by Deacon Thomas Frankenfield
Habemus Papam--Benedict XVI! What a beautiful witness to the world of the continued succession of leadership in our Roman Catholic Family. We have a new Pontiff in our midst! We have a gift from the Holy Spirit who is truly in the spiritual image of Peter himself. We have a sense of continuity with John Paul II. We have unambiguousness in the Church's message. We have a simple worker and a humble man. Praise God!
For my part, I personally renew a promise of obedience to Pope Benedict XVI and challenge my fellow clergy, baptized Catholics and the People of God worldwide to do the same. I also enthusiastically look forward to seeing the Holy Spirit work wonders through Pope Benedict XVI.
A Call from the Ordinary
As I continue my reflections on life and how the Holy Spirit touches us in the ordinary parts of our life, I think it is important to look at the selection of our new Pontiff. When I reflect on the Signs of the Times in this area, I am left with the same question that has been on my heart and lips for the past few months. Do you really believe? In this glorious situation of a new pope, this question becomes… Do you really believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to pick the selection of our new Pontiff?
Like many other areas in our lives, we find an easy answer to this question on the surface or in first reaction but our actions and thoughts may mislead our beliefs. Thus, it becomes a real challenge of faith. One of the clearest examples is how the selection of Pope Benedict XVI is being played out in the world press
The Personal Journey
Without a doubt, the selection of Pope Benedict XVI as the Vicar of Christ on Earth has become an area of potential struggle in our faith. How can we avoid a spiritual pollution when we observe the popular media treating this selection as if it were the election of a new Prime Minister or a President? The popular media's thirst for a "hot story" completely loses the sanctified grace role of the Holy Spirit--the core of the entire process. In my opinion, some of the articles have been down-right wrong--sinful!
This bombardment has caused my emotions to vary over the past week. My joyfulness from the coverage of the Holy Spirit alive in our midst has been a fountain of strength and a wellspring of genuine pride. However, as I am bombarded by the popular culture's drastic predictions and the totally irrelevant information from pontiff's youth, I fight an anger welling up inside me. Yet, when I took time to reflect on this portion of the ordinary journey, I clearly see the words of Benedict XVI, "We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism, which does not recognize anything as definitive and has as its highest value one's own ego and one's own desires." Is anything sacred in the pursuit of the desire for the most controversial topic? Jesus taught us to pray, "…lead us not into temptation."
How do we Christians handle these emotions? Our challenge is not to fall into this temptation to prejudge the new pontiff or be polluted by the secularism of those who seek to destroy the Reign of God in our times. When we are in these situations, we need to see it as a personal call to prayer. Take the time to reflect on the Word of God. Spend time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Let go to the Holy Spirit in your lives! Allow a true conversion of heart to happen!
A Call to Conversion
So, to you people of faith, I ask, "Can you let go to the Holy Spirit and trust that we are in the best hands-the hands selected by the Holy Spirit?" This is our challenge today and will remain our challenge for the future. Our challenge will be greatly supported when we allow Jesus to be the Lord of our lives. In a world that relishes more on inside gossip than searching for the truth, letting go to be loved is becoming more difficult.
Look around. Can you allow the same Holy Spirit that came upon the water and formed this earth in Genesis to come upon the water of your life and create a new world in your heart? One of the obvious graces to come forth from the selection of Pope Benedict XVI is our Church showing the world that 115 apostles can let go to the Holy Spirit and allow themselves and those of us they guide to be formed and recreated. Can you do the same?
For Your Reflection
From a Ministry Perspective:
- Do I really believe in the Holy Spirit's role in the selection of Pope Benedict XVI? Am I willing to let go to the Holy Spirit in my life?
- In my ministry, how can I show the Holy Spirit's love to those God sends to me?
From a Family Perspective
- How do I handle misinformation in my family? Do we listen? Do we allow room for the Holy Spirit?
- In my personal Domestic Church's as parent, sibling, widow or single, how can I show the Holy Spirit's love?
I would love your feedback, thoughts, stories and ideas. Please email me.
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