I like the new Pope. I’m sure that I will come to love him too. When thinking of what Benedict might be praying for lately, I am imagining he is praying for Francis. He knows the cross that was just handed to the man and he knows what prayers are needed. Let us all pray for the new Pope. May God give him all the graces he needs and may he shepherd us well.
For Lent, I have squirreled away time to go to Mass and then get to work on time. I’ve had to miss a couple of times as family issues intruded, disrupting my time frame. But, I have mostly been successful. I’ve not been late to work which is nice since the priest who helps out on Thursdays is a talker. He also says something every time so you look forward to it. But I have to admit that I’m preoccupied during Mass since it is not my routine and I’m rushing to get there. I don’t really calm down until after the Gospel. Today, though, I was able to really listen to the first reading. It so reminded me of Benedict. I paste it below (You can find it here):
The wicked said among themselves,
thinking not aright:
“Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;
he sets himself against our doings,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.
He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the LORD.
To us he is the censure of our thoughts;
merely to see him is a hardship for us,
Because his life is not like that of others,
and different are his ways.
He judges us debased;
he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.
He calls blest the destiny of the just
and boasts that God is his Father.
Let us see whether his words be true;
let us find out what will happen to him.
For if the just one be the son of God, he will defend him
and deliver him from the hand of his foes.
With revilement and torture let us put him to the test
that we may have proof of his gentleness
and try his patience.
Let us condemn him to a shameful death;
for according to his own words, God will take care of him.”
These were their thoughts, but they erred;
for their wickedness blinded them,
and they knew not the hidden counsels of God;
neither did they count on a recompense of holiness
nor discern the innocent souls’ reward.
Why does this remind me of Benedict – it is how the press treat him. They lie about him. They’ve found a new way to do it by pitting Francis against him. Francis is more humble. Francis is more personable. Francis is unscripted. I’m sure if they went back over their files they’d find the same thing about Benedict. It is unfair to both.
Yet to be seen is what Francis’ path as Pope will be; but Benedict’s, to me, mirrors Christ. It mirrors the first reading. Every Lent he was subject to abuse (nothing changes). He picked up the sins committed by the Church, carried them on his back, and suffered for it. The mob mocks him, calls for him to punished, lies. In his meekness he carried on and he carried the load to the foot of the Cross where he waits. His load, the sins of priests, isn’t Francis’ load. We shall see what his is. Meanwhile, I will join Benedict in praying for Francis for the Church and for priests. I will also pray for Benedict who offered himself and is at the foot of the cross waiting. His journey isn’t over yet. The mob hasn’t let go of him either. And, notice, his brothers have turned on him. I think Francis has helped with that already! Still, some will never forgive, some want to banish him, punish him.
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
O glorious St. Joseph, you were chosen by God to be the foster father of Jesus, the most pure spouse of Mary ever Virgin, and the head of the holy family. You have been chosen by Christ’s Vicar as the heavenly patron and protector of the Church founded by Christ. Therefore it is with great confidence that I implore your powerful assistance for the whole Church on earth. Protect in a special manner, with true fatherly love, the Pope and all bishops and priests in communion with the See of Peter. Be the protector of all who labor for souls amid the trials and tribulations of this life, and grant that all peoples of the world may follow Christ and the Church He founded.
Dear St. Joseph, accept the offering of myself which I now make to you. I dedicate myself to your service, that you may ever be my father, my protector, and my guide in the way of salvation. Obtain for me great purity of heart and a fervent love for the spiritual life. May all my actions, after your example, be directed to the greater glory of God, in union with the divine Heart of Jesus, the immaculate heart of Mary, and your own paternal heart. Finally, pray for me that I may share in the peace and joy of your holy death.