A year ago, I saw Pope Benedict XVI in person twice. I was overcome with love and respect for him as the leader of the Catholic Church on earth; the successor of St. Peter. Today, this man is resigning as Pope and following God's call to live quietly and simply. I know a lot of people will do nothing but hate him and spread lies about him for this decision, but I only respect him more for it.
I, too, am in a position right now where I am making decisions that people think are stupid, or cowardly, or a waste of my time. But I am trying to follow God's will for me, so it doesn't matter what people think or say. Pope Benedict has done an incredible job leading the Church through times of trial in the 8 years he has been reigning. No one has any right to judge him but God, and I will not judge the people who lash out at him. I will continue to love him and pray for him as he slips into the shadows to pray for every one of us for the remainder of his time here on earth.
Of course, I am sad to see him step down. I was ten years old when he was elected, and I remember sitting in the living room, watching the news coverage of the reelection, waiting to find out who our new pope would be. I was bouncing up and down on the couch and shouted, "This is so exciting! I've never seen a re-poping before!" I had no idea who Joseph Ratzinger even was when he walked out as the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI, but I immediately loved him and couldn't wait to see what he would do.
God bless you, Papa Benedict, and may you live in health, peace, and joy as you leave the papacy at the promptings of the Holy Spirit! Thank you for all you have done!
I also pray for whoever will succeed Pope Benedict. Holy Spirit, come over the Cardinals, and please help them choose a man who will be like Jesus for us; someone who will show us how to be like Jesus. Give us a saint, someone with fierce holiness and unending love for Your people.
Through the intercession of Bl. John Paul II, Bl. John XXIII, Mary our most Holy Mother, and all the angels and saints in heaven, I pray, Amen.