Pope Benedict XVI, aided by a young boy, left, and a young girl, releases one of two doves as a symbol of peace from his apartment window overlooking St. Peter's Square at the Vatican Sunday, Jan. 28, 2007. In his speech the pontiff called for a halt to violence in Lebanon and the Gaza strip, saying he was hugely saddened by the pain inflicted on the populations and appealing for dialogue. (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)
When I saw these photos, my mind harked back to the time when our beloved Pope John Paul the Great was still with us.
He had been such an inspiration to me. I'm not ashamed to tell you that I was bawling like a babe when he finally returned to the Father's House. I was up until 3AM, Malaysian time watching the latest development and praying like crazy, with the crowd in the square and the millions all over the world, praying like crazy and storming Heaven with prayer for a miracle. I fell asleep in front of the telly and when I finally woke up at about 5AM, he was already gone.
It's hard to express the sense of loss and desolation that I felt, the loss of my Father in Faith. Despite all the nonsense I put up with in my local Church, I always knew that in Rome, the Pope still reigned and the line still held.
It was a source of immense comfort for me. But then, he was gone.
Pope John Paul carried his cross, no, embraced his cross with such passion that I too was inspired to carry my own crosses with fortitude.
But the great cross of shepherding the Church of Christ on earth has been handed over. Pope Benedict XVI now bears that heavy burden. Let us pray for him in that unenviable task.
Holy Father, from your window in Heaven, look down on us and bless us who remain here fighting the good fight, running the race that you have finished.
Pray for us, Holy Father, and for me.
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