The Spirituality of Benedict XVI| National Catholic Register

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

COMMENTARY: In his contemplation and solitude before the Lord these last several years, earthly affairs gave way to the liturgical mysteries of heaven.

Pope Benedict XVI prays in front of the shrine in the cathedral, Aug. 18, 2005 in Cologne, on the first day of his groundbreaking four-day visit to his native Germany, during the Catholic World Youth Day festival.
Pope Benedict XVI prays in front of the shrine in the cathedral, Aug. 18, 2005 in Cologne, on the first day of his groundbreaking four-day visit to his native Germany, during the Catholic World Youth Day festival. (photo: Patrick Hertzog / AFP/Getty)

Anthony Lilles CommentariesJanuary 3, 2023

“In Jesus … man becomes able to approach God in the depth and intimacy of the relationship of a child to his father.” (Pope Benedict XVI, School of Prayer: The Saints Show Us How to Pray)

Pope Emeritus Benedict lived by a new freedom and hope for the future that he found in the access that Christ alone gives to the heart of God. In his contemplation and solitude before the Lord, earthly affairs gave way to the liturgical mysteries of heaven. Here, he found an intensity of being that politics attempt to thwart, even in the Church. No cog in the wheel of social progress, he long rejected a life driven by ambition. Instead, he strove to be obedient to the God of Jesus Christ.

As foreshadowed in the Jewish Passover, Joseph Ratzinger allowed himself to be led out of the slavery of the daily grind and into the freedom of God’s will, the liberty of love. He found the freedom to pray because, under sacramental signs, the Eternal Son of the Father established in him a new relationship with God, that of a child to his father. 

Enlisted against his will in the German military, Ratzinger was questioned by his sergeant about what he would do after Germany “won” the world war. The young soldier said he wanted to be a priest and was roundly mocked. There would be no need for priests in the new Germany because no one would need salvation, he was told. It dawned on the future pope at that very moment that Germany would not only lose the war but that his country would need him as a priest even more than ever.

His prayers have been marked with the conviction that only God gives a future and freedom for his people.

Every day, he ministered Christian hope unseen by the world through hallowed symbols and signs, priestly gestures and words, sacred space and time — not in the struggle of spirit against the limits of matter, not in grasping for unchanging spiritual heights above the merely material, but in gratitude for an undeserved gift, in humble acceptance of the Crucified Savior. 

When the Word becomes flesh, the sacred invades the profane to find rest in human weakness. Not limited to the most powerful, the Almighty God has chosen to manifest himself in what is least. Ratzinger lived in reverent humility because he cleaved to a humble God. 

READ ON BELOW…

The Spirituality of Benedict XVI| National Catholic Register

Leave a Reply