Pope Benedict’s Spiritual Advice: “Stand firm in the faith! Do not be confused!”

In a short but moving testament to the Lord which was written just a year after he assumed the Chair of Peter, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI thanked God for guiding him “through all kinds of confusion” and issued a plea to all those who were entrusted to his service in the church to “Stand firm in the faith! Do not be confused!”

Within hours of the death of Pope Benedict on December 31, 2022, the Vatican released the spiritual testament written by the former pope in 2006, just one year into his eight-year pontificate. The document, entitled “My Spiritual Testament,” is a heartfelt and very personal statement expressing thanks to God and all those who accompanied him in life, love for his family and friends, and repentance toward all those who he may have hurt over the years.

“When, at this late hour of my life, I look back on the decades I have wandered through, I see first of all how much reason I have to give thanks,” the statement begins. “Above all, I thank God Himself, the giver of all good gifts, who has given me life and guided me through all kinds of confusion; who has always picked me up when I began to slip, who has always given me anew the light of his countenance. In retrospect, I see and understand that even the dark and arduous stretches of this path were for my salvation and that He guided me well in those very stretches.”

He goes on to thank his parents who raised him during the difficult years of the rise and fall of Adolph Hitler and World War II. “My father’s clear-sighted faith taught us brothers and sisters to believe and stood firm as a guide in the midst of all my scientific knowledge; my mother’s heartfelt piety and great kindness remain a legacy for which I cannot thank her enough.”

He praised his sister for serving him selflessly for decades and his beloved brother, Georg, who died in 2020 at the age of 96, who “always paved the way for me with the clear-sightedness of his judgements, with his powerful determination, and with the cheerfulness of his heart.”

The former pope loved his homeland and spoke of it with special fondness in his testament.

“…I would like to thank the Lord for my beautiful home in the Bavarian foothills of the Alps, in which I was able to see the splendor of the Creator Himself shining through time and again,” he wrote and offered a prayer for Germany that “our country will remain a country of faith” and asked his fellow Germans “not to let your faith be distracted.”

For all those who he wronged in any way, “I ask for forgiveness from the bottom of my heart,” he wrote.

He went on to warn that even though it often seemed as if natural science and historical research, particularly of Scripture, had offered irrefutable insights that are contrary to the Catholic faith, over the course of his life he has seen how these apparent certainties against the faith vanished, “proving themselves not to be science but philosophical interpretations only apparently belonging to science,” he wrote.

“For 60 years now, I have accompanied the path of theology, especially biblical studies, and have seen seemingly unshakeable theses collapse with the changing generations, which turned out to be mere hypotheses” such as the liberal, existentialist and Marxist generations.

“I have seen, and see, how, out of the tangle of hypotheses, the reasonableness of faith has emerged and is emerging anew. Jesus Christ is truly the Way, the Truth, and the Life – and the Church, in all her shortcomings, is truly His Body.”

Finally, he humbly asks for prayer that the Lord will admit him into the eternal dwellings, “despite all my sins and shortcomings.”

The testament was signed, simply, “Benedictus PP XVI.”

Click here to read the statement in its entirety.

© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®  http://www.womenofgrace.com

Comments are closed.