Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Pope Benedict XVI
Yesterday the Catholic world was rocked with the announcement that Pope Benedict XVI plans to resign at the end of the month. I watched facebook as my Catholic friends all started posting. Inevitably, jokes surfaced in a matter of hours. My family all had reactions as well as myself at the news which surprised me.
Growing up protestant, the whole pope idea did not really register with me. In truth, I still haven’t given it much thought. Here sits an old guy across the ocean leading a bunch of Catholics. Nice ideals, but how does it affect me? The fact of the matter is I don’t understand much about the office of pope. I know the first pope was Peter. Jesus told him to be the rock of the church. This is what the pope is. He is our rock, our shepherd. I have learned I will defend him and respect him. Beyond that, I don’t give him or the office much thought until yesterday.
As I said, everyone living in my house was saddened by Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. In fact, later my son said he thought about it all day. I thought of it a lot as well. I am saddened because of something I hadn’t put into words until yesterday, the sanctity of life. The Catholic Church’s platform in all areas stands fast to the sanctity of all life whether the talk is about abortion, execution, the poor, and a number of other areas. As I get older, I watch for the sanctity in the elderly.
As the world watched Pope John Paul II (JPII) grow weaker in his old age, I marveled at his gifts. He still held a viable life. People respected him, followed his lead, and learned from him. In our society, we are inundated with commercials and social ideals that being young is the better life. We need to get rid of our wrinkles, gray hair, and age spots. (I confess I do color my hair, but I am keeping the wrinkles. I earned them.) The Catholic Church didn’t put JPII out to pasture as he became infirm; instead, the younger generation helped facilitate his work. They learned from his wisdom. We are going to miss those lessons from Pope Benedict XVI. I am saddened by that. Yes, I know he will continue to work for all of us and he will pray, but he will be lost to the public eye. We will not see the sanctity of his life as he grows infirm.
At the church I attend, an old priest assists Father during the Eucharist. I think this is beautiful. A couple of years back, a series of commercials made my heart sing. They were about grandchildren going to their grandparent’s music performance or some such idea. I love that. The elderly need to have a viable job in their lives. I plan to be doing something even if it is plotting to take over the care center when I am old. In fact this morning my cousin asked me if we will ever stop fighting. I hope not. Let me explain.
Five years ago when I started becoming very sick, I started to worry. My health did a huge nosedive. Three years ago as I waited for the military to decide if I no longer was viable in the work place I became scared. I was looking down the barrel of not being able to work anymore. What could I give back to society? What would be my usefulness? Granted, I knew I had the tasks of raising my kids and cleaning house, but I have always wanted more. Our society doesn’t place much value in these gifts and I was feeling pretty pathetic. My cousin who is my age also has struggle with her health. I can imagine this is how the elderly begin to feel. I have learned a lot in the last three years of my retirement. I do a lot with my writing and praying. Fortunately for me, I have a son who reminds me how much he values our cleaner (note not super clean) house and having me home for him. I do get frustrated though when finances take a nose dive and my husband insists I can’t get a job. But I do have value as do the elderly. I will fight for this as does my cousin and if I know us well, we will continue to fight.
Pope Benedict XVI will also continue to have value as he continues his journey. I pray we get to keep tabs on it and he shows the world the amazing aspects of growing old.
Blessings to you all.