Saturday, December 31, 2022

Benedict XVI Goes Home to God

On this last day of the year 2022, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI—nearly ten years after his historic resignation of the papacy—was called to eternal life. He died peacefully this morning after a brief illness, at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican, where he has lived in prayer and simplicity since March 2013. He was 95 years old.

Much has already been said on this Blog about the greatness of Josef Ratzinger/Benedict XVI as Pope, bishop, theologian, and man-of-the-Church. In the new year I will have to revisit those pages and ponder anew my gratitude for his life. No doubt the last decade—the final chapter of his life of service to the Lord in His Church—has enriched us all in ways beyond our understanding. His witness to Christ, his brilliant theology, and the depth of his magisterial teaching remain as an accessible legacy for us and for generations to come.

May the God who is Love reward him now in the fullness of the divine embrace, in the glory of eternal life.

“How should we Christians respond to the question of death? We respond with faith in God, with a gaze of firm hope founded on the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, death opens to life, to eternal life, which is not an infinite duplicate of the present time, but something completely new. Faith tells us that the true immortality for which we hope is not an idea, a concept, but a relationship of full communion with the living God: it is resting in his hands, in his love, and becoming in him one with all the brothers and sisters that he has created and redeemed, with all Creation. Our hope, then, lies in the love of God that shines resplendent from the Cross of Christ who lets Jesus’ words to the good thief: ‘Today you will be with me in Paradise’ (Luke 23:43) resound in our heart. This is life in its fullness: life in God; a life of which we now have only a glimpse as one sees blue sky through fog” (Benedict XVI, Homily, November 3, 2012).