Upon the occasion of the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in Rome, Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing offers this personal appreciation of the late Joseph Ratzinger RIP:
“Jesus, I love you.” This, presumably, was a last response to an ongoing “Joseph, I love you,” coming from the Lord himself. It is that constant cry of love from Jesus that any of us sinners wants to hear, especially as we prepare for our final pilgrimage.
Joseph, who became Benedict XVI, heard and lived that divine experience. Yes, he like all of us was a sinner, but he like all of us has a redeemer, a loving redeemer, upon whose back he is carried like a lamb by a shepherd.
I personally am not saddened by Benedict’s death because that is the doorway which we all seek in order to imbibe the love we have only tasted for so many years. Rather, I am overjoyed that this servant of Christ, who suffered along with his Master, is now on his way to the full presence of the Godhead. As we sing “In Paradisum” at the Funeral Mass, let this be our prayer:
“May choirs of angels escort you into paradise; and at your arrival may the martyrs receive and welcome you; may they bring you home into the holy city, Jerusalem. May the holy angels welcome you and with Lazarus, who lived in poverty, may you have everlasting rest.” Amen.
+ Earl Boyea
Bishop of Lansing
January 5, 2023