Tuesday, January 3, 2023

“Professor Ratzinger’s Classroom”

In this picture, Josef Ratzinger was 62, less than three years older than I am today. The “young student” (look at all the hair I had!😮😉) had just turned 27. That means in this picture I am only a year and a half older than my son John Paul is today. …. Ah, time! “Life is short,” even if one lives to be 95 like the late Papa Benedict/Josef Ratzinger. 

But I can’t measure the vitality and beauty of this question-and-answer session he had with just the students in a classroom following his public lecture that evening. It was a vibrant “conversation” about the-things-that-really-matter. I realized how much this man loved being in a classroom with students, and what a profound and difficult sacrifice he was making every day by following the will of Christ and serving the Church through taking on the “official role” and the many complex tasks of discernment required of him as (then) Cardinal-Prefect of the CDF. That evening, it was so clear that he was above all a simple and humble man, who loved to seek wisdom within a companionship of people who shared his desire to ponder more deeply the mystery of God, and of human persons created for the love of this God who came to be with us and save us. 

So much has happened since January 1990, but the hour-or-so that I spent with my fellow students in “Professor Ratzinger’s classroom” was something of a foretaste of eternity. And his hosts had to practically drag him away, finally—I think he would have gladly stayed with us late into the night!

I pray that one day we will all share with him forever in God’s eternal life and love.