Wednesday, February 13, 2013
I got a phone call yesterday from a young adult Catholic who is truly shaken by the Pope's resignation (as I admit I am, too). Like many others, this young person is looking to visions and prophecies for answers or some sense of resolution. He asked me about the famous prophecies of St. Malachy and about some contemporary visionaries...
One thing that especially concerned me during that conversation was the young man's worry that, according to the one of the versions of the prophecies attributed to Malachy (but more likely written 600 years later), the "next" Pope will be a false Pope. This undermines the new Pope's ministry before it even begins, and fails to assign any role at all to the Holy Spirit!
Did someone, centuries ago, have an insight into what we are facing today? Can that give us a clue about how to interpret the signs of the times? These things certainly do spark curiosity. They also distract us from the real task at hand: praying intensely--with Lenten intensity--for the Church during this crucial almost-interregnum, and for the man who will take on the burden of the papacy within the next month. (I can think of only one person who would be especially interested in keeping us from praying, and he's not on our side.)
If we do our part, though, when the new Bishop of Rome assumes his office, he will discover an abundant outpouring of grace* given to him precisely through the prayers of the very people he is called to serve.
* Just today, Ash Wednesday, in his General Audience talk, Pope Benedict spoke of a similar experience of being supported and upheld by the prayers of the Catholic world: “I have felt, almost physically, your prayers in these days which are not easy for me, the strength which the love of the Church and your prayers brings to me.”
Posted by Sr Anne Flanagan at 11:10 AM