Sede Vacante. The chair of Peter is empty.
For most of the Catholics in my generation, they have already experienced the loss of a pope, and the journey of welcoming and getting to know a new Holy Father. Although, I know this is different for them in many ways too. They grew up with Papa JPII, I know many people who felt so close to him, and his death is something that will be with them for the remainder of their time on earth. This time, for the first time in hundreds of years, our pope has not died, but has left the chair. I believe Benedict XVI is a faithful and prayerful man (um, pope?) and I truly believe this decision was made because the Holy Spirit has guided him to it. But it is different, it is hard. It is sad to see him go, but I am filled with hope to see who the Holy Spirit guides the Cardinals to choose to be the next Holy Father, to sit in the chair of Peter and guide our Holy Mother Church.
It feels so surreal to me. We entered the church at the beginning of this month. Within just a short time, we learned that Benedict XVI would be abdicating. Now it is less than 4 weeks after our joining, and we have no pope. I mostly feel sad at the things so many people, who are not in the Catholic faith or who are not completely following the teachings of the church, are saying in regards to this Holy man who has only tried to serve and guide us in the faith. I wish that I had been able to come to know and love him in a deeper way as pope. But, I also feel this timing is so interesting for my family. I feel that the next pope is who my family will truly learn to be Catholic under, who we will get to know and pray for. I feel especially excited about where the Holy Spirit is leading us, what God has planned for his church. I pray for Benedict XVI, and I am glad our new Holy Father and the church will have the benefit of his prayers. What a lesson in humility. Every cross is different. We all do not carry the same one. Benedict XVI's is very different from that of Blessed John Paul II. And I look to them both with respect, and thankfulness, and I pray for them, as I know they both pray for me and all of Christ's church.