Thank You, Pope Benedict XVI

By: Bradley Opitz

How fitting it is for Pope Benedict XVI to step down from his duties as Pope during the Year of Faith.  From the very beginning, the Papacy was set up on the faith Peter had in Jesus and the ability to recognize the promptings of God in his life.  Faith is one of the greatest gifts that we could possibly receive from God.  Peter, by faith has confessed that Jesus is the one the world has been waiting for since the sin if Adam.  Can you imagine what that would be like being in the being in the presence of Jesus at the moment when God the Father reveals to you that he is going to change everything?

“When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’  They replied, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’  He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’  Simon Peter said in reply, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.’  Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah.  For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.  And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’” –Matthew 16:13-19

The role of the Pope has great significance in the Kingdom.  From St. Peter to Benedict XVI the Pope has the task of confessing Jesus as the Messiah in each era.  The Body of Christ depends on the Pope to be the first to proclaim Jesus as Messiah when others are unable to see.  This is not a confession that can be made through simple observation, but it is one that is made through deep prayer and openness the movement of the Holy Spirit.

The Pope leads and directs the Church the through the discernment (prayerful following) of the Holy Spirit. February 28, 2013  will be Pope Benedict’s last day serving the Church as Pope, as you may have herd. The decision of stepping down from the papacy did not come easily. Pope Benedict XVI stated in his address to the Church, “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.”

We thank Pope Benedict XVI for leading us to see and know Christ’s great love in our lives and showing us that faith is not just something we talked about, but faith is something that is actually live.  As we enter into a time of waiting for College of Cardinals to elect a new Pope, we pray that the Holy Spirit leads the Church, as it always has, into a deeper understanding and relationship with Christ in His death and resurrection.

As God is alive and living, so too are the ones who do his will.

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