With the news that 95 year-old pope emeritus Benedict is very unwell we know that he will be experiencing the call of Jesus once again, a call to “follow me.”
in 2005 as dean of the College of Cardinals Benedict preached at the funeral of John Paul II and chose as the leitmotif for the funeral homily the call of Jesus to his disciples, opening his reflection with words that he will now be hearing addressed to himself: “Follow me. The Risen Lord says these words to Peter. They are his last words to this disciple, chosen to shepherd his flock. “Follow me”
Earlier this year, just on nine years after his resignation, and aware of and accepting the imperfections in his leadership he reflected:
“Quite soon, I shall find myself before the final judge of my life. Even though, as I look back on my long life, I can have great reason for fear and trembling, I am nonetheless of good cheer, for I trust firmly that the Lord is not only the just judge, but also the friend and brother who himself has already suffered for my shortcomings, and is thus also my advocate, my ‘Paraclete.’ In light of the hour of judgment, the grace of being a Christian becomes all the more clear to me. It grants me knowledge, and indeed friendship, with the judge of my life, and thus allows me to pass confidently through the dark door of death. In this regard, I am constantly reminded of what John tells us at the beginning of the Apocalypse: he sees the Son of Man in all his grandeur and falls at his feet as though dead. Yet He, placing his right hand on him, says to him: ‘Do not be afraid! It is I…’” Feb 2022
Let’s take a moment to pray for him, perhaps using the prayer distributed world-wide this morning:
Let us pray
Almighty and Eternal God
You are the
everlasting health of
those who believe in you.
Hear our prayers
for your servant Benedict
for whom we implore
the aid of Your tender mercy
Through Christ our Lord.