Monday, August 22, 2005

Tim Drake's Thoughts on BXVI

So, he's no JPII, and that's okay with the young. They recognize that he is his own man - a man of books, and concepts, and ideas. His talks on adoration, the Eucharist, and vocation were clear and direct, and the young responded very positively to his messages (interrupting his vigil 12 times and the final Mass 16 times for applause). The applause was loudest when his remarks were most challenging - observing Sunday Mass, imitating the saints.

Pope Benedict XVI is no JPII. He doesn't have to be. As pope, he is Christ's representative on earth whether he has charisma or not, whether he kisses the ground or not.

In Cologne, the young of the world showed that they are ready to accept him as such. 1.1 million came to participate in Mass with him.

One of my favorite photos from WYD was taken outside St. Pantaleon Church. I'll post it when I return to the U.S. In it, a crowd is gathered along the streets waiting for the pope's arrival. They are 8-10 deep. On the left side of the street, perched up in a tree, was a man hunched leaning on a branch, hoping to get a view of Benedict, in persona Christi. I fully expected the Pope, when he arrived to yell to the man, "Zaccheus, get down from that tree."

The crowds and their response to this new pope, were tremendous. A reporter asked me on the media ship if I had seen anything like the crowd assembled along the river. "No, I told him, but it reminds me of Scripture when Christ flees the crowd and addresses them by boat." I don't think he liked my answer. There were no further questions.

If I'm not mistaken it was St. Teresa of Avila* who said, "If you are who God intends you to be, you will set the world ablaze." Pope Benedict is exactly who God intends him to be. That can never fail to resonate with people.

*This statement was later corrected by a reader who attributed the quotation to St. Catherine of Sienna

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