I am delighted by the reaction of those who posted comments on the entry about the good news I have gathered. Most everyone was happy to refer the matter to prayer of praise of God and thanksgiving even before hearing any more details.
Many of us of the more conservative or traditional stripe are starving for good news. Our hunger will sometimes provoke too much enthusiasm about small events on the one hand, and on the other a surliness about the paucity of things we perceive we can rejoice over.
As I said in my other entry, I simply don’t want to talk too much about what I have heard about a few issues. I think you all know the old phrase from wartime: Loose lips sink ships. Making a big splash about something could stir the opposition and lead to our hopes being delayed or derailed. Also, there are confidences to respect. Still, we need to hope for good things in a way that is not expectation macerated in bitterness. I am not trying to tease, just encourage.
So, may I kindly ask you to join again today your petitions to a prayer of thanksgiving in advance? Years ago, I had the opportunity on a couple occasions to say Mass for Mother Theresa’s sisters, who have a center of their activity in Rome next to the Palazzo del Sant’Uffizio where I was working. Mother was there occasionally. I remember her saying that when we pray to God for something we should always thank Him together with the petition. This is what I think we ought to do right now.
You readers will have various hopes pinned to my statement that I have good news. For some people it will be A, for others it will be B or C. What really charges some people up, might leave others a little less than impressed. Suffice to say that I am delighted by what I heard and I will be even more delighted when it is a matter of public record.
In the last couple months I believe we are seeing His Holiness shifting into a higher gear. You might want to go back and put together a list of things that have caught your attention in his speeches and actions in the last couple months, and then sit down and stare at it for a while, absorb it.
This is a very active and thoughtful Pope. He thinks deeply before he speaks and writes. Once he has thought something through, he acts with determination. This gives many of us reason to be very hopeful for all sorts of changes and/affirmations.
Case in point: Think about his Regensburg Address: the Pope has thought for many years about the state of academia in Europe, the necessity of reason in dialogue, the participation of Muslims in Europe and European identity. He thought, he spoke boldly, he did not retract anything. His subsequent clarifications were not retractions, though you can bet that many people around him were wringing their hands and, Wormtongue-like, cooing that perhaps the Holy Father might say he was sorry and didn’t mean what he said. Benedict did not apologize. In contrast, on the question of Limbo, a matter that needs more study and time, Pope Benedict remained entirely silent. He has not come to any decisions and so he did not muddy the waters with something premature.
If you are hopeful about certain pet issues, go back and look at the Pope’s writings over the years to see if he seemed determined and resolved on the basis of sound reasoning. I think you will not be disappointed.
In the meantime, let’s offer another prayer of thanksgiving to God in advance of hearing whatever it is you consider to be good news!