Pope’s retirement-A A +A
Saturday, March 2, 2013
ONE of my favorite hymns is “Up to the Mountain” interpreted by Crystal Bowersox. It stirred my mind when I read the news about Pope Benedict XVI greeting an overflowing crowd in St. Peter’s Square last Feb. 24.
Leading the Angelus, the pontiff appeared for the last time at the window in the Apostolic Palace. He said, “Prayer doesn’t mean isolating one’s self from the world and its contradictions. Prayer leads one back to the path, to action. Christian existence consists in a continuous climbing of the mountain for an encounter with God, in order to descend again bearing the love and strength derived from it, so as to serve our brothers and sisters with the same love of God.”
Being older, one tends to be weaker physically and be less alert mentally. There are those who spend much time and resources to regain their physical wellness and intellectual prowess to counter the ravages of aging. But the wise old person knows that the flesh must die for the spirit to live.
It is therefore prudent for the elderly to rejuvenate the spirit that has been torn between the temporal world and its eternal state. Jesus taught us how. He withdrew to the mountain to commune with His Father. He spent time to pray for guidance for the challenges, burdens and sufferings that lay ahead.
The episode on the Transfiguration tells us of Peter wanting to stay up in the mountain, yet Jesus told him of the sufferings yet to come as they descended. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—-one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.”
When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” (Matthew 17:4-9)
For so long as we are alive, there is no escape from the world. We must be always prepared for sufferings, thus, we need to find quality time with God in isolation. Our sagely Pope Benedict XVI explained his retirement, his going up the mountain in this manner: “But this does not mean abandoning the church, on the contrary, if God asks this of me it is precisely so that I may continue to serve (the church) with the same dedication and the same love with which I have done so till now, but in a way more suited to my age and strength.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 02, 2013.