16 April 2018

Ad multos annos plurimosque annos ...

Today is the birthday of Joseph Ratzinger, sometime Bishop of Rome, and the anniversary of his rebirth in Baptism on the day when the Church was celebrating her Passover.

His pontificate was short, but what enrichment it brought us. The vetusta Novitas of the Bible, the Fathers, and the Liturgy; Summorum Pontificum and Anglicanorum coetibus; the beatification of Newman; how much grace we received in those years through his gentle and generous hands. It turned out to be a necessary stocking-up of the larder with good and nourishing food; food destined  to be our rations during the winter and the ice and the time of tears and cruelty. As we warm ourselves at our hearths today, and hear the wolves still howling outside as they run licensed and unconfined, hungry and increasingly desperate, memories of the good times reassure us that, in the power of the Spirit, and if we keep faith, good times can return. Veni Sancte Spiritus ... flecte quod est rigidum, fove quod est frigidum, rege quod est devium. And there are at last sounds of the glaciers cracking, and of the trickle of tiny streams running out from beneath the compacted ice ... and the sight of little buds beginning to open beside the streams.

In a manner of speaking, we might say that Pope Benedict's glorious pontificate is still alive among us, since it is to the sinewy strength of his biblical and patristic teaching, and to the structures he left in place, that we continue to turn as we look to the return of the Maytime, when "The happy birds Te Deum sing, 'tis Mary's month of May."

In a justly famous sermon, Blessed John Henry Newman addressed to our Lady some words derived from the Song of Solomon:

"Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come. For the winter is now past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have appeared in our land. ... The fig tree hath put forth her green figs; the vines in flower yield their sweet smell. Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come. It is time for thy Visitation. Arise, Mary, and go forth in thy strength ..."

May the prayers of our Mother gain for us the grace of perseverance in this last dark hour of the apostasy. Was there ever a tyranny which lasted for ever, or an eternal winter?  

She will go forth in her strength.

Her Immaculate Heart will prevail.


scotchlil said...

In spite of the brevity of his tenure, I am convinced that his scholarship, love and humility will ensure that he will be remembered among the great occupants of the See of Rome. He certainly fought the great fight against so much wrong-mindedness and so many corruptions...

philipjohnson said...

Lovely!Thanks Father.

Unknown said...

Beautiful and much needed for shaking of the gloom of this winter of discontent. Thank you, Father.

Elisabeth F. said...

For me, listening to Pope Benedict is like listening to one's grandfather; faith and wisdom graciously, gently, lovingly imparted, with interludes of condemnation for heinous acts.
For me, April brings many anniversaries:
April 2: the departing of Fr. Karol - Polish survivor, epitome of Polish faith, announced by the bugler of Krakow
April 8: his funeral Mass, with marvelous Polish celebrations on anniversaries
April 13, 1927: my father's birthday - with Bavarian roots - birthday
April 16: Fr. Josef's birthday
April 19: the beginning of the pontificate of Fr. Josef
April 19: my mother's birthday
(February 11: Fr. Josef's "Declaratio", my birthday)

El Codo said...

Father, the consensus among the country folk is that the long, hard, cold Winter has delayed the Spring but once the thaw begins we will see an explosion of fecundity and joy unlike the norm. We are people of Hope. Remember St John Paul the Great: “Be not afraid!”.