Habemus papam

Habemus papam? Yes! At the beginning of the Holy Father´s last Homily, given on Ash Wednesday, I was struck by the words:

“Tonight we are gathered around the tomb of the Apostle Peter, to request his intercession for the Church’s journey at this particular time, renewing our faith in the Supreme Pastor…”

At these words my mind jumped immediately ahead and I thought that yes, he is reminding us that we must still trust in the Holy Father. But that was not what he was saying at all. He continued:

“Our faith in the Supreme Pastor, Christ the Lord.” What a humble and beautiful thought from one who is the Supreme Pastor of the Church on earth.

Throughout his homily, the Holy Father continued this theme, focusing on the words of the Lord spoken by prophet Joel, “Turn to me with all your heart.” And when at the end of the Mass we all applauded for as long as we could, until he had to stop us by beginning the final prayer, we could see that he was moved, but also, I think, a little uncomfortable, and that is what is most beautiful of all. His whole work as Pope has been to lead us toward Christ, and this was the message he wished to leave with us.

Yes, we do always have a Pope! The Pope’s role is to be the Supreme Pastor of the flock, but only as the representative of Christ. Our true Pastor, the Good Shepherd, is always with us. With what gentle humility Benedict again sought to turn our eyes from himself to Christ and remind us that Popes come and go, but Christ always remains!

About Br. Dominic Sternhagen

Br. Dominic grew up on the West Coast near Portland, Oregon, and attended the Seminary of Christ the King run by Benedictines in Mission, British Columbia. He joined the Candidacy in 2004, and did his Novitiate and year of Humanities in Cheshire, and Philosophy in Thornwood. He spent three years in Ireland as Prefect of Studies at the Dublin Novitiate before completing his Master's degree in Philosophy in Rome. He is currently doing youth work in the greater Philadelphia area.
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