I am still going through stages of assimilating the Holy Father declaration that he renounced the ministry of the Bishop of Rome. It is not exactly like the common stages of grief. Although there was an initial denial that the story was true. Didn’t exactly go through anger or depression. More like selfish feelings of loss in having him taken away from me. This was a Pope who never phoned in a speech and you could count on hearing the profound whether he was speaking to the whole world or just to the Vatican police and fire brigade. A Pope who could speak to any audience and considered all audiences of being capable to hear the truth.
My selfishness rebels at the idea of his going into a life of prayer and silence in a monastery. I can overact to this and think like Gandalf “He has fallen into shadow.” Yet this very act reminds me of other basic truths. His new hidden life of prayer reminds me of the rest of the hidden Body of Christ in prayer. Even when Pope Benedict XVI does indeed die he will still be hidden from us but still praying for us. Somehow the acceptance of this has helped me to some degree to see more into the reality of the Communion of Saints as something more than just theological belief. My long years as an atheist did not prepare me for a life of prayer. While I do pray to the saints it mostly feels like a cold one-sided conversation. My acceptance of the theology helps me to make those acts of faith. Faith seeking understanding and understanding seeking faith.