With less than a day remaining of Benedict XVI’s pontificate…

(AP Photo/Source)Tonight, no lightning strikes; mere hours away from the of Benedict's pontificate, a bright beam shines from the heavens and the absence of gloom almost gives a shiver: a light shines in the darkness, a light ever-ancient, ever-new.Since the day and night have left us thoughtful and -- the effect of our happy sadness -- a little dreamy, I thought I'd give you a few particularly nice, or particularly interesting pieces about the Once and Future pope.First the Once: … [Read more...]

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“I will not forget the lessons you have taught me…” – UPDATES

You all know I am not a sentimentalist.I'm always suspicious of emotionalism and of course, tough-as-nails, right? But I am human! And this video which Kevin Knight put up at New Advent got me all verklempt!It's just priests, saying thank you to Pope Benedict. But it's very moving.And with this sort of thing, that so few of us even knew about, it's like, "yeah...thank you for that, too!"UPDATE I: And a video of young people saying thank you, too!UPDATE II: Fresh off of … [Read more...]

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Benedict’s hope lies in the reach of a monk’s prayers…UPDATES

(Subiaco Cave, where St. Benedict of Nursia lived)My piece at First Things this week looks at the point and the lesson behind Pope Benedict's embrace of monasticism over his remaining time on the papal throne:The failure is heard in the shrieks of pain, ignorance, and hatred directed at the Church throughout the chambers of mainstream and social media; it is seen in the faithful priests and laypeople who read one awful headline after another and continue on, but with increasingly … [Read more...]

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Benedict has never looked so worn out

This picture from L'OSSERVATORE ROMANO took my breath away. It's copyrighted, so you have to go to the link.But be prepared for how worn, thin and unwell Pope Benedict looks.He is an introvert. Hopefully when he has removed himself from the Throne and has quiet time and solitude, he will recharge a little.I do not think he will be our monastic prayer warrior for very long. But I am sure that while he is in his monastic phase, we will be helped by it. … [Read more...]

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Am I a Cynic, or Simply Observant? Both?

Since I am both socially inept and an introvert (not an automatic blend; I'm just a particularly clumsy amalgam of the two) to me, watching from sidelines is altogether preferable to deep engagement. This has made me pretty observant, or at least that's what I took from it when my mother -- reaching for an answer when queried as to why I was "so odd" -- said, "well, she's very observant..."Two really excellent columns by women I admire have crossed my screen today, and in both cases, I found … [Read more...]

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Predicting the Pope: the ultimate sucker’s bet – UPDATED

“I call as my witness Christ the Lord who will be my judge, that my vote is given to the one who before God I think should be elected.”That is what each Cardinal Elector will say each time he approaches the altar to deliver his vote for the next pope.Pretty grave stuff, right there; I would bet that each time he repeats that sentence -- on top of all the prefacing vows and promises -- the weight of it is felt a bit more deeply.Imagine being surrounded on all sides by Mic … [Read more...]

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Morning Prayer so often aligns with the headlines…

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 … [Read more...]

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Political Narratives or the Pope? Dross to Gold.

Immersion in Benedict resignation news, I find the worldly political stories to be stale theater in comparison to the richness of the words I am reading and the authenticity of the pope and the faithful as they meet. Dross to genuine gold.In what is likely his last public homily, Benedict today said: "he reward of the righteous is God Himself, to be united to Him, here, on a journey of faith, and at the end of life, in the peace light of coming face to face with Him forever." Part of me is … [Read more...]

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A 7 Word Summation of Benedict’s Pontificate

During an entire liturgy full of beautiful, sweet and touching moments, there was an especial sweetness to the conclusion of today's Ash Wednesday mass at St. Peter's Basilica, which was also the last public liturgy that will be performed by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.Rocco Palmo has the moment, and the video, and his title, quoting Benedict, can appropriately summarize the entire pontificate of Joseph Ratzinger: "Thank you; let us return to prayer..."Even for two millenia of a very … [Read more...]

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The Big Book of Lent and Easter – UPDATED

Every Ash Wednesday I put away Book III of the Liturgy of the Hours, and pull out Book II for the Lenten and Easter Season.Book III is pretty big, but Book II is "the big book." It's a book that carries a little bit of penance for me, on days when the arthritis in my hands is acting up, because just holding it in prayer sometimes makes me aware of pain. The book gets heavy, but Lent is a heavy time; as my prayer is distracted, I simply offer it up -- I look at the crucifix on my oratory and … [Read more...]

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