With the rest of the world, I have been watching with some interest as Pope Benedict announced his resignation.
Although I have a strong testimony of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and have received personal witness that it is indeed the true church of God on the earth, I respect other religions and honor their members' desires to follow God. I have always particularly liked the Catholic church. I understand their claim of authority from the apostle Peter even though I believe that the Priesthood and the authority were lost from the earth. I admire the good work done by Catholics - lay members, priests and nuns, and especially Catholic Charities. I respect that they stand firm and unchanging in doctrine despite the changes in modern social standards and the pressure to keep up with the times. While many other churches adjusted their standards, the Catholic church said we cannot change God's laws. I one time told a former Catholic now Mormon that I have sometimes thought that if I had not been blessed with to be a member of the LDS church, I would probably be Catholic. She became somewhat upset and asked, "What about infant baptism?!" I must confess she had me there. Nonetheless, I have a certain soft spot towards the Catholic church and certainly a kind of fondness and respect for its devotees.
There is something that I have always wondered about. I have often wondered what it is like for the Pope. Catholic doctrine is that the Pope is infallible. The Pope speaks for God. Many Catholics do not personally accept that in their lives, but how well do I live the counsel that a living prophet has given me? I willingly believe that many Catholics have sincere belief and faith. I would think the Pope has too, all his life. I don’t think they teach personal revelation so much. They look to their ecclesiastical leaders. So when you get to the top, to whom to you look up? When the Pope gets to the top and asks his questions, what happens next? Does the Lord answer his faith and give him inspiration? Does Lucifer step in and deceivingly act the part? Or does nothing happen and the pope is suddenly there alone, wondering “what now?” No pope has come out and told everyone that they had all been tricked. And I have wondered what their experience is.
In his farewell address POPE Benedict XVI admitted it sometimes felt as if 'God was asleep'– that God was not there, not responsive, not answering. It sounded to me that he blamed his age and weakness for the silence more than that he doubted God or his religion.
And he did say "sometimes". So I still don't know. Probably won't ever as it is not important to my personal salvation. Unless the Catholic Church is the true church to which I should belong, which I have personal witness it is not.
How grateful I am for revelation! As weak as I am and as seldom as I have, I have received it. I know it is real. I believe when I hear others testify of having received revelation (most of the time). And ! I can always ask for personal verificaiton!). I cannot imagine President Monson saying that the heavens are silent. Even though Joseph Smith Jr went through some ragged spots where He asked where God was hiding during Joseph’s and the Saints horrible trials. Of course, when he asked, he was answered. Not the answer he wanted, but answered. How blessed we are!
I believe in the gift of revelation available to each of us in our sphere of responsibility - if we will ask with a sincere heart and real intent, which includes trying to live the truths we have been given. I believe that the Priesthood of God was restored to earth. I believe that Thomas S Monson is a prophet of God, that he and his counselors and the Twelve Apostles do indeed converse with God. Conversations that are not one-sided. When they say that Jesus Christ is not only their Savior, but their friend, counselor, guide and ruler, they mean it literally. And wonderfully enough, we, each of us, can and should enjoy the same privileges in our own behalf and in behalf of those for whom we are responsible.
I am weak in this. I think that sometimes I am afraid of what the answer might be and don't want to hear it. I let a great deal of static interfere with the still, small voice. I need to fine tune my hearing. Still, there have been times when I clearly received the message. I have been led, comforted, warned, convinced, and loved.
God is not asleep.