I wept with joy when Pope Benedict first appeared on the balcony of St Peters and now I am moved with sorrow as he leaves St Peter's at his last Mass there.
Because everything he does is full of signs, it is significant it is Ash Wednesday. Perhaps we need to reflect on that portion of his homily where he said:
“Spare your people, Lord! Do not let your heritage become a disgrace, a byword among the nations! Why should they say among the peoples, ‘Where is their God?’"(V.17). This prayer leads us to reflect on the importance of witnessing to faith and Christian life, for each of us and our community, so that we can reveal the face of the Church and how this face is, at times, disfigured. I am thinking in particular of the sins against the unity of the Church, of the divisions in the body of the Church. Living Lent in a more intense and evident ecclesial communion, overcoming individualism and rivalry is a humble and precious sign for those who have distanced themselves from the faith or who are indifferent.The Pope of Unity, who has striven against heresy and schism the great sins of disunity; may his last words to us spur us on to work for the unity of Christ's Church.