American friar Tom Washburn, OFM, in his article “The Pope and St Francis” reflects on the influence of St Francis’ spirit on Pope Benedict and his historic decison to resign as Supreme Pastor of the Church.
“I think Pope Benedict has a Franciscan heart and understands the reality of letting go very well. When meeting with the priests of Rome recently, the Pope said, “I am strengthened and reassured by the certainty that the Church is Christ’s.” The Holy Father knows that the church never belonged to Benedict. Like St. Francis, Benedict was merely its steward for a time. St. Francis realized something similar. He understood that he never intended to create such a thing as a Religious Order, but simply wanted to live the life of the Gospel and if others wanted to join him in doing that, what a wonderful thing.