So I woke up this morning, as I often do, and sleepily grabbed my good friend the I-Phone while I stumbled from bed. (I wish I could say I made a morning offering first... I used to, daily. After I became a mom, I made a morning offering and said, "Dear Lord, I make this morning offering for all the rest of my days. Please apply it forward, because I'm going to forget otherwise. Amen." I hope this was efficacious...)
Anyway, I start scrolling down the Facebook feed wall (where were we before such technology? I mean really... the 80's were the Dark Ages.) And immediately I see The News of the Day: Pope Benedict XVI retires at the end of the month.
Yes, I found this information surprising. But I read his statement, and it makes sense: he's getting on in years, he doesn't feel physically equal to the ginormous task anymore, and--while it hasn't been done since the Middle Ages--he is legitimately allowed to abdicate. God bless him. A great man, a brilliant philosopher, a worthy pontiff.
What I found more surprising was the shock, horror, and disbelief of my fellow Catholic friends. Tales of how the news ruined their day, and how they are having trouble functioning puzzles me.
Maybe I'm just being cold and detached, and am numb with the duties of motherhood--and okay, maybe I had a "thing" for the charismatic figure of John Paul--but it seems there is a plan to elect a new pope. He will be given the same graces as all the popes since Peter, and--as Mark Shea mentioned in his blog today--he likely won't take the name "Judas I."
Fellow Catholics, I understand we've been burnt out with elections of unfortunate outcomes, especially here in the US. I understand there is always a lingering fear that somehow, with every conclave, the cardinals just might manage to find the closest eminence to an antichrist. That we will be treated to a reincarnation of Pope Alexander VI, and we'll have a power-hungry, immoral Shepherd of Rome who will merrily father illegitimate children.
As exciting as all this is to contemplate, I'm sorry: I don't think it's going to happen. And even if we assume the worst case scenario: this is the Church of Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom, the first and foremost Shepherd of Souls. What have we to fear?
Well I'll tell you one thing we really do need to fear around here: ice. :) Two and a half feet of snow is greedily drinking in the rain as we speak, in time for a nice freeze tonight. Brrr....
Here's some pics right after the first day of being dumped upon by the Blizzard of 2013. Very impressive stuff. My kids loved it, of course. Here's 10 year old Annemarie:
3 year old Cecilia, looking at "Yots and YOTS of snow Mom!!"
9 year old Claire trying to shovel out the driveway. You can see she's standing on three feet of snow as she attempts this:
16 month old Felicity. Yep, she'd be buried in the snow:
And as a follow-up to my last post, I'm throwing in some recently scanned photos of yours truly, at age three, when I really loved snow. Here's me with my indoor snowman: I apparently wasn't feeling great and was so upset I couldn't go out that my mom brought snow in. The snowman's in a pan I still roast chicken in! :) (Check out enormous photo of my infant face looming in the background on the massive TV in front of braided rug; I was still an only child at this point, ha ha):
My Mom and me and sleds:
In conclusion to this hodgepodge post: today's the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. I've been blessed to visit Fatima, Knock, Medjugorje (okay, I'm not canonically counting that, never fear) and Lourdes, and the latter definitely holds a special place in my heart and memory. To have the actual site of the apparition still there, intact: the grotto of stone, with the miraculous spring flowing from under it, the ability to bottle, drink, and bathe in said water... it was literally a full-immersion experience in the love of the Blessed Mother, and her Son who sent her to look out for us. I will never forget looking at the burbling spring under the plexiglass, thinking how graces are always flowing towards us. Surely enough for another Conclave.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!