Lent to us

For Catholics all over the world, the lenten season is a season of sacrifice.  A lot of people who are of the same faith give up something for at least 40 days as a way of following Jesus Christ’s example.

In this day and age, “sacrifices” include not eating meat, giving up coffee (for a while), maybe chocolates..  I have often heard of these things and it is nothing new to me.

The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, the 265th Pope (thank, Wiki!) is something new to me.  My first reaction was “what????” Why couldn’t he just stay as Pope until he is called to join the Father in heaven?  Why can’t he do what my favorite Pope, John Paul did?  Why, why, why?

When Pope John Paul II visited the Philippines, I was able to see him riding in his bulletproof buggy waving at everyone, waving at ME (or so my heart says).  Just by this tiny wave of his hand and a glance, was enough to make my tears trickle down my eyes.  That was unexplainable to me but I understood.  I was awed, I was touched, I was blessed.  He is my Pope.  He is my hope.   If he made me feel that way without even saying anything to me, I think if he touched me I would faint.

His death was something that was hard for me to accept.  That day, it felt like  big rock was placed on my chest and inside, there was this niggling panic.  Is this a sign of bad things to come? Mothere Theresa is gone.  Now the Pope?

It took a while for me to like Pope Benedict.  Very childish I was on this but after some time, I have come to accept that there is no need to panic.  We have a new Pope.

Who has now resigned, citing old age and frailty.

While praying about this, I came to realize, what good timing.  We are all trying to “sacrifice” our little joys for this season but Pope Benedict did a greater sacrifice himself.  He has given up his power as the head of the Catholic faithful for their own good.  He believes he is not strong enough to perform his duties as the Pope and isn’t that admirable — for someone to accept and admit a weakness.  He would rather see the church led by someone more physically able than him.   I remember seeing photos of Pope John Paul when he was really weak.  And now I recall feeling sorry for him, thinking that he had served the Lord most of his life and maybe he should be resting on a comfortable chair enjoying the fruits of his labor.   He has been photographed several times nodding off.  And I think of my own grandfather and I think he shouldn’t have to work at that age.

I think God isn’t that demanding.  He understands Pope Benedict.  He knows.  That’s my God.  And I know John Paul is smiling from above.  And smiling at ME.  Or so my heart says.

No need to panic. He was just LENT TO US. He will lend us someone new soon.


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