The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pope Benedict Departs (and so do his tweets)

Today, after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI became official and left the Chair of Peter vacant, the Vatican closed the Pope's Twitter account. It also deleted his tweets, every last one of them. Indeed, if you visit the Pope's Twitter page, it has been changed to "Sede Vacante" (the seat being vacant). The deletion of all these tweets took me by surprise, but I suppose the idea is to mark a definitive end to Benedict XVI's papacy and ensure that whoever succeeds him will not have these unofficial communications lingering in cyberspace. Cyberspace, however, is not so easily cleansed of the unwanted. In this instance, I had saved them, simply because I enjoyed reading them and thought them worth rereading. I suspect many others have done the same. I believe I saved them all, but if a reader knows of one I missed, please pass it along via a comment.

If you are unfamiliar with Twitter, a tweet (a Twitter communication) cannot exceed 140 characters, a limitation that should encourage both brevity and clarity. Twitter enforces the brevity, but for many users clarity is elusive. The Pope had no problem with either. For someone who has written many books, some of them quite long, the Holy Father adapted well to this unique medium. Many of his tweets are simple words of encouragement to us all; others are brief statements reminding us of religious truths; some are pleas to pray for a particular intention; and some pose questions designed to help us live the Christian life. They are all worth reading.

I have listed these tweets in the order in which they appeared, from the first on 12 December to Pope Benedict's final tweet today. I hope you enjoy them.

12 December 2012: "Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart."

12 December 2012: "How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily lives?"

12 December 2012: "By speaking with Jesus in prayer, listening to what he tells you in the Gospel and looking for him in those in need."

12 December 2012: "How can faith in Jesus be lived in a world without hope?"

12 December 2012: "We can be certain that a believer is never alone. God is the solid rock upon which we build our lives and his love is always faithful."

12 December 2012: "Any suggestions on how to be more prayerful when we are so busy with the demands of work, families and the world?"

12 December 2012: "Offer everything you do to the Lord, ask his help in all the circumstances of daily life and remember that he is always beside you."

19 December 2012: "Everyone’s life of faith has times of light, but also times of darkness. If you want to walk in the light, let the word of God be your guide."

19 December 2012: "Mary is filled with joy on learning that she is to be the mother of Jesus, God’s Son made man.True joy comes from union with God."

21 December 2012: "When you deny God, you deny human dignity. Whoever defends God is defending the human person."

21 December 2012: "We do not possess the truth, the truth possesses us. Christ, who is the truth, takes us by the hand."

21 December 2012: "At the end of the year, we pray that the Church, despite her shortcomings, may be increasingly recognizable as Christ’s dwelling place."

24 December 2012: "What family Christmas tradition from your childhood do you still remember?"

24 December 2012: "The cribs that we built in our home gave me much pleasure. We added figures each year and used moss for decoration."

1 January 2013: "May Our Lord bless you and watch over you in the new year."

2 January 2013: "When we entrust ourselves to the Lord completely, everything changes. We are children of a Father who loves us, and never leaves us."

6 January 2013: "The Wise Men followed the star and reached Jesus, the great light that illuminates all of humanity."

7 January 2013: "Please join me in praying for Syria, so that constructive dialogue will replace the horrendous violence."

7 January 2013: "Nigerians have a special place in my heart, as so many have been victims of senseless violence in recent months."

7 January 2013: "May we defend the right of conscientious objection of individuals and institutions, promoting freedom and respect for all."

9 January 2013: "Following Christ’s example, we have to learn to give ourselves completely. Anything else is not enough."

13 January 2013: "In this Year of Faith, may every Christian rediscover the beauty of being reborn in the love of God and living as his true children."

13 January 2013: "What happens in Baptism? We become united forever with Jesus, to be born again to a new life."

16 January 2013: "If we have love for our neighbor, we will find the face of Christ in the poor, the weak, the sick and the suffering."

20 January 2013: "What does the Lord ask of us as we work for Christian unity? To pray constantly, do justice, love goodness, and walk humbly with Him."

23 January 2013: "Many false idols are held up today. For Christians to be faithful, they can’t be afraid to go against the current."

25 January 2013: I join all those marching for life from afar, and pray that political leaders will protect the unborn and promote a culture of life."

27 January 2013: "What does Sunday, the day of the Lord, mean for us? It is a day for rest and for family, but first of all a day for Him."

30 January 2013: "Every human being is loved by God the Father. No one need feel forgotten, for every name is written in the Lord's loving Heart."

2 February 2013: "Today I have a special thought for every religious: may they always follow Christ faithfully in poverty, chastity and obedience."

3 February 2013: "Let us imitate the Virgin Mary in welcoming and guarding the word of Jesus, in order to recognize him as Lord in our lives"

6 February 2013: "Everything is a gift from God: it is only by recognizing this crucial dependence on the Creator that we will find freedom and peace."

10 February 2013: “We must trust in the mighty power of God’s mercy. We are all sinners, but His grace transforms us and makes us new.”

13 February 2013: "During the season of Lent which begins today, we renew our commitment to the path of conversion, making more room for God in our lives."

17 February 2013: "Lent is a favorable time in which to rediscover faith in God as the foundation of our lives and of the Church’s life."

24 February 2013: "In these momentous days, I ask you to pray for me and for the Church, trusting as always in divine Providence."

27 February 2013: "If only everyone could experience the joy of being Christian, being loved by God who gave his Son for us!"

28 February 2013: "Thank you for your love and support. May you always experience the joy that comes from putting Christ at the centre of your lives".

Please keep Pope Emeritus Benedict in your prayers, and pray too for the College of Cardinals as they soon come together in conclave to elect our new Holy Father.

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