I have witnessed so many wonderful events in my sixty-two years of life! Some things could only have been dreamed about in someone’s wildest dreams or imagined in the most fertile of imaginations. Televisions, transistor radios, electric typewriters, color televisions, toaster ovens, microwaves, cellular telephones, computers, Walkmans, personal computers, pop-top cans, smart phones, and all the stuff you might be remembering that I have failed to mention! It strikes me as a bit beyond imagining, however, that I am alive to witness a Pope resign from office. Now this is a modern marvel!

So what does this do to you? Is your faith shaken? Is there somehow “less church” because the Pope has abdicated? Or does it even matter to you?

Like all of the major marvels that have advanced the cause of modernity and the growth of humanity, the resignation of the Pope will have long lasting and deep consequences. It is bold and it is courageous—it is innovative and ennobling—it touches the mind and the heart—it stirs the psyche and the spirit. It is one of the most serious acts one man can do who has faith.

What kind of courage does it take to freely lay down power and influence? What kind of confidence must one have in the future when one allows the future he controls to be given over to the hands of others? What kind of faith must one possess in what he has accomplished to allow someone else to take it further? What kind of humility is found in one who can understand that death may not be the only way one faces immortality?

As “Emeritus” is added to Pope Benedict XVI’s title, and some of us think we have lived long enough to “have seen it all;” be mindful: we live in the time of the Church. We profess a belief in things that are SUPERnatural—beyond us—above us. Jesus has entrusted His mission of salvation to the Church as the means of sanctification and holiness. The Pope in his resignation is giving us an example of faith, an example of courage, and an example of humility. Once again he is showing us the way to the human face of God—to Jesus Christ! He teaches in this act that God is not finished with the Church any more than He is finished with humanity. I have a feeling we haven’t seen anything yet. . . Stay tuned—stay faithful!

Thank you, Your Holiness, from the Faithful of the Diocese of La Crosse!

We’ll pray with you and for your successor at Sunday Mass!

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