Well, I just stepped out of poustinia today to check my e-mails for urgent messages, and heard the news. Pope Benedict is going to resign at the end of the month. I am in a bit of a state of shock at the moment.
First thoughts: let us pray for our beloved Holy Father with great gratitude and solicitude. This cannot have been easy for him to discern on a personal level, and the immediate reactions/responses to it must not be easy either. He is a good and (I believe) holy man, but he is human nonetheless and needs our prayers at this time.
I think I will continue the blog. He is still a shepherd, still a bishop, still the Pope for the next few weeks too, and I began this blog because I believe his shepherding of us has been one of the great, and largely unheralded, gifts of God to His Church in the 20th century. There is still much for us to learn from this good, gentle man of God.
And... let us pray with great peace and great seriousness for the Church. This is a near-unprecedented event in Church history (that one medieval Pope resigned, whose name eludes me), and of course a conclave is always a time of great importance. Let us pray... and have great trust and confidence in God's great care of His people.
There is only one Shepherd ultimately, and all the little assistant shepherds are just that - God's assistants, his ministers, his 'silly servants', as I said a couple days ago. We are in His hands, and He is caring for all of us, Joseph Ratzinger no less than you and me, in all this.
More to say tomorrow - back to poustinia now.