I was stunned by how old Benedict looked in the pictures compared to the spry and young looking Francis. Benedict’s presence was very humble, but you could not resist feeling as if he was the father figure while Francis was the young man, the son of Benedict. But in reality, Francis is the spiritual father of the entire Church, and thus of Roman Pontiff Emeritus, Benedict! And then there was Francis’ insistence that the two Popes pray together at the side kneeler rather than Francis praying on the Papal kneeler meant only for him. Francis said of Benedict in this decisive moment “he is my brother.”
He is his brother, his Father-Brother, and Benedict is his brother, his Brother-Father. And the two of them are sons. Benedict is the spiritual son of Francis even as Francis, clearly, is the son of the elderly grandfather-Pope Benedict.
But more than anything else, yes, they are brothers, brothers in Christ and sons of God our Father and of Mother Church.
Dear friends, there is always more room in Holy Mother Church! There is always another position, another part of the body to be united to the whole, another role or manifestation of the many and meaningful relationships that create and sustain the Body of Christ. A short time ago an Emeritus Pope was the furthest thing from the mind of the Church. And now? Now we have a grandfather-Pope along with a new and young Holy Father. They love each other and their friendship is such a wonderful thing for the Church, such a great gift from God. The fact that Benedict will be able to lend advice to Francis, and that they can share their mutual knowledge, must bring great joy to both of them, and it means that the Church too will benefit immensely from this relationship. Truly, Benedict is a person who truly knows the weight of the Papacy in a way that no one else ever could. God is good. Thank you God for this relationship, for feeding your Church, and for raising up Benedict and Francis. We ask, Lord, that you bless their relationship and help them to work together for the good of the Church, to strengthen her, to sustain her, and to defeat her enemies both interior and exterior.