Surprise events like Pope Benedict XVI’s announcement today that he will resign at the end of the month bring a wide range of emotions depending on the individual. For starters, losing one of the greatest theologians to serve as pope is distressing. I sorted through various feelings, arriving in staccato fashion, in a matter of minutes. I soon realized that my primary concern was that an old nemesis, apprehension to change, was ascending to the top of the list.
This has been a nuisance companion dating back to my pre-memory days. It all started when we moved from my first home, an apartment, to a two-family house. I was seventeen months old at the time and my mother wasn’t with me because she was at the hospital having my first sister. Life seemed out of control that day, as I have been told! Other changes, perhaps not intentionally disruptive, nevertheless left their impressions over the years. In all cases, however, fallible humans were involved.
But this will not be an issue as a new pope is chosen. This verse keeps resonating: “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”1
What more reassurance do I need than these words from our Savior? The Holy Spirit will guide the coming conclave once again as it elects the 267th pope. We’re in the best of hands!
1 – Matthew 16:18 as quoted in “What Catholics Really Believe,” Nineveh’s Crossing, Novi, Michigan, 2010