It’s About Jesus

“But why didn’t he say anything about his reasons for stepping down, or his plans for the future, or any personal reflections about his own legacy?”  asked the journalist after Mass yesterday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

This reporter had gotten up early to watch the last Sunday Angelus address Pope Benedict XVI would ever give, to 100,000 people in Saint Peter’s Square at noon in Rome.  He had spoken of Lent, the Transfiguration of Jesus (the gospel for Sunday), and prayer.

“Because,” I replied, trying to provide an answer to the journalist’s fair-enough inquiry, “Popes don’t talk about themselves.  They are really no longer themselves!  That’s why they change their name.  They take literally what Saint Paul wrote, that “I live now – – no, not I – – Christ lives in me.”  They speak not of themselves but of Jesus.  That’s why!”

“And you,” the reporter courteously persisted, “you didn’t say a word about your plans, your departure for Rome, your thoughts or observations.  We got here to cover your 10:15 a.m. Mass, and you only mentioned the Pope in one prayer, and didn’t say anything personal.”

“Same reason,” I responded.  “The Mass is about Jesus, not about me.”

That could be the most profound lesson this great professor-pontiff has taught the world.  His heroic and humble decision of a week ago to step-down from the Chair of Saint Peter is a lesson:  in the end, when all is said and done, it’s not about office, prominence, prestige, prerogatives.  It’s not about me at all: it’s all about Jesus and His Church.

Tomorrow, though, I do leave New York for Rome.  I take you with me.  When I have the privilege of bidding farewell to the Holy Father this Thursday, the day he leaves, I’ll tell him that we – – you and me – – love him, pray with and for him, and thank him.

I’ll miss you.  Sure, this will be awesome for me.  But, I really like being your archbishop.  And I’ll be eager to get back home to you.  Besides, I can get a good bowl of pasta here in New York, too.

Please God, I’ll be home by Palm Sunday.  Not a day will go by that I will not think of you here with love, prayer and gratitude. If I’m in Rome longer, please send peanut butter.  You can’t get it there.

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11 Responses to “It’s About Jesus”

  1. Federico Patrone says:

    Sono tutte cose molto belle quelle che fate e di certo il cristianesimo é una grande religione con bellissimi e reale valori, tuttavia vedete come non é facile per la gente, si soffre, si è confusi si é tentati, vediamo la crisi mondiale, i numerosi suicidi, le numerose famiglie ridotte alla indigenza.

    Si esce dalla sofferenza e dai problemi e poi si rientra sistematicamente, inutile illudersi.Talenti sprecati, gente rovinata, sofferenze indicibili ……guerre sempre possibili.

    Io credo che la prima cosa importante é il lavoro sulla persona é la persona che fa la pace e la giustizia o la guerra e la sopraffazione. Un grande maestro ha detto a proposito: meditate sulla Luce e diverrete persone di Luce, essere persone di Luce é dire tutto….la Luce é FONDAMENTALE e Voi sapete bene cosa significa essere persone di Luce.

    Io potrei dire qualcosa nel merito, ma non voglio peccare di presunzione, ci sono settemila anni di questa cultura preziosa, non credo quindi che stia a me che sono niente indicare a Voi come meditare sulla Luce..come riscoprire la Divina Luce, Voi siete colti ed avete mezzi e siete potenti, Voi saprete certo come fare..l’importante é che sia fatto .

    Con stima ed affetto


  2. Christopher Keogan says:

    You are the to read and hear you! Praying for you…when you come home come to Harlem and I will make you lasagna and tell you my story..a real doozy ! Much love !

  3. Thanks for your insight Your Eminence! Peanut butter it is! Be safe in your travels we need you here big time! God bless as your discern for our church. Fr. Michael White is my pastor and what an honor it was to have your foreward in his book Rebuilt!

  4. lourdes says:

    Your Eminence,

    While I completely understand why the Pope is resigning, a friend pointed out that he (the Pope) may have made a dangerous decision. A husband is married to his wife in the same way the Pope is ‘married’ to the Church, so what’s from stopping a husband from getting out of the marriage if he is simply tired of it or is no longer able to? The same goes with priests.

    Would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this. May God bless you and the Holy Spirit be with you and the Cardinals during the conclave!

  5. Joseph says:

    Thank you Eminence….you inspire me to be a better Catholic.

  6. William Berry says:

    Lourdes: As His Eminence says, “It’s about Jesus!” – that is our bridegroom and He will never abandon us or get tired. The Holy Father is like most of us – one that is seeking the authentic truth in life, and in his wisdom realized what is best for the Church. It needs a shepherd that can tend the flock, not manage the help from afar. I was fortunate to be a young high school senior in 1979 and met John Paul II when he came to Madison Square Garden. We need a vibrant and strong shepherd and I trust the conclave will provide such a man.

    P.S. – If Texans found a way to get Blue Bell ice cream to the White House, I’m sure Americans can find a way to get a steady stream of peanut butter to the Vatican 😉

  7. Joyce Barrett says:

    The answer is simple, lourdes. Our Blessed Pope DID NOT leave the marriage… he has NOT left the church, Christ’s Bride, nor his priesthood. He merely desires to spend his final years in much deserved private time with them both… a lover who has grown old with his beloved.
    God Bless them all, especially our humble holy father. <3

  8. judyt says:

    Thank you and know that we will be praying for you.

  9. Fred - now living in Boston says:

    Godspeed Your Eminence … may God’s grace keep you smiling!


  10. NYer says:

    Please send Pope Benedict our respect, admiration and LOVE. He has been and will continue to be a great inspiration. He has always pointed our gaze to Christ alone.

    I am very grateful that he will remain in the vatican praying for the new pope and for the whole Church. Of course he will be discreet…no one could image Joseph Ratzinger not being so…but I hope that we do get to see or hear from him every now and then. He still has so much to say in that clear, beautiful manner that we have come to know and love!

    However, my instincts say that we will not hear from him. His silent prayers, known only to the Lord will still speak volumes to us.

    God bless you and keep you Cardinal Dolan and our new Pope and our dear, sweet Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus.

  11. Wendy A. Mathison says:

    Addressing you as Your Eminence is appropriate, earned and called for. Although I confess that in starting the writing of my note, my heart wants to begin with the words “Father Dolan”.

    The people out here in the pews and away from them, we need that. To feel as if our leader, who becomes part of the divine when ordained, stands in humble representation of our Heavenly Father. I know you do this. I witnessed this in Wisconsin. Yeah, I’m sneaking in here amidst the New Yorkers wishing you well.

    So it is true that our faith implores us to be more Jesus and less… ourselves, and therefore we should not talk about ourselves. But I can talk about you. And I believe others should ponder these things about you, Your Eminence.

    You feel like “dad”. You are approachable. A faithful servant to our foundational teachings. My greatest admiration of your gifts stems from your clinging to the the truth and not wanting to misrepresent it, but to hold the truth up into the light. Not only do we need that in Wisconsin and New York, but the world.

    My prayers are for you and those around you. Together you will all enter into a divinely assigned decision. I pray your goodness and light leads all involved to focus on our foundational faith and the value of truth. God be with you! My prayers certainly are.