Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was born to eternal life today! How can we forget that April 19, 2005, when he was elected Pope! I was out visiting the families of the parish community of St. Paul for the annual blessing of the families. I learned in a house of his election. I immediately returned to the church to ring the bells in celebration and follow the live television. His first words impressed me: ‘Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II, the cardinals elected me, a simple and humble worker in the Lord’s vineyard. I am consoled by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and act even with insufficient tools. In the joy of the risen Lord, trusting in his permanent help, we go forward. The Lord will help us and Mary Most Holy Mother of him will be on our side.’ I was moved and I realized that tears wet my cheeks. Certainly his pontificate was marked by those first words. Man of God, prayerful, enlightened theologian, capable of writing another Council by himself with his resignation from the papal throne in February 2013. I joyfully remember the meeting with him in giving him a gift on behalf of the Community of the Archbishop’s Seminary of Crotone -S.Severina, as Rector. His sweetness and shyness, his smile, his words, his almost velvety hands… how much tenderness and trust they gave me! A man of unparalleled culture, with a farsighted gaze towards all of humanity, he paved the way for the possible encounter between faith and reason. A man of prayer in supporting the path of the Church, guided by his successor, Pope Francis, knowing how to stand at the foot of the Cross and contemplate it. A spirituality that projected him to look to the future with hope, and if on the one hand he was able to preserve the tradition of the Church, on the other he showed us a new, modern vision of the Church itself. While I thank God for this holy Pope that the Lord has given us, I thought, for tonight’s “Te DEUM, albeit quickly, of writing the prayer that I enclose. United in the common prayer of thanksgiving and suffrage, I embrace you and bless you. Don Pino”
Lord this year which ends remembering as always Saint Sylvester,
closes under the banner of the birth to eternal life of the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI!
We thank you, Lord, for this pastor with an immense heart
for which always “Christmas is God’s answer
to the drama of humanity in search of peace”.
Humble worker in your vineyard, Lord, taught us that:
“Without truth, charity slips into sentimentality”
and love turns into an empty shell
that everyone fills arbitrarily.
Immense and inextinguishable gift,
to the Church and to all humanity
the beauty, sweetness and fruitfulness of a shepherd
able to speak of the depth of love
beyond the “contingent emotions and opinions of the subjects,
an overused and distorted word,
until it means the opposite”.
We bless you, Lord, at the end of this year,
together with Benedict XVI,
who “stands before you, the ultimate judge of life”,
friend and brother who has already suffered its insufficiencies yourself”.
And again: “Where God disappears,
the absolute dignity of human life also disappears”.
We entrust to you his precious soul that he experienced
until the end of his earthly days
“friendship with you, the judge of his life
and you allowed him to walk through the dark door of death with confidence”
worshiping you incessantly
he trained us in hope
“You, God, guide the Church, always support her
and especially in difficult moments”
because “the Church is alive, it is a us”
a communion of brothers and sisters in the Body of Jesus Christ,
that unites us all in one body.
Lord, thank you for Benedict XVI,
example of a great teacher and humble shepherd,
who knows how to step aside,
without “abandon the cross,
but remaining in a new way with the crucified Lord,
in the service of prayer,
remaining in the enclosure of St. Peter”.
It is through that “you have given us
so many sunny days with a light breeze,
days when fishing was abundant;
there were also times when things were rough
and the contrary wind, as in all the history of the Church,
and you, Lord, seemed to sleep.
He has always known that you are always in that boat
and he always knew the Church’s boat wasn’t his,
it’s not ours, it’s yours.”
Finally, Lord God, we pray for us:
his life lesson given, offered and consumed
until the last moment of his earthly pilgrimage,
be an example to us and help us strip ourselves of the hypocrisy of a faith without you
to clothe us with your grace
and give new life to our Christian vocation.
So be it.
+ Don Pino