When the first thing you hear in the morning is the voice of your child announcing, "Mom, I barfed in my bed," it's just not going to be a good day. That notion was cemented by the discovery that he had, indeed, barfed in his bed. . . and on his wall (right where I'm currently doing plastering work), and in between his bed and the wall. They can't ever make it easy. :-\ Of course, while I set to work moving furniture and cleaning up the mess, the sick child ambled into my room, curled up in my bed, and went back to sleep. The upshot is he seems to be doing fine now.
And then I turned on my computer. And found out that not only is it a lousy day to be a mom, but it's a lousy day to be a Catholic, too. :(
Pope Benedict XVI announced his retirement this morning--an unprecedented thing, really. It's been around 600 years since a Pope retired instead of dying in office. I'm a fresh enough Catholic that I didn't even realize a Pope could retire. Though I was a Baptist with no thoughts of conversion at the time, I watched the papal election proceedings after JPII died with moderate interest. I remember seeing the smoke signals from the Vatican, and the announcement that a new Pope had been chosen, Cardinal Ratzinger. For some reason, I remembered the name, even though, since I wasn't Catholic, the question of who would be Pope really held little significance for me. But who hadn't felt some affection or respect for Pope John Paul II? Perhaps that was why I was curious about the man who would replace him.
Since then, nearly eight years have passed. Three of my children have been born during Benedict's relatively brief pontificate, and last year, after a great deal of study and surprise, I made the decision to join the Catholic Church. And I read some of Pope Benedict's writings. I can honestly say I've come to like and respect him, and I truly appreciate the work he has done for the Church. I hope his successor will continue some of the work he has really only begun.
So, I approach the season of Lent with a renewed fervor and sense of urgency. All of us would do well to offer our prayers (and sacrifices) for Pope Benedict, for his successor, and for the men who will be charged with selecting said successor. Oh, don't get me wrong. :) I know very well that our Lord always has a plan. He already has a man in mind for the job. Still, the members of the conclave will have to listen to the Holy Spirit, and hear His voice well. And the man himself will have to sit in the chair of St. Peter and lead the Church well. They will need the prayers of the faithful. As for Pope Benedict, I give thanks for the years he served, and pray that God will bless him in his retirement.
Still, it's hard to believe that by the time I make my first Communion in just a few short weeks, the Catholic Church will have a new Pope. Speculation has already begun, of course. Who will it be? How will he lead? And, in "news" articles written by those who clearly don't have the genius level understanding of this convert of less than a year (did you choke on the sarcasm?), how will the Church handle the "conflict" of "two popes"? Well, I don't know. How is the United States currently handling about four Presidents? Oh, you mean only one of them is actually President right now? I had no idea. I mean, we even call the two Bushes and Clinton "Mr. President" still, don't we? Yes, this is very unusual. But I don't see why it should be so difficult to understand. And for heaven's sake, if you're going to write and publish a national news article about the Catholic Church, do yourself a favor and gain an understanding of how the Church works and what we believe. Otherwise, you just look like an idiot.
Okay, rant over.
God bless us, every one.