This morning's news of Pope Benedict's resignation shocked the world. His bad health, he cites, is just too severe to carry on the responsibilities of the office.
Thank you, Benedict XVI, for your service and Catholic witness. Whether a fan or not, he committed himself to the cause. It's not an easy job, especially in today's increasingly complex world.
We pray, too, for his health. Retirement will allow him to better attend to his personal and physical needs. Be well, Benedict.
As you read pundits everywhere weighing in on today's developments, you can't help but ask, "What's next?" To be sure, there will continue to exist disagreements over liturgy and theology, ecclesiology and science, ethics and morality, dogma and tradition. Conservative and Liberal. Orthodoxy. Heterodoxy. And, everything in-between.
Will he be charismatic? A good communicator? Have the right vision? Pastoral prowess?
Depending on what's important to you, the questions abound. I know I've made a "short list" in my head of what I'd like to see in the next Pontiff. I imagine many are crafting similar lists. These things matter. It's important. Our faith - today, tomorrow, and in the future - depends on it.
Even so, let us not meet this moment with a hyper-intensity (and sensitivity!) that overshadows our reliance on the Holy Spirit's agency. In the end it will be the Spirit's in-dwellings, working in tandem with Cardinal electors, that will call forth and elect a new Pontiff.
The moment we find ourselves in - amidst conjecture and spin, news coverage and blogs, articles and radio segments - shouldn't only be about our human tendency to speculate and prescribe. The fanfare, hoopla, ornate caps, gowns, and shoes of it all will no doubt be reason to get excited. There's greater depth than this, though.
This is a moment for prayer. Reflection and contemplation. Discernment. Deep thinking. Recollection and remembrance.
Our pause to do the inner work required of faith matters, too.
The Holy Spirit is beckoning us forward.
Are we listening?
Come, Holy Spirit!
Ryan J. Hoffmann | Senior Director of Enrollment Management | firstname.lastname@example.org