(Disclaimer: Nearly all of this journal was written as I went, and most of it was written with the writer in a state of exhaustion; despite this, I've edited it only a little. No doubt large parts of it are deathly boring. Some parts of it may be aggravating or worse – but they are my honest feelings. Hopefully, a few parts of it will be of interest.)
It's been such an insane week and month – but insane in the best Cause there is – that only now am I realizing I'm on my way to see the Pope. I've never seen him in America – and never seen this Pope at all. Only met him through his writings – and the man writing is so different from the man written about by our media, you'd scarce know they are the same man. God's Rottweiler, or God's Shepherd, tender of His flock? Read his books. Not the news articles. You'll not find a kinder, gentler teacher. The Gospels this past week have been from Christ's Good Shepherd discourse – Benedict fits that so beautifully. Not herding us; but quietly, humbly leading and asking us in love to follow along with him. Not the Good Shepherd, but a good Shepherd. Thank God for such a Pope. John Paul was the Pope for all my life – not only the Pope, but the papacy; now I see how personality is no part of the office of the Pope. Two such different men: both chosen, both true gifts to the Church. Benedict is like fine wine – to be savored; rolled over the tongue and lingered over; wasted if rushed or not given full attention. John Paul reached out and caught your attention – embodied the joy and vigor of Christian hope and drew the same response from you. Benedict waits for you to come to him and hear what he has to say in your own time. But when you do – such a reward.