It’s already working.
The Holy Father (aka “Pontifex”) is already reaching millions with his presence on Twitter. Today’s two tweets, timed in conjunction with the Wednesday audience, were destined perfectly for those of us desperately seeking answers in a time of national mourning.
I’ve been carrying around a great personal weight today. I don’t feel up to sharing the details, but will say that one of Pope Benedict XVI’s tweets felt destined just for me:
On a day when I was feeling sad, dispirited, and sort of ready to give up, along comes a tweet of 140 characters (exactly!) that’s the perfect prescription for my day. I went directly from this tweet to the USCCB website to re-read today’s readings. In today’s gospel, we find Zechariah being struck dumb by Gabriel — a penalty for his inability to believe the words of the angel foretelling the birth of his son John. These words we know so well, and yet that hit my heart in a whole new way reading them today:
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah,
because your prayer has been heard.
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,
and you shall name him John.
And you will have joy and gladness,
and many will rejoice at his birth,
for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.
He will drink neither wine nor strong drink.
He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb,
and he will turn many of the children of Israel
to the Lord their God.
He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah
to turn the hearts of fathers toward children
and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous,
to prepare a people fit for the Lord.“
Zechariah most certainly lived his faith life amidst a good amount of darkness. Like most of us, he questioned God. But ultimately, we know the end of his story and his faithfulness. We too are called to faithful acceptance of the trials in our lives, taking the good along with the bad — the darkness along with the light.
But as @Pontifex prescribes, there is no need to linger in lonely fashion in those dark places. We are never alone. Look to the words of today’s Psalm 71 for this reassurance:
For you are my hope, O LORD;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.
When I lack the strength and fortitude to face all that’s on my plate, I’d do well to remind myself that I’m not doing all of the heavy lifting alone. Help abounds, strength is extended, hope is possible, light awaits.
Let the word of God be your guide.