Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world this morning with the announcement that he would resign the Papacy at the end of this month. He not only caught Catholics worldwide unaware, but even his close friends claim they didn’t know he was going to do it.
He’s old and he’s sick. He’s probably tired, too. And while 85 is not ancient, as Popes go, he’s still getting up there. He had a stroke in the early 1990s and I believe I read he has heart problems, too. They say he tried to resign before becoming Pope, but stayed on as a favor to his good friend Pope John Paul II.
You know what I think? I think he woke up this morning and had a moment of personal revelation. Revelation about what, you say? It’s waking up and realizing things have to change and change now. Right now. That you can’t go one minute longer with things the way they are. You can’t do what you did yesterday without dire consequences or even. . . death.
Those of us with chronic illnesses known these moments well. Some of us know only one. Some of us know many more.
It’s waking up in the morning and you can’t swing your legs out of bed. All those errands you have to do will have to be done by someone else.
It’s waking up and your hands don’t work anymore. All those articles you were going to write aren’t going to get written until your hands (hopefully) come back to life or you finally install that Dragon software that’s hiding on a top shelf.
It’s not being able to get through the day without intense pain unless you rest a few minutes an hour. You didn’t have to do that yesterday, but you do today.
Personal revelation. Not crying about it. No wringing of hands. Simply knowing your life has to change and it has to change now.
I think that’s why Pope Benedict did what he did. I think with all his ills and the fact that he’s getting on in years, all the hatred directed at him over his stances on modern issues, just. . . well, all of it. I think he woke up and said, “Lord, I simply can’t do this anymore. Forgive me.” And then he wrote his formal resignation and shocked the world.
If you haven’t had one of these moments yet, trust me when I say you will. It may come at 18. Like Pope Benedict, it may not come until you’re 85. But a personal revelation moment will come. What will you do? You’ll have to change. You’ll have to change right now. My prayer is that you will be ready.