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.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Warren Jewell

    Surely, Saint Peter could have meant himself, too, as Top Pastor and Vicar Supremo, and his successors, in addition to our Lord Jesus Christ, when he wrote
    “Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.”
    After all, as the celebratory call notes “Habemus Papam!”
    God is so good, to grace us with being Catholic.

  • http://www.thepracticingcatholic.com Lisa Schmidt

    Amen, Amen! I was thinking the same thing after I saw Lisa Hendey share the tweet on her FB wall. I’ve been reflecting much on what I need to let go of in order to be “all in.” I’m impressed with your quick blogging skills. Go Elizabeth Go!

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  • Sara

    Papa B always knows what we need. Love him!

  • mk

    The Holy Spirit can do *anything*, but chooses to tweet? That captures, in a nutshell, the intellectual dishonesty of godbots. if you want to win over intelligent people, you need to do a lot better.

    [That's so sad. No, the Holy Spirit inspires us to do things that have meaning for others. I'm not intellectually dishonest, or willfully misunderstanding, either. Nor, a bot. :-) -admin]

  • Victor

    Sorry Anchoress this comment when into your last post by accident.

    (((see if @Pontifex has tweeted anything new, and there it is,)))

    Forgive me Anchoress if I am to quick to pass judgement after only having read a few of the twitter post and nothing else but I honestly believe that no matter what His Holiness says on twitter, “IT” will only annoy some and the “ONE” that truly does love what “Papa” has to say, “IT” might only bring them to a rage that really won’t help more than simply having a good talk on His Knees with GOD (Good Old Dad) until the urge go’s away. Who knows GOD might even send some of HIS ANGELS to help Him out and which humans can’t be swayed by angels, I ask? :)

    (((Benedict XVI‏@Pontifex

    Following Christ’s example, we have to learn to give ourselves completely. Anything else is not enough. )))

    “I” could also use some of those prayers that he’ll be saying. :(


    Told ya, you were too quick to judge sinner vic! :(

  • http://marycatelli.livejournal.com/ Mary

    mk, was Paul not inspired by the Holy Spirit to be all things to all men in hopes of saving a few of them?

  • Peggy

    Lord, help and make us willing, not willful, to trust our will completely to You who created it and show us how the humanly impossible works, how to truly live in faith, not by sight.

  • Caroline Walker

    Thanks, Elizabeth, for hitting me where I live today!

  • kmk

    Thanks very much for this, I am going through something similar (or would be if I would stop and listen).

    Mr. Jewell, it was awfully great to see your comment–I thought about you the other day as I was reading something, and looked for you to post (I can’t remember what!). Hope you are doing well!

  • pinklady

    don’t know how you do that Elizabeth! Exactly what I needed to read today! Grieving the loss of my beloved dog over the Christmas holiday; getting a bad cold and losing my voice, my natural inclination is to withdraw from others (who are reaching out) in my despair. No more loving that much, no more caring that much but God has other plans. Without my “chicken squalk” nonstop talking, I am quietly praying through this and finding my way clear to jump in again. It is truly the only way, give ourselves to Jesus without abandon. Stay open to love and love again. Sorry for the readers who won’t/can’t see God’s hand in their lives, I pray sometime they will.