Today, April 19, for the third time in 100 years, the new pope was elected just two days after the conclave: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. I heard one radio commentator explain the bear on the new pope’s coat of arms: The new Holy Father likens himself to a legendary bear that, upon attacking the horse of the pope, was forced to carry the load to Rome on his furry back. This pope, who has already proven himself to be a fierce defender of Catholic dogma, may indeed lack the personal warmth of his predecessor — and yet, he is no less a son of Mary. We must pray for him, that he will hear clearly all that the Spirit wants to do and say in the Church of the present day.
This pope took his name because of his great devotion to St. Benedict. And so it seems fitting to quote another German “Benedict,” Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, who in a poem entitled “I am always in your midst” (speaking for Saint Angela Merici), says:
You’ve recognized it: that is what God likes—
Patient waiting till the hour comes
That he determines; in the dark to wander
As the Spirit’s quiet movement leads us,
And unseen by human eyes,
To gather the flowers that bloom along the path.
The little buds daily given us at the hand of the Mother
Of the Son of God—
He takes them to his heart: there they bloom
And never wither; their fragrance
Spreads sweet and strong, with wondrous healing power,
Over all the world, closing wounds
That people’s “mighty deeds” produce in it.
Just as St. Scholastica, the twin of St. Benedict, loved and supported her dear brother throughout his lifetime, may we “little buds” of the Spirit continue to love and support our brother, Pope Benedict XVI. May Our Lady gather us close and take our prayers to the heart of Jesus.
Under the Mercy,