11 September 2006

On the Pope

There is something that draws me to Pope Benedict XVI, something that draws me to him even more than I was drawn to Pope John II. I am not entirely sure that I can put it into words, but I will do what I can.

The more that I read the current Holy Father and watch him as he carries out his ministry the more attracted I am to him. I feel somehow connected to him. Much of what he says resonates deeply within me; what he says I know to be true.

It seems to me that John Paul II was a philospher to his core, and philosophers have never much attracted me. Benedict, on the other hand, seems to be a poet to his core and this shines marvelously through his homilies, speeches and books.

There is a mark of quiet confidence about Pope Benedict, and yet it is a confidence that also clearly needs direction from time to time. If you watch carefully, you can see the Holy Father look toward Archbishop Marini, the papal master of ceremonies, with a child-like look that seems to ask, "What do I do now?" And then Benedict confidently strides away.

Pope Benedict has described himself several times as the Lord's beast of burden, an image I find particularly appealing and one to which I relate well. The Holy Father will do all that is asked of him even if he would rather retire to the mountains. It is, perhaps, this resolve to lay his own desires aside that draws me to him.

He has been called the "smiling Pope" by some because Benedict always has a warm and genuine smile ready to radiate his love. There is also a quiet humor to him, never boisterous or over-the-top, but always present nonetheless. He knows the seriousness of his mission but he takes himself none too seriously.

I cannot help but think - and truly believe - that if the Holy Father and I knew each other that we could quite easily be very good friends. I should very much like to sit down with Pope Benedict for a brief visit or even a good game of chess.

This Holy Father inspires me deeply and never ceases to teach me new things or to remind me of old things, all the while keeping the focus on Christ Jesus.

Ad multos annos, Heilege Fater!


  1. Anonymous2:42 PM

    Dear Father!
    You write so eloquently and humbly!
    I am in awe of your dynamic clarity of focus on the openness of the Holy Father, his giving himself, his utter delight in the gift of total immersion of priestly service.
    He reminds me of JXXIII in decorum, JPI in that eye to eye contact and genuine smile. His reference to not knowing how long he has can be alarming, but also realistic for a man of his age, and the weight of the burdens of this Church of ours for him to bear, to lead, to guide!
    Since he revels in the art of music I can imagine the creative conversations he has with God, totally vulnerable, seeing, hearing the stillness of His voice, the sight of Christ in the face of the children of all men.
    You hit the nail on the head when you say that he has accepted the papacy and does all that is asked of him, placing himself last, but nonetheless giving great witness to the entire Church.
    Just look at his Bavarian visit: a homeland that has declined in so many ways with regard to the faith. He boldly stepped in to the thick of it, making verbal mistakes, creating controversy, witnessing to the fallablesness of man, and the infallablility of the Pope.
    I hope and pray you have such a chance to sit and ponder over a game of chess!
    How can you pass this along to all the folks with whom you come in contact on a daily basis, in person, or on the blog? In prayer and in witness just as our Holy Father!
    Thank YOU good and faithful servant!

  2. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!