1.2 Billion Sheep without a Shepherd?
Today, as I ready to go out to the college to type up the preparatory edits for my Living the Call of God manuscript on a tight deadline, I get a call. Devastated, my friend tells me our 85 year old Pope Benedict XVI resigned, effective February 20th, a scant ten days from today, citing rapid physical and mental decline. Did you, like me feel like a lost sheep when you heard this news?
I ran the gamut of emotions:
- Positive: God has a new plan.
- Neutral: Called the Unity Prayer Line for God’s best attention through to the election of the new Pope to best serve our needs.
- Negative: Tears escaped when I woke my best friend and both of us felt sad.
I decide to consider speaking in the new book to this shocking news of the second resignation of a sitting Pontiff since Celestine V resigned in 1294. As I look over all thirty-three parables, I choose the Parable of the Lost Sheep for the Serving God, Serving Others and Serving Self Commentaries .
Serving God Commentary:
Among 2.1 billion Roman Catholics possibly feeling like lost sheep, I serve God by trusting, leaving this situation in His good hands. I wonder, though, if I can truly let go and let God without needing to satisfy myself with a why I can accept. And who am I to even think of having the right to accept or not accept the reason of God’s chosen leader of Roman Catholics? God, of course, knows every one of my weaknesses, so I ask Him for His holy strength to bring me back to center.
Serving Others Commentary:
How hard it is for me to focus on serving God by serving others and not allow Satan to push me to perseverate on the media using the Pope’s resignation to give it another bully pulpit to promote the sexual abuse scandal to the forefront in relentless tarring of the Roman Catholic Church! I’m working on keeping the faith and staying out of criticism, judgment and negativity. Will prayer help me gain a positive attitude toward the media, or at least a neutral one? Right now, only God knows the answer to this one.
Serving Self Commentary:
A huge test for me this Pope’s resignation in my lifetime, how lost I feel on so many fronts.
- Mentally: Over-thinking, distracted, preoccupied, full intellectual monkey-mind mode, I am spinning up, down and all around. I can only imagine what the Cardinals are going through.
- Emotionally: My heart goes out first to my Pope Benedict XVI. How he must have prayed since his realization of his physical and mental decline. Like me, do you wonder if he refuses to willingly weaken and die publicly like Pope John Paul II? The sadness about this situation has had my eyes in cry-ready mode since I first began processing the ramifications of this news.
- Spiritually: I call out to my Father. God, why? Why now? Why couldn’t this Pope, like most other Popes, save two (Pope Gregory XII gracefully chose to allow another to be Pope in a political dispute), simply wait for God to take him home?
There, you have the immediate, raw reaction of a cradle Roman Catholic on this historic news of a Pope’s resignation. Will this actually make the final cut of Living the Call of God? Only God knows!