Loving companionship of a spiritual father

By Hallie Lord

When Catholicism first caught my eye in 2000, Pope John Paul II was there at the door waiting to joyfully usher me in. He served me kremówka, answered my questions and held me as I wept from the growing pains of starting a new life in Christ. He became my dad months before I officially became a member of the Body of Christ. 

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After his death I felt bereft; a new Catholic and already an orphan. It seemed impossible that any man could ever replace my sweet father. 

When first asked what Pope Benedict XVI has meant to me, my thoughts gravitated toward the vast amount of wisdom he’s put to paper. I meditated on the many brave and humble acts he has undertaken during his papacy.  

As I considered where my thoughts have settled, though, I realized that the most important thing Pope Benedict has given to me is simply his loving companionship as I navigated this new world of Catholicism and came face to face with its mystical qualities. 

I was driving in my car on April 19, 2005, when I heard the words “Habemus Papam!” informing me that a man I did not know was my new spiritual father.  

Chills ran down my arms and my eyes filled with tears. I loved him instantly with a love that could only have been given to me by the Holy Spirit; no less rich than the love that I had for Pope John Paul II. 

This was astounding to me. I’d assumed that never again would I love a pope the way I loved my first spiritual father. 

Now its Pope Benedict’s turn to leave and I am faced with a new challenge: How will I find a place in my heart for a new father when my current father has yet to go to his earthly reward? 

Thanks to the journey that I took with him, I know that in the same way that a mother’s heart grows when she gives birth to a new child, so, too, will my heart grow and make room for a new father.  

Hallie Lord is the author of Style, Sex and Substance” (OSV, $14.95) and blogs at moxiewife.com.

Soldiering on in truth

By Elizabeth Scalia