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: Tom McDonald says “‘night, Papa…” to Benedict:
He was “my” pope. I read him for years as Joseph Ratzinger, marveling at a mind so sharp it could convey complex points with utter simplicity. As someone called to a teaching ministry, I was inspired by his ability to teach at any level required of him, and teach so well that he also could inspire. There were those who greeted the news of his election with dismay, because they understand the Church primarily through the lens of power and politics and modern obsessions. I was overjoyed, because I understand that the Church’s role primarily is pedagogical. An evangelical church is, first and foremost, a teaching Church. And what better leader for a teaching Church than a wise and compassionate teacher?
Whoever next occupies the See of Peter will also be my pope, but at the age I am and being the man I am, I doubt I will ever have the kind of connection that I had with Benedict. After many years of spiritual wandering far away from my Catholic roots, his was the quiet voice that summoned me back and showed me a new way. He reshaped the way I think. All of the reading and education and influences that went into furnishing my mental apartment is now viewed through a Ratzingerian lens.
Meanwhile, Joanne McPortland whispers to the night sky, for another Joseph:, one who combines the best of Josephs Roncalli and Ratzinger.
. . .if I were to whisper my wish, which is all any of us could do, I would hope the Spirit and the College of Cardinals would be leaning toward someone who combines the best of my two favorite popes:
—a man with the openness to the world’s hunger for Christ of a John XXIII, and a commitment to Christ’s Church as unshakable as that of Benedict XVI;
—a man with John XIII’s pastoral genius and air of being “one of us,” along with Benedict XVI’s steel in the face of the Enemy;
—a man who is capable of causing people to fall in love with the Church—as well as being open to drawing the lost ones home.
In other words, we need an average Joe, with a twist. And I mean that literally. May the Holy Spirit give us a new St Joseph, guardian of the Church as he was of Mary and her Child—a father, a protector, a craftsman, a man in the world but not of it.
a pope named for the patron of fathers and husbands and workers; a Holy Father taking as his inspiration another holy father; a builder of benches; a provider of sustenance; a guardian and protector of virgins and innocents; a man of few words but great trust in God; and (not insignificantly) a man who dreams.
Joanne begins her piece by talking on handicapping the ponies so I don’t think she’ll mind that I follow her with a link to New Advent’s Papabile Buzz Meter.
Benedict XVI: Last public words.
Jesuit Post: Interpreting Benedict’s Action
David Warren: Benedict’s Wager
George Weigel Benedict the Master Catechist
Pat Gohn Benedict, Catechism and the Hope of Heaven
I will thank God on Thursday for Benedict
Frank Weathers A Poem and a Prayer
Brandon Vogt: Three Keys to his legacy
Sr. Teresa Noble: Five ways to celebrate and remember Benedict
First Things: The Benedict Option
OSV: Short reflections by various writers