I’m not a fan of the “I’m-now-going-to-cook-supper-and-then-do-the-laundry” kind of social media posts. Too much information making too much “noise” in my opinion….
However, on February 28th, I did make an exception. That’s the day that my beloved Papa Benedict abdicated the Chair of Peter. And that’s the day that I made an exception and let the world know what shoes I’d be wearing for part of the day. Seems silly on the surface, but it was deeply meaningful for me. Here’s what I posted:
“In addition to my ongoing prayers, I’m wearing red shoes today as a small act of love and solidarity with Papa Benedict. Like him, I will remove mine when he removes his at 2 pm CST. I will miss you, always love you, and am eternally grateful to you.”
Truly, wearing red shoes was a simple, small act of love from a woman unknown personally to him, but a woman who is united to him through Christ and through the Eucharist, and who desired deeply to do something tangible – however small and seemingly insignificant – to make a demonstrable effort to illuminate the love and gratitude that is felt for him in my heart. Couldn’t think of anything better than wearing my cute red leather shoes.
It’s been three days now without Papa Benedict. I ache in my heart for my him, but also feel a gladness for him that he is at peace as he embarks upon the sunset of his life. Though he is quite elderly, and more recently becoming increasingly frail, still I have felt safe within his fatherly guidance of the Church these past eight years.
But I miss him. I miss his authority and spiritual fatherhood. I miss knowing that he is at the helm of the boat of St. Peter leading us all toward the kingdom. It is odd, because it is like in some ways that he has died, but he hasn’t. He is still with us, though in a different capacity. And, I’m glad that he’s still here. It’s just that I’m finding sede vacante truly painful.
I have quietly noted and been concerned about his apparent infirmity of late, and have been truly amazed at the pace he has kept despite this in his responsibility to 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide, as well as the entire human race – I count myself enormously blessed to be one among those souls. I can’t imagine this level of responsibility! God bless him for his YES! The world has benefitted from his loving leadership in so many beautiful and magnificent ways, though it may go unnoticed or unappreciated – or even resented (what?!?) – by those who do not know or love Papa Benedict as their spiritual father.
I honor him for radiating to me and to the world the love and person of Christ through his words and deeds. I honor him as my spiritual father, the Vicar of Christ on earth. I honor him for bringing his own person and creation and gifts to the Chair of Peter in great love and humility. I didn’t know that I could love another Pope as much as I loved…and still love Blessed John Paul II the Great. But, indeed, in a very short time, I came to know and love the man whom the Holy Spirit chose to replace my beloved JPII. He has taught me so much about the Truth Who is Jesus Christ and the Church He left us. I, and so many others, will be unpacking his works for the rest of my life as I continue my personal journey to holiness through the quest for union with the heart of Christ.
My feminine intuition informs me that he has only a very short time left on this earth – I could be wrong, and perhaps he will live much longer than I intuit. But, I have felt as I have looked upon him in recent weeks and months that our time with him on earth is very limited. And, I have been quietly grieving him a bit even before his announcement of abdication, although certainly that announcement greatly deepened the grief. I did not anticipate his abdication and was quite surprised as most people seem to be. I thought he would die in the Chair as most others do. I truly believe Papa Benedict knows something profound about what is forthcoming in the world, and is cooperating with the grace of the Holy Spirit. This is not an accidental or impulsive decision. It is an act of great humility and charity, love and virtue. And, I love him for it.
Holy Spirit, please send us another holy, faithful, virtuous, strong Pope after your Own Sacred Heart. Protect Your Church, Lord. Inspire and convict our cardinals to choose the man that You choose to be our next Pope. Jesus, I trust in You!
God bless you Papa! You are my gentle, German Shepherd always. I love you, and thank you from the depth of my soul. I will pray for you daily, and will think of you often lovingly. It gives me great joy – and some tears as well – to ponder you spending your final days in quiet rest and peace, praying unceasingly for the world, sharing your great wisdom and knowledge in continued writing, and honoring the Lord by offering your gift of music on your beloved piano. I am eternally grateful for your virtue, your strength and courage, your intellect, and the loving, charitable, and humble way you demonstrated the face of Christ to me and to the world, leading the Church in rather unprecedented, rather dark times.
Well done, good and faithful servant!
I will think of you each time I wear my red shoes….