Vatican City, Aug 26, 2016 / 02:02 am
Since he resigned from the papacy over three years ago, Benedict XVI rarely gives interviews. In a recent exception, however, the former pontiff took the time to chat not only about his successor, but the saints who've accompanied him throughout his life.
In the interview, published Aug. 24 in Italian newspaper La Reppublica, Benedict said he has been serene and happy since his resignation, and that while there were “smaller and larger difficulties” in his pontificate, there were also “many graces” that came from the fact that he wasn’t alone.
“From the beginning I was conscious of my limits and I accepted, as I have always sought to do in my life, in a spirit of obedience,” he said.
“I realized that all I had to do I couldn’t do alone and so I was almost forced to put myself in the hands of God, to entrust myself to Jesus, to whom, as I gradually wrote my volume on him (Jesus of Nazareth), I felt bound by an old and ever deeper friendship.”
Aside from Jesus himself, Benedict said Mary also played a key role in supporting him through the difficulties he faced. Moments when he felt particularly close to her, he said, were when he was “reciting the holy rosary and in the visits to the Marian sanctuaries.”
While Jesus and his Holy Mother are certainly first on the list for any Pope to turn to, Benedict also named several individual saints and Fathers of the Church who have played a key role throughout his life and pontificate.
He said his “travel companions for life” have always been “St. Augustine and St. Bonaventure,” whom he referred to as “my masters of the Spirit.”
The retired pontiff also pointed to his namesake, St. Benedict, whose motto “Prefer nothing to Christ” became “ever more familiar” throughout his time as Bishop of Rome.