"Thank you. God bless you. I will be taking this hat."
If you have been following the news at all about the Pope's announcement that he will retire at the end of February, you've probably already seen most everything that there is to think and feel about the announcement. The comment that has most struck me is the great freedom and humility it takes to walk away from a job and power like the Pope's. Almost none have done it -- and sometimes at great cost to the Church.
The next few months should be very interesting. We'll read a lot about potential candidates to replace Benedict -- if you're looking to make a bet, pay attention to whatever Italian candidates there might be. And more than that there's just the logistics of a retired pope. Some have already begun asking, will he have some influence on the election of his successor. Will he attend some part of the Conclave? I'm guessing no, but who knows, it's all new territory for the Vatican to work out.
In the meantime, hopefully we can keep one eye on the spiritual, and the example that Pope Benedict is setting of letting go, trusting in God's providence.
Not a bad way to move into Lent.