Right now, I have the BBC World Service cybercast on my computer. (Hooray, the freakin' sound card has decided to revive itself over the past few weeks. Here's hoping it keeps working.)
It's been a surreal few days for anyone who follows the national or world news with any consistency. Yesterday, we saw the passing of Terri Schiavo (who, I discovered several days ago, was born the same week that I would've been born, had I not been premature). The very public family rift between her husband and her parents, regarding the removal of her feeding tube, is to me as tragic as the fact that she's spend the past 15 years in a vegetative state. :o( The feeding tube was removed on March 18, and yesterday she passed away. She's certainly in a better place NOW, healthy and strong and aware, and no doubt praying for her loved ones whom she's left behind. May she rest in peace, and may ALL of her family and friends have consolation and come to terms with her passing.
And today, the Pope's health has deteriorated to the point where it appears that HIS passing is imminent. All I can say is, "Thank you for giving your all in the service of the Church and the world. Pray for us when you get up there -- you're going to your reward, and you're leaving behind a world full of turmoil."
I honestly don't think I'm jumping the gun by writing that now, when he's still with us. The Vatican's description of his continually failing health has described him as having shallow breathing, dropping blood pressure, and is suffering heart and kidney problems. He is reported to have had heart failure last night, and is battling septic shock. All those things, combined with the Parkinson's disease and any other health issues that he's been coping with for years, add up to a poor prognosis for his being able to pull through this particular health crisis.
And yet... yes, I realize that God can perform a miracle at any time, as He sees fit. But I also realize that THIS LIFE is not the be-all and end-all of our existence. The NEXT life is. Isn't our goal to give our earthly life to God, so we can spend our eternal life with Him?
In that case, I can't really bring myself to pray only for the Pope's recovery. I'd rather pray for him to have a miraculous recovery if the Lord has decided that this is not his time to die, but if it IS his time, then may his passing be peaceful and painless, and may the Church have the Lord's guidance in choosing a successor once its earthly shepherd departs this life.