I show the video without the transcript on purpose. I want you to listen to our Holy Father speaking. Does he not sound frail, exhausted? I heard the news at about 4 am this morning and really haven't been able to sleep since. I have some thoughts, which I'll try to state without tearing up or too much bias...
1) The resignation does not surprise me....the timing of it does.
The Holy Father has alluded to resigning in the past, from "Light of the World." to him living his pallium at the grave of Pope St Peter Celestine. The Holy Father has given various hints as to him possibly resigning before his own death.
The one thing that this move does do, is not give careerists an opportunity to put their people in place, as he will be Pope until the 28th of Feb. The feast of Our Lady of Lourdes I think is important...more on that thought later.
2) In humilitatis spiritu
In humble spirit, I look at this resignation as the Holy Father recognizing his own weaknesses. That physically he is not able to govern the Church. After seeing how Pope John Paul II suffered, I'm quite sure the present Holy Father did not want to see that happen again. I remember watching JP II struggle with Parkinsons and having to be in the wheelchair, while very inspiring, it was also very disheartening as well having to watch the then Holy Father suffer through that. Pope Benedict XVI, seeing this did not want a repeat of this.
3) I do not think the Holy Father has long...
Just from my own observations, he has looked quite frail and exhausted. I believe it was a Mass a few weeks ago where the Holy Father nearly dropped his papal ferula ...and he has indeed been looking frailer and frailer. I pray for him daily...being the head of the Church is a difficult cross. I think there is a major illness that the Holy Father has, and as mentioned in 2)...I'm sure that he does not want to be mentally and physically incapable of being Pope. I trust the Holy Father in this decision.
4) His own influence on me.
The one of many gifts of the Pope Benedict XVI pontificate has been his deep love for the Liturgy of the Roman Church. This love has had an impact on my own appreciation of the Liturgy and has deepened my participation in the Liturgy of the Roman Church. Watching his fidelity to the rubrics has caused me to watch myself in my own fidelity to the rubrics of Holy Mother Church, and has inspired me to encourage that behavior for priests and for lay alike. I will be forever thankful to Pope Benedict XVI for his faithfulness to the Truth and his servant attitude towards the Liturgy. I very much relate to the present Holy Father because of my own VERY introverted nature and absolutely detest the spotlight and attention, as I am sure that the Pope did not like being in the spotlight. This resignation is very much in the character of the Holy Father, who would rather not be noticed...and be an academic and be in prayer. We should definitely pray for him.
5) Let us pray
For the Church, our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, and the upcoming conclave. That they be faithful to Christ Jesus, and for the Holy Spirit to guide them.
6) There will be speculation on the Next Pope....
I have a few ideas myself, but I will reserve them....for now, let us pray for Holy Mother Church. :)