It's taken me a while to sit behind the keyboard and compose a few thoughts this morning... I kept trying, and then needing to get up and walk away. There are plenty of great accounts of this morning's announcement by Pope Benedict XVI that he will be resigning at the end of this month. For those, look to the following trusted resources:

I'm doing a poor job of responding to this announcement in a composed fashion. Part of that might be owing to the fact that the news woke me (via several text messages from friends) and that I spent my morning trying to be a mom and to share the news with my son and then get him off to school... to act like today was a normal day. Adam probably figured out when I sat on the edge of his bed choking back sobs that it wasn't just any normal Monday.

So I write this more from the perspective of a mom in the pew than that of a "pundit" as we bloggers are sometimes thought to be. I've already dodged a few public interviews, mostly because I know I can't yet speak on this topic without blubbering. I'll let other more eloquent bloggers take those, and I'll spend today quietly praying for this pontiff, my Holy Father.

So much is already being said about Pope Benedict XVI, about how he defied our expectations of him. When I think of him, it's largely through the prism of a few wonderful days I spent at the Vatican around the beatification of Blessed John Paul II and the Vatican Bloggers Meeting. How could I not love a pope who'd hold a "Vatican Bloggers Meeting"? A pope with his own app? Our first tweeting pope? He's given us so many gifts, including the recent Synod on the New Evangelization and of course his books.  So we have much to remember him by and to thank him for -- and of course he will still be with us, praying undoubtedly, although likely out of our view as his successor takes over.

I'm not ready to begin speculating on who's next or what their agenda will be -- likely because I'm not ready to say goodbye to my Holy Father. It will take me a few days to both recover from the surprise and to digest the ramifications this moment could have upon the Church I love. She's flawed in so many ways, and this moment in time will be a critical indicator of how she will move into a future full of so much pain and uncertainty.

Perhaps, in retrospect, Pope Benedict XVI was preparing us for this moment with his most recent tweet:

Today, I'm clinging to that assurance of God's grace, of his mercy and of his power to transform even these most transitional of moments and even for us sinners.

So I'll trust.

Copyright 2013 Lisa M. Hendey