I think this is one of Pope Benedict’s finest moments. A world leader who sensed that he was no longer able to serve in the way that the position demanded, chose to step back in humility rather than persist in power. It’s rare to see this kind of self-knowledge played out on the world’s stage.
Some of my most courageous moments come when I acknowledge that I am a limited resource. Going to bed on time, coming home from work at 5:30p, and being very careful to say “no” when everyone else wants me to say “yes”. These are examples of decisions I’ve made to ensure that I’m still here in thirty years. He did the same thing today.
His example should be a comfort to many men and women who are burnt out in ministry or in well over the heads juggling work and family life or for someone who knows that they just can’t keep going. He spoke up. We should too if we find ourselves in too deep.
His great respect for the Church and the people of faith under his care led him to make a courageous decision, not a cowardly one. Thus I need to remind myself. If I can’t say “no” my “yes” doesn’t mean a thing.
Thanks Benedict XVI for your great example of “yes” and “no”. They both ring true.