself still more to prayer and to meditation. But this does not mean abandoning the Church – on the contrary, if God asks this of me, it is to serve the Church with the same dedication and the same love with which I have tried to do so hitherto, but in a way that is more adapted to my age and my strength. Let us invoke the intercession of the Virgin Mary: may she help us always to follow the Lord Jesus in prayer and in active charity”
– Pope Benedict, February 24, 2013
He will not forget us. We will not forget him.