A Papal Validation from @Pontifex on Twitter

Those who think that Pope Benedict XVI is engaged in mere schtick by making an occasional tweet during a papal audience should think again. If we believe that the Holy Spirit can use all things to God’s purposes — even the most confounding things in the most surprising ways — there is no reason to think that twitter will not be used thusly.

The Holy Spirit can do anything. It can even make a tweet generated by a pope, and meant to appeal to a very broad audience, become an intensely personal, challenging and validating message between a shepherd and one of his lambs, who is feeling a bit bruised and wary.

This morning, I posted about my continual failures in love:

in saying “I want to love again,” and meaning it, God seems to be showing me how terrifying that can be in its totality; it’s going to mean a constant surrendering. A constant turning-to. A constant letting-go, in trust.

That we must always learn, and learn again; surrender and surrender again, is a lesson I’ve encountered before, of course, but on a freshman level. This one feels deeper, and somehow I am more afraid of the deep waters at 54 than I ever was at 24. Perhaps because I have learned that no matter the depths we plumb, there will always be a further drawing down; there is never an end; the lesson comes, you live with it a while, and then you get drawn down again.

A few hours later, I decide to see if @Pontifex has tweeted anything new, and there it is, as though the message is meant just for me:

To which I jokingly tweeted in response: Oh brother. Nothing like having @pontifex ‘s latest tweet totally reinforce where I am today

I had to pretend to roll my eyes, you see, because truthfully what Benedict tweeted to the world — what he said to me, personally, in my helpless fear — was “you don’t get a pass. You have to move forward, even if it’s where you would rather not go.”

And this, he can say with authority; it is what he gets to live with, every day:

“Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” – John 21:17-18

I would not dream of comparing the very small, incremental nudges forward I am facing with some trepidation against the full-bodied heave-ho’s God has launched against our dear Benedict, who dares, everyday to be willing.

But it’s nice to know we’re on the same boat (he steering, I huddled in a state of terror down in steering class, reminding myself that in the end it’s all that willingness, and not worthiness) and to know that, on some level, he completely gets what I’m feeling, and we share a teeny bit of mutuality of space and understanding, within the push.

Thank you, Papa.

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