I have read the words of a couple frustrated bloggers who are wondering why the Pope could not finish it out to the end like JPII did. My head isn't inclined that way. I have been up close and personal with the rapid degeneration of the physical and mental faculties of an 85-year old. Formerly of sharp intellect, great devotion, and excellent health... rapidly returned to a dependency on others as an infant would be. It is a great gift that Pope Benedict has the humility to give all in service... and the faith to follow the will of God absolutely anywhere. It is a great gift that he has been given the grace of discerning the time of departure and that he will enter into new life cradled in the arms of the Church and the prayers of the people of God.
My heart is burdened with sorrow but also with great gratitude, especially as I prepare to enter into Lent. Don't we ask for the faith to give everything? Your "everything" looks different than mine... and our faithful discernment will lead us to different crosses and triumphs.
Let us offer our Lenten journeys in solidarity with our beloved Holy Father...that his final steps home will be guided entirely by the hand of Divine Mercy and the gentle care of our Blessed Mother.
Blessed Pope John Paul II, pray for us and for the Church!