Today’s reading (slightly enlarged) from Morning Prayer, Isaiah 53:11-12
“Because of his anguish he shall see the light;
because of his knowledge he shall be content;
My servant, the just one, shall justify the many,
their iniquity he shall bear.
“Therefore I will give him his portion among the many,
and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty,
Because he surrendered himself to death,
was counted among the transgressors,
Bore the sins of many,
and interceded for the transgressors.”
Of course, folks in the Ural mountains saw a different sort of light, (and we may soon see one, too) but I know that I and others read this reading and could not but think of Benedict’s withdrawal into contemplation.
I like what Peggy Noonan says in her column today:
From a Catholic writer: “I can’t quite say I am at peace,” about Benedict’s decision, but she feels “a unity of divine purpose in what the Holy Father has set in motion.” She sees a certain amount of “suffering” ahead. She sees Benedict’s decision as “at once a model, and an urgent plea, and a warning.”
That falls in line with what I’ve been saying this week in my posts and in the comboxes (and no, she is not quoting me there) that I truly believe Benedict’s move at this time is because he senses something urgent, and that it is meant to unify us, and focus us in a very unique, at this point in time, in prayer for the Bride of Christ, not just during the conclave — although that is certainly important — but well beyond, in this [Chinese-designated] Year of the Snake. And in doing so, we cannot help but strengthen our relationship with Jesus, the Bridegroom. I know his news on Monday has affected my resolve this Lent, and very much deepened it.
Noonan’s piece is especially interesting for the tidbit about America no longer being seen as a superpower, and how that might impact the conclave, (ponder how Obama’s isolationist streak and economic/diplomatic indifference can have a powerful effect on the church) but read to the very end, and her observations about Cardinal Mahony.
In all her column is reassuring, enlightening and thoughtful, but it’s also troubling. Both Deacon Greg and Mark Shea have posted a link to Mahony’s latest blogpost and I must agree with Mark in that my sense, when reading it, is that he still thinks everything is all about him. Noonan writes:
Said the activist: “If Mahony goes to Rome it will be so wrong. And the media will make everything about him.”
They will, and understandably. It would be a shame, and another scandal for the church, if Cardinal Mahony goes, and votes. He should take a nod from the pope he praises, and remove himself.
He should also perhaps take a nod from the archbishop of his own diocese, too, and his focus.
Kathy Schiffer brings us an excellent prayer for the conclave
Why Benedict disturbs non-believers.