I am still having trouble letting go of Benedict and totally embracing Francis. I know I’m not alone. Amy Wellborn wrote about this on her blog, Charlotte was Both (in several places but this was the entry I found comforting.) I find it totally unfair when the media in their love fest with Francis put Benedict down. I’ve been reflecting and praying on this a lot because I didn’t think I would have this reaction. Well at least I didn’t think it was going to be so hard. And then it hit me – I’m like the women in the New Testament who followed Jesus, who accompanied him. I think I feel like they might have. I’m desolate that I can’t hear his voice. Benedict had a very distinctive voice. Many mocked it but his voice and speech were melodic and when he spoke of Christ it was like listening to someone in love. I miss his message, even though Francis is saying the same thing in a different way. Benedict touched my head and heart. I’d like to think I’ve been “doing” all along but it wasn’t anchored. Benedict anchored me.
I accompanied him. I’ve often thought that every liturgical year he was pope that he lived Christ’s life. It never failed that people turned on him. It never failed that every lent black clouds would show up, as if he were under trial. You name it but mostly the sex abuse scandal, would be thrown at him. For the most part, he remained silent – “it is you that say I am”. He took the sins on the Church and dragged them up on his back only to be continuously flogged. I prayed for him constantly. I walked with him even though I live on a totally different continent.
The disciples must have been totally bereft after the crucifixion. I only feel part of what they must have felt. They must have wanted to hear the master’s voice. They would have known his voice – the sheep know the shepherd’s voice. They would have been comforted by his presence as much as they were challenged by it. Some were probably like me – lurking behind, not getting too close but not leaving either. They were afraid and fascinated at the same time. Now, they were more afraid. I, too, am afraid even with Francis there. Every attempt to make Francis not be Benedict means that Francis too is stripped of his place as Peter. It doesn’t help that Francis does things very differently. This doesn’t give one comfort. Disciples want the shepherd they love. But, after the Resurrection when the disciples encountered Christ, they did not recognize him right away. He was changed. It took a gesture or words to rouse them to see. It’s all such a beautiful mystery. I must ponder and pray about it more. This is a key for me to move on.
But, tonight, all I know and recognize is that I accompanied him and he is still here. I can still accompany him. He is praying for us, for Francis, for the Church. I pray with Benedict and for him. Francis told us what to pray didn’t he?
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed are thou among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen.
We leave town tomorrow afternoon so this is my Friday entry. May anyone who reads this have a good weekend. God Bless.