The Prophetic Purpose of the Passing of a Pope
Happy Feast of the Mother of God. May she intercede for us to have a New Year closer to Jesus, her son.
Lee Anne and I were talking about the fact that it sure seemed prophetic, how Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed into the arms of Jesus on the last day of 2022. Years ago, her spiritual director also passed on New Year's Eve. I was present in a home where a man of God went home to the Lord after midnight Mass, as the world turned from one year to the next. Why?
So many things happen in and around our lives, which may have prophetic meaning, but are we listening to the Holy Spirit? It's not to read into every little thing that happens;
some things just grab our attention. We can either take them into prayer
or just shrug our shoulders and say, "that was strange!" Yet, Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear and heed My words." (Matt. 11:15) Scripture explains that it is the Holy Spirit, Who speaks to our inner ears: "He who has an ear, let him hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev. 3:22) Everyone has an "inner ear," which is their spirit. The soul is the mind, will, and emotions. Human beings are body, soul and spirit. The spirit is what is most important- what is most God-like ("God is spirit." Jn. 4:24)
Many people cultivate and train their bodies, such as athletes. Others develop their intellect, one part of the soul. Both are worthy endeavors. However, most people do not focus on training their spirits to hear the voice of God.
It could be easy to misinterpret God's voice, because He is so different than we are. (Is. 55:8-9) Sometimes, we see only one aspect of what the Lord is communicating. All in all, we "understand in part, and prophesy in part." (1 Cor. 13:9) For example, St. Francis was told in prayer "Go, and rebuild My Church, for as you can see, it is falling into ruin." He took the word literally, and began rebuilding old churches and chapels. The experience with God was real, but he unpacked it over time as the Lord showed him the deeper spiritual meaning of preaching and witnessing renewal in the Church by the Holy Spirit in evangelization.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was prophetic. He had this to say about the renewal of the Church- he may not have understood exactly how it would come about, but he released this powerful word, which many people seem to have ignored:
"In this context, I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of Lectio divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart (cf. Dei Verbum, n. 25). If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church - I am convinced of it - a new spiritual springtime." (link)
In the Catholic Church, a lie has been perpetuated for many years, that "lay people should not read the Bible for themselves, because they could misinterpret it." Many, many people have been told this over the years. In recent days, more and more people have started delving a bit more into Scripture through devotionals, the Liturgy of the Hours, the daily readings, or attend Bible studies, but they still do not open their own Bible each day. Pope Benedict was prophetically exhorting the Church to meditate on the Scripture. In other words, reading the Bible passage and asking the Lord, "what are You saying to me today?" There is no one on this planet who does not need a word from God- an encouragement, a challenge, a loving reminder...He speaks in so many different ways.
This morning, the first morning of 2023, I woke up and was lying in bed, praying in tongues. I wasn't thinking about anything in particular, when a thought came to me, "Do you want to know the prophetic purpose of why Pope Benedict died on December 31st?" As I mentioned before, Lee Anne and I were talking about it, reflecting (maybe meditating on it in some small way) the night before.
I felt it could be the Holy Spirit. I said, "Yes, Lord- what does it mean?" Thoughts came rushing to my mind...
I felt the Lord was showing me that as the passing of David was, so is the passing of Pope Benedict XVI. Now, his sons have a choice to make- will they be like his father, the beloved of the Lord- David, "a man after God's own heart," (1 Sam. 13:14) or will they turn to the wicked ways of the world.
While David was still alive, his son Absalom rose up against him. ("Spirit of Absalom" article) Pope Benedict XVI was a true example of a man of God. I remember being at the Easter Triduum in Rome years ago, and standing maybe 10 feet away from him. Though he was short, and seemingly frail even at that time, one could tell he was a holy and prayerful man. Many believe he was the greatest theologian of our time; if so, it is because he practiced what he preached- he took the name "Benedict" and followed in his stead, practicing lectio divina. ("Lectio Divina: How to Read and Pray the Bible") Primary theology is the reading and praying of the Word of God- lectio divina, which every Christian must do if they wish to follow Christ. (John 10:27) Secondary theology is what is commonly called, "theology," which is a reflection on what is received in prayer with the Scriptures.
The Church must get back, as Pope Benedict XVI said, to the basics of the Word of God in lectio divina. Reading the Bible is what makes a person a spiritual Christian- as eating makes a human being healthy. In prayerful Scripture reading and listening to the Lord, we can discover the real person of "Jesus of Nazareth," as Pope Benedict famously called his book series, and rediscover that He is the only way to Heaven, as he has asserted in many places.
"No one is strong enough to travel the entire path of salvation unaided. All have sinned, all need the Lord’s mercy, the love of the Crucified One (cf. Rom 3:23-24).”
"Jesus, who said that he had come so that we might have life and have it in its fullness, in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10), has also explained to us what “life” means: “this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Jn 17:3). Life in its true sense is not something we have exclusively in or from ourselves: it is a relationship. " (Spe Salvi, 27, link)
The servants of the Church, as in every age, have a decision of whether to represent the voice of the world, or the voice of the Lord, contained in Scripture. We will either be prayerful and prophetic, as Pope Benedict was, in his his preaching, writing and addresses such as "The Regensburg Address," which many believe to be prophetic- or, we will become political.
I felt the Holy Spirit was saying that the purpose of the death of the Pope on Dec. 31 was to signify a challenge in the Church today- a challenge for David's sons to follow his example, of becoming men and women after God's own heart.
Lee Anne and I pray you have a New Year full of God's grace, signs, wonders, and miracles, financial blessings, and more than enough of what you need- because He is the El Shaddai, the God of more than enough! May He bless you 1,000 fold, as He promised in Deuteronomy 1:11.
Holy Mary, Mother of God and our mother, pray for us.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, pray for us. Fr. Fernando Suarez, pray for us. Frances Philips, pray for us.
In the Father's Love,
Daniel Devine, M. Div
Feast of the Mother of God, 2023
If you have not yet given your heart to Jesus, now is the time!
Prayer of Salvation (for renewed faith in Jesus Christ) Lord Jesus Christ, come into my heart. I desire that You be the Lord of my life, so that I may be a Child of the Light. To know You as my personal Savior. For I know and believe that You died on the Cross for my sins. You rose again from the dead on the third day, and You are coming again in glory. I believe in Your forgiveness, and I desire that You help me to refrain from any temptations that would keep me separated from Your everlasting love. Amen.