Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Young Pope Benedict XVI

As our Scriptures and our tradition have shown, God uses the most unlikely things and people to reveal God's presence to the world: burning bushes and agonizing crosses; virgins and sinners; the aged infertile and the newborn babe. And God does not care that the instruments he uses are imperfect (if he did, imagine how long he'd have to wait). As quoted today in Canada.com: "'God has taken the most unusual people and placed them in places of authority . . . and used them for His purposes,' said Adam Cardinal Maida of the U.S. 'So I believe that Cardinal Ratzinger, with all his gifts and talents and even some of his shortcomings, will somehow be able to reach others.'"

No matter what you might feel about the election of Pope Benedict XVI, one thing is certain. All of us still have the work of God to do. Pope Benedict XVI has declared in his first homily that Christian unity will be his primary work. So in the spirit of St. Benedict who in the 6th century led his community of monks to live their Christian spirituality through ora et labora, prayer and work, and with the humble greeting of the 21st century Pope Benedict XVI, let us put our divisions aside and get back to the work of proclaiming the Gospel to a world in need.

For those who still might judge our new Pope by his "insufficient tools," I offer you these words of a young Josef Ratzinger from 1963 who participated in the revolutionary work of the Spirit that was Vatican II. These words are quoted at the beginning of Christianity and the Religions: From Confrontation to Dialogue by Jacques Dupuis, SJ, (2000).
The servility of the sycophants (branded by the genuine prophets of the Old Testament as “false prophets”), of those who shy from and shun every collision, who prize above all their calm complacency, is not true obedience....What the Church needs today, as always, are not adulators to extol the status quo, but men whose humility and obedience are no less than their passion for truth; men who brave every misunderstanding and attack as they bear witness; men who, in a word, love the Church more than ease and the unruffled course of their personal destiny. (From “Free Expression and Obedience in the Church” by Josef Ratzinger, The Church: Readings in Theology, ed. Hugo Rahner, 1963.)
United in love, let us work and pray for all who love the Church.