Originally published in American | Writes on March 3, 2013
APOSTOLICA SEDES VACANS – As a Catholic, the last few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotion. As a convert, this is only my second Pope. I was confused by my emotional response when His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI announced his abdication of the chair of Peter.
When I first saw the headline on The Drudge Report, my first thought was that scandal had reached the highest level of the Church. While I am sad that I thought that, I can’t help but think perhaps I’m the most honest of respondents when someone asks, “What was your response when you heard the news?”
A quick click to the story and the actual words of his resignation on the Vatican’s web site, and I was able to focus on the man and his reason for abdicating.
And I realized that there is no better example of how to be a man than in the humble decision of our Papa.
In a world of selfishness and moral relativism, this man stood up and reflected the Church at its selfless service to Jesus Christ by ensuring that the Holy See would remain bigger than a man and not subject to the fallibility of that man.
His decision came as I was making the final preparations to take my company, Exposure Strategies, into an Apostolate and away from the pure business approach we have had for seventeen years. In fact, it was the fourth day of my Novena to St. Joseph.
I can credit Benedictus XVI for leading me to the final decision – to actually flip the switch – that took my partners, including my wife, by surprise.
It was the right thing to do.
In his leadership, he showed that to be first one must be last. That the exalted will be placed low, and the lowly elevated. As a man, I have struggled daily with wanting to be more important and, because of that, I am not very important in my community.
I have learned that perhaps I was attempting to be important in the wrong community – the community of business and politics – and that, God willing, my talents may be better used in assisting other apostolates and Christ-centered business to be important themselves.
I have a long row to hoe. It is not easy to hear or see people do or say things that I think I can do or say better. It’s not easy getting my own ego out of the way so that others may do what they do better than I do what I do.
Perhaps what is hardest is offering our services at no cost to some organizations, and them not taking advantage of it. When you believe in what someone is doing and you want to help, it is frustrating when they do not take you up on your offer. It’s a blow to your ego, and that frustration makes you angry.
Just this morning at Mass, my Priest said that anger is not a sin, but acting upon it is. Now, I have to not act upon it.
I am coming to the realization that St. Joseph has answered my appeal to him to petition Our Lord on my behalf. As usual, the need I sought to have answered came unexpectedly from a solution I was not praying for.
I received peace, not profit. But Christ’s Peace is the most profitable transaction I can get. I have learned so much since the Pope announced his resignation, that I can’t help but think the parallel time was and is intended.
So I am encouraged by His Holiness’ humility as an earthly example – something I can touch, watch, learn from and edify. And I think that is why it has been such a roller coaster. He has shown me what can be done, and I have vacillated back and forth about doing it, though I have swung that pendulum closer to actually following his example each time it has swung that way.
And I’m glad for it.
Each day I place my suffering on the altar when the gifts are brought up. And I remember the words of Brother Lawrence I read the day my Novena ended that give me the Peace that everything is going to be just fine.
That’s my story.