Benedict XVI left the Catholic Church in unprecedented way on Thursday, becoming the first pope in 600 years to resign, capping a tearful day of for farewells that included an extraordinary pledge of obedience to his successor.
Benedict will spend his first two months of retirement inside the papal palace walls of Castel Gondolfo leaving behind eight years of service as the Catholic churches leader. On Benedict’s last day the mood was vastly different inside the Vatican than at Castel Gandolfo. At the seat of the popes, Benedict XVI’s staff tearfully bade the pontiff goodbye.
“I am simply a pilgrim beginning the last leg of his pilgrimage on this Earth,” Benedict XVI told the cheering crowd in his final of the words as pope.
Thinking of the Pope’s departure reminds me of God’s all surrounding love and Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
Sheep and goats for very precious to the Palestinian shepherds. The shepherds took special care of them by leading them to pastors and water, protecting them and searching for the ones that went astray.
Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd who cares for God’s precious children. He provides for your daily needs, protects you, shows you the path of righteousness, and searches for you when you go off course. Then He lovingly brings you back to the safety of the flock.
The Good Shepherd offers us His protection and immeasurable love, and asks only that we love him in return. Is this too hi a price pay for a love that exceeds all others?
I offer this prayer for Pope Benedict XVI, followers of God, and all others: Good Shepherd, thank You for Your special love and care that keeps and protects me day by day. Amen.