Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Let us move forward in the joy of the Risen Lord"

At the risk of being a participant in beating Pope Benedict's decision to resign to death, I had an experience yesterday that I want to share.

To do so I have to back-up to Sunday when I spent time reflecting on what I was going to do for Lent, not give up, but do. Specifically, how I was going to pray and reflect more. As I have shared previously, it is fruitful for me to pick a book of Scripture to read and re-read several times at the pace of three chapters a day (one in the morning, one at noon, and one in the evening). The book I chose for this year is 1 Corinthians. I determined that if I started yesterday, reading three chapters a day, I would read this Pauline epistle through nine times over Lent (Ash Wednesday through Wednesday of Holy Week).

While reading chapter three yesterday afternoon, a chapter which begins with the apostle rebuking the Church in ancient Corinth for being so factional and fractional, I was struck by what St. Paul asks them, rhetorically, at the beginning of verse 5: "What then is Apollos? What is Paul?" Then, answering his own question, the apostle writes, "Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building" (1 Cor. 3:5b-9 ESV).

In his response to the news of the Holy Father's resignation, Fr. Julián Carrón, leader of Communion & Liberation, wrote: "With this gesture, as imposing as it is unexpected, the Pope witnesses to us such a fullness in the relationship with Christ that he surprises us with an unprecedented act of freedom that puts the good of the Church before all else. Thus he shows everyone that he is completely entrusted to the mysterious design of an Other."

This reminded me of the words Pope Benedict spoke from the central loggia on St. Peter's Square on 19 April 2005, his first words as Roman Pontiff:
After the great Pope John Paul II, the Cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble laborer in the vineyard of the Lord.

The fact that the Lord knows how to work and to act even with inadequate instruments comforts me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers.

Let us move forward in the joy of the Risen Lord, confident of his unfailing help. The Lord will help us and Mary, his Most Holy Mother, will be on our side. Thank you

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