Farewell and welcome home, Papa.

The world’s loss is heaven’s gain. Maybe there won’t be a groundswell calling for this suffix, but I will from this point forward refer to our dear late pontiff as Pope Benedict the Great. The height of his brilliance was only surpassed by the depth of his humility and holiness.

Check out the following for fine reflections on Benedict upon his death:

Of course, all the Catholic sites have pieces on him today or will very soon. Check out your favorites. I particularly recommend The National Catholic Register, The Pillar, Crisis, and The Catholic Thing.

Want to come to appreciate him even more? Check out these resources:

Speaking of books, if you have not yet read his three volume Jesus of Nazareth book series he wrote as pope, you really must do so. My recommendation is to grab the third volume immediately while we are still in the Christmas season. Then pick up Volume 2 for Lent in preparation for Holy Week, Finally, the first installment is excellent reading for summer in (extra)Ordinary Time. You will be the richer for reading and meditating on these works and you will honor the late pope’s memory in doing so.

As for his biography, dive into the definitive recent two volume work by Peter Seewald. A tome, but worth your time.

I will begin today his God is Near Us: The Eucharist, the Heart of Life, particularly appropriate in this special Eucharistic time in the United States.

Today I completed my year-long journey through the book Divine Intimacy. For December 31, an appropriate message for the end of year and the end of a life:

Time passes and does not return. God has assigned to each of us a definite time in which to fulfill His divine plan for our soul; we have only this time and shall have no more. Time ill spent is lost forever. Our life is made up of this uninterrupted, continual flow of time, which never returns. In eternity, on the contrary, time will be no more; we shall be established forever in the degree of love which we have reached now, in time.

p. 103

Benedict, I suspect, ill spent little time. And he was blessed to have much time to prepare for entering eternity as his strength and health gradually declined. For those of us who remain in this mortal coil, let us use our remaining time wisely, emulating the late pontiff. A good New Year’s resolution, I think.

While I fully suspect that Benedict heard the following upon meeting the Lord:

Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.

Mt 25:23

I have been and will continue to pray for him. If he needs the prayers, I am pleased to give some small return for how he has enriched my life. And if he doesn’t need the prayers, I’m confident they will be distributed wisely. Dear Pope Benedict, pray for us as we pray for you.

I hope I live to see the day he is canonized.

God bless and Happy New Year.

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