After seeing Geoff off to work and the kids off to school today, I finished cleaning up the morning mess and casually stroll through the house, appreciating my atypical slower paced morning. On the way to my bathroom, to get ready for the day, I stopped by my tv with a strong urge to turn it on. Im not much into tv but this morning's tug had me curious, so I turned it on.
I was greeted with a live scene from Rome, Italy where the send-off of Pope Benedict XVI was happening. As a practicing United Methodist Christian, I've given little thought to the Catholic Church over the years except for the fond memories I have of going to mass with some terrific friends when we visit them in Phoenix, Arizona.
Anyway, I was struck by the Pope's seemingly relaxed demeanor and kind smile. His first day of retirement has clearly been a good, peaceful day for him thus far. But, this week's media's interest in him has leaned more toward wanting to uncover the 'real story' behind his decision to retire than the possibility that he simply decided it was time. This propelled me to look into his story a bit more...
I learned that Pope Benedict XVI is known as a scholar and theologian. Studying, learning, and practicing the principles of God, through the church, was his life's work. This was evident in his words today, "We have tried to serve Christ and his Church with deep and total love which is the soul of our ministry. We have gifted hope that comes from Christ alone, and which alone can illuminate our path." Sobering words, huh? It got me to thinking, all of us, whether Catholic or Methodist, or any other denomination, are all part of Christ's Church. Yes, but what does that mean for me? I'm just an ordinary mom raising my family and trying to do the right thing. As I paused with that nagging question, I continued to read more about the Pope and landed on this gem...
"The Church is not an institution devised and built at table, but a living reality. She lives along the course of time by transforming Herself, like any living being, yet Her nature remains the same. At Her heart is Christ...the church is a living body, animated by the Holy Spirit, and truly lives by the power of God, She is in the world but not of the world."
-Romano Guardini, about Pope Benedict XVI
This began to make more sense to me. For as long as I can remember, I've told my children that yes, we are in this world but not of it. They understand that although this life offers many amazing things, our sights are set on the day when we are united in everlasting peace with our creator in heaven and it's His truths we are to follow in order to have peace and joy in our lives.
As I pondered this thought, I read this,
"...so that you may all be fully docile to the action of the Holy Spirit...May the Lord show you what is willed by Him..."
Docile. What?? Those of you that know me know I love words. So, because of my obsession with words and why they are used like/when they are, I went to work to discover the meaning behind Pope Benedict's words to me; the church.
As it turns out, if I am to be fully docile, the dictionary defines this action word and being, easily managed and teachable. Uh oh, most days I'm a stubborn know-it-all and not immediately teachable. But then it gets more sobering...Be fully docile to the action of the Holy Spirit. Ugh! What to do, what to do... Then, the Holy Spirit broke it down in more personal terms and it goes like this:
...so that you may all be fully teachable and managed to the living Holy Spirit that is alive and well within you, guiding you...May the Lord show you your specific, perfect path that he's already laid straight for you to follow.
Whoa! This brings me to ask myself, what am I doing right now, today, that is keeping me from being fully teachable and managed? And, am I being receptive to God's nudging towards the path I'm supposed to be on? The truth is...probably not. I'm really good at getting in my own way most days.
But, after watching and learning a bit more about our 16th Pope, I'm happy to report that I now have a renewed sense of hope in the 'real story'. The story of hope and peace that comes with getting out of our way so that the Holy Spirit will have a chance to do it's work in each of us. Won't you make room for Him to get to work in you?
Kirsten Berger Coaching