Today is the 86th birthday of Benedict XVI, pope emeritus, and this
Friday, April 19th, marks the eight anniversary of his election to the
Chair of Peter. We extend our best wishes and prayers to the Pope
emeritus on this happy occasion. In Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977 (Ignatius) he wrote the following of his birth:
I was born on Holy Saturday, April 16, 1927, in Marktl
am Inn. The fact that my day of birth was the last day of Holy Week and
the eve of Easter has always been noted in our family history. This was
connected with the fact that I was baptized immediately on the morning
of the day I was born with the water that had just been blessed. (At
that time the solemn Easter Vigil was celebrated on the morning of Holy
Saturday.) To be the first person baptized with the new water was seen
as a significant act of Providence. I have always been filled with
thanksgiving for having had my life immersed in this way in the Easter
mystery, since this could only be a sign of blessing. To be sure, it was
not Easter Sunday but Holy Saturday, but, the more I reflect on it, the
more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life: we are
still awaiting Easter; we are not yet standing in the full light but
walking toward it full of trust.
Today's CWR feature, "Pope Benedict's 'First Convert'",
is a testimony by Roger Dubin of his conversion to faith in Jesus
Christ and the Church that was sparked in somewhat dramatic fashion by
viewing, on television, the announcement of Benedict XVI on April 19,
2005. Dubin writes of that transforming moment:
Because as Pope Benedict walked onto the balcony and raised his
arms, and the camera appeared to zoom in, an unstoppable power and presence came
through his eyes and sliced me open. I burst into tears, and everything I ever
thought I was, or wasn’t, poured out.
It was the Sword of Christ, and there would be no peace in me
until I offered him mine.
CWR will be marking the anniversary of Benedict XVI's election with a
couple of other essays, including a new piece by Tracey Rowland that
focuses on Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI and the Second Vatican Council.