The passing of Pope Benedict XVI is for me a joyous occasion. As people of faith, we know that for those who have run the good and long race of tireless service to the Gospel, the time eventually comes to go home to rest. For this, I couldn’t be happier for him. Pope Benedict XVI was chosen by God, even as a young man, to help lead the Church in probably the most difficult time in Church history. And he ran a good, long, and difficult race to the very end. The last century has not only been a time of human failure and tragedy, but behind the constant assaults to human dignity, a war of ideologies has unfolded, which has been nothing shy of an epic struggle for the very nature and meaning of human life and existence. Many great teachers have taught us God’s Word in this age of secularism, but among these, Joseph Ratzinger has been one of the greatest. I do not exaggerate when I say that his teachings will guide us for centuries. His wisdom may rival that of St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. John Newman. And it is a supreme privilege to have lived during his lifetime. I honestly can’t express in words the depth of his impact on my own theological formation as a teacher.
My only twinge of sadness centers upon the fact that he is the last from a generation of “greats” that God gave to guide us into the uncertain future of a world increasingly shaped by a deafening Godlessness. So be attentive to the fact that the true legacy of this historic generation of teachers must be a generation of fire-filled Christian disciples, living our unique call to holiness out in the public places of the world. No more comfy and quiet Christianity!! We are entering an even MORE important time now, where what is most needed is the daring witness of energetic disciples who will step out of their comfort zone. Just as Josef Ratzinger did, we must express our love of Jesus to the world with a level of integrity and authenticity we can scarcely imagine. This love is the only and last standing witness in an age overrun by false hopes.
Let us thus honor the legacy of this Godly elder in the faith. Let us be, in our own little spheres of influence, exemplary disciples of the Lord to whom Pope Benedict XVI gave his entire life. May he rest in peace. And may God’s perpetual light shine upon this good and faithful servant of our beloved Master.
Blessings in Christ,
Dr. Michel Therrien, President