It seems so providential that we would meet here in Rome for this extraordinarily significant event during Lent.
These forty days are a sacred occasion of recalling the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus – the Paschal Mystery – uniting ourselves to the death of Jesus by dying to sin, through prayer, sacrifice, and acts of charity, so that we might rise with Him to life at Easter.
Sure enough, the Church is experiencing death, as we observe the passing of a beloved Pontiff, and await the rebirth that comes with the election of a new one.
And these days of transition allow us as the Church to die to sin, corruption, scandal, and evil, even in the members of the Church – including her leaders – so that the Church can then rise to renewed life.
It also seems providential that we undergo this passing of one Pope and the rising up of a new one during March, classically devoted to St. Joseph (whose feastday is March 19th).
St. Joseph, a man of silence – and we need quiet reflection as the College of Cardinals and members of the Church;
St. Joseph, a man who dealt with emergencies – – think of his virgin wife’s “untimely,” embarrassing pregnancy; the birth of Jesus in exile, in a stable; the flight to Egypt to escape a murdering tyrant, the three-day loss of his boy – – with calmness, trust in God, and responsibility. What an example he is as we see so many “emergencies” in the Church and the world today!
St. Joseph, ever attentive to God’s will, placing Jesus and Mary at the heart of his life, reliable in his duties to care and protect his virgin wife and adopted son; a working-man who took pride in his profession as a carpenter.
No wonder we call him the Patron of the Church Universal. Wouldn’t it be great to have a new Pope by his feastday?
I’m going to begin a novena to him on March 11, nine days of prayer in preparation for his feastday (two days after St. Patrick’s Day), asking him and his virgin-wife to look after the Church, and get us an inspired new Successor of St. Peter. Will you join me?