Today is the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter Apostle. (Readings here.)
All Catholics are being called to give up our Pope for Lent. Regardless of what any of us may think about the situation, the Holy Spirit is at work here. God has decided this. Of this, there can be no doubt. Things could change at any time, but God is in all of it.
Some of the things I have said about the Holy Father’s resignation have been hard for some to hear. (Read here and here.) You shouldn’t be disturbed by it. Don’t put much stock into what I think and say. I don’t. I am not God. What matters is what God is saying to all of us in this. I remain convinced that Pope Benedict is doing what God is asking him to do, and in this, I trust that he is making a holy decision. Still, I have been a Christian long enough to know that things are not always truly and fully as they may appear to be to us, who are mere humans. God’s ways really are mysterious. I could tell you many personal stories that have proven this to me, as I’m sure any faithful Christian could. We trust, we hope, we pray, but we also can ask questions and express concerns. When we ask questions and express concerns, we are doing God’s work just as surely as the Holy Father is, as we are all one Body in Christ. What I am convinced of is that the Church will continue to stand as she has for over two thousand years, regardless of what any mere human being may do, because God is in charge here.
Many are giving up, for Lent, the use of social media, overindulgence in things that are bad for our physical health, use of swear words, etc., but for many others, it is God who decides what we shall give up, just as He has decided that Catholics will give up our Pope. So it is with my family now, as we are going through a test of fire. At least two of my close Catholic friends, are also going through a test of fire this Lent that was chosen not by them, but by God Himself. Such things used to leave me in a sense of awe, that God acts in ways that make His presence in our lives far more convincing than even the presence of people in our lives. We know He is with us, because He has spoken in these ways that call us to do His will, especially now at Lent.
Let us all pray for each other, and keep our hearts turned to the Lord, who is our Shepherd.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.