New Lily

Filling the Shoes of the Fisherman

Pope Benedict XVII

I am moving off the regular topic of fitness today…I guess when it’s my website I can do that!

        I remember when Cardinal Ratzinger became pope. I wondered, like many probably did, how he would fill the shoes of Pope John Paul II.

          Converting to Catholicism and coming into communion with the Holy Roman Catholic Church in 1991, I came into the Church when John Paul II  had already been the pope for 13 years, and I like to say that he is the pope of my conversion (he would serve as pope for another 14 years after that).  Pope John Paul II became for me a source of strength, and remained a light for my faith in the years to come as I was learning more about Catholicism, raising my children, and developing an understanding of what it all meant for my own life as a wife and as a mother.  I related to John Paul II in an oddly personal way. This is something I have heard others say as well. I certainly did not know him, yet he touched us with his charisma, his love of sport, fitness, and the outdoors, and his tremendous optimism.  “Be not afraid”  was his motto, which resonated with youth from all over the world.

           However, if John Paul II was the pope of my conversion, Pope Benedict XVI is the pope of my endearment to the faith.  Known as a world-class theologian and prolific writer, Pope Benedict XVI’s motto is “Cooperatores veritatis” (collaborators in truth).  As my faith has matured, I have appreciated Pope Benedict XVI’s words about the ongoing struggle to understand and “realize in action” what it means to be a Christian in the world today. Surprisingly, his words, especially about prayer, are accessible to lay people. Although a true scholar, he writes in an easy manner about God, saying that “we pray to the Father in heaven, who we know through His Son”.  The “Our Father” prayer has been a focus for the Holy Father, bringing us to a clearer understanding of the richness in this prayer that Christ literally gave to us while he walked the earth.

       And now Pope Benedict XVI continues to be a light for me as in full humbleness he resigns as the Vicar of Christ. What tremendous faith and humility he reveals to us all as he steps down as the Holy Father, “after having repeatedly examined my conscience before God”.  Realizing that his strengths, due to an advanced age, “are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry”.
        This is a truly historic moment.  So many questions will be asked, most importantly…Who will fill the shoes?  This question has a different meaning for me now, and I can thank Benedict XVI for a clearer understanding.  It wasn’t the shoes of John Paul II that Cardinal Ratzinger was to fill.  It was the shoes of that first fisherman, who took his “vows” of ordination from Christ himself.  The Seat of Peter is the fufilment of Christ’s calling his disciples and naming one to have a special (perhaps even burdensome) place of honor.  Besides a fervent prayer for Pope Benedict XVI’s health, our prayers now are focused on the newest one to fill the fisherman’s shoes.

Speak Your Mind