As we hear of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s health concerns, I remember when I was able to see him and what I learned. In eighth grade, back in 2009 (I know I’m young), I got to go to Rome with my family for Holy week and attend a few of the liturgies which Benedict celebrated. As a younger boy, I remember having the preconceptions that Benedict would be an old scary German. I mean during the first half of my childhood Pope Saint John Paul II was Pope and his legacy was the epitome of a young joyous Pope. So, with this being my first time really appreciating Rome and the Pope and all they had to offer I was apprehensive of Benedict’s ability to truly make apparent the joy of the Easter season.
As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I was wrong. Benedict’s health then was indeed very poor, this being only a few years before he stepped down. And I remember that even then there was talk of his shortness of days. But, his joy in the celebration of the liturgies was tangible. He preached from his chair, as is his right, and walked very slowly with help, but his voice was clear and did indeed preach the Good News. So, as his health becomes a concern I like to remember that regardless of our physical struggles, be they the inevitable seasonal chest cold or tiredness from midterms, I can always find strength and joy in the Lord as Benedict has and does.
-St. Benedict, Pray for us.