"The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air..."
That quote from Lord of the Rings is so dramatic, isn't it, but it was one of my first thoughts this morning. No doubt you've heard the news rocking the Catholic world today - Pope Benedict XVI has tendered his resignation as of February 28th, a mere 17 days hence, citing concerns that his health cannot take the rigours of the 'job'. And I, along with the rest of the world and even his closest friends and confidantes, are shocked and saddened by this news. I thought for sure today was April Fools Day and the Vatican had devised this elaborate joke to play on us. But no. It's too shocking to not be real. That, and it's only February 11th.
No sooner had I read the headlines than the speculations for who will replace him and the digs for every past 'sin' began.
"It must be because of the difficult scandals he's had to face, or perhaps he's embroiled in a scandal himself - so we'll be watching very closely for the next few days... It can't only be because he's 85 years old and tired! John Paul II did it, why can't he?"
Then the conspiracy theorists within the Catholic world started in.
"This is the beginning of the end, foretold by prophets all over, the reign of the anti-christ is here, the next pope will be the pope who ushers us into the great tribulation."
So as you can imagine I was listless this morning, getting up and walking around the couch, not knowing what I got up for, sitting back down again, and then repeating the whole process. We've lost a Father - a Holy Father. While Benny 16 is still living (thank God) he will no longer be our Spiritual Father and that creates a sadness in me that caught me totally unaware. Today I grieved for my loss, and prayed for His Holiness and that all would be well within this time of change for our Holy Mother Church.
And I offer you the same space and silence - to grieve, to lay out your concerns at the foot of the Heavenly Father, and to simply not worry about it (I know it's hard). The Holy Spirit has it all in hand, of that I am sure. Although our world changes in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye - Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He has not ever left us, and He will not leave us now.
Long live the King.