I have always been fascinated with dates, and how events are often tied in with Liturgical Feasts. Although there was nothing spiritual to it, the first iMac was released on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1998 and it’s original color was Bondi Blue. Yes, I know there is no significance, but I thought that was just way too cool.
Now on to more important business. Pope Benedict XVI mad the announcement of his resignation on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. In the calendar for the Extraordinary Form, it is called “The Apparition of the Immaculate Virgin Mary at Lourdes”. For me, this is of no little significance. Personally, I don’t think it has to do with some major, hidden illness. Yet, I’m sure the Holy Father is seeking strength from the Virgin Mary as he embarks on a new path in his life.
What I do see is a resemblance between the life of St. Bernadette and Pope Benedict XVI. Bernadette, a simple down to earth peasant was called to greatness. She was chosen by heaven to impart the message of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate to the world and when she was finished, spend the remainder of her life in Religious Life, hidden from the world. If Bernadette would not have entered the convent, she would have been famous, much like many modern day visionaries. But that is not what God had in store for Bernadette. The saint from Lourdes spent the rest of her days in prayer, sacrificial offering and care for the sick.
Joseph Ratzinger was another called by God to greatness. At the same time, like Bernadette, he is a simple man. Pope Benedict is not one who puts on airs. Although he is probably one of, if not the greatest theologian of our times, he is a man of simplicity and humility. Benedict is a great theologian, who can bring his great and deep theological insights down to a level that even the smallest of children can understand. He is not a man who seeks glory. All Cardinal Ratzinger wanted to do was retire, become a librarian and spend time in prayer, theological studies and writing. Now like Bernadette, Benedict will live the life of a monk, within the Vatican walls, where he can spend time in prayer, reflection, study and possibly writing. I read one post that stated, and I can’t remember where because there are so many statements and posts, that he will take time to walk quietly in the Vatican gardens and pray. And of course, being 85, spend the remainder of his life, however long or short, preparing to meet His maker, who will say: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”