Wednesday, one of the women who cares for the Pope, Manuela Camagni, was killed in an auto accident on her way home. She was, by all accounts, a remarkable woman and the tragedy has wounded the entire household. We should all pray for the repose of her soul but I think we should also say a special prayer for Pope Benedict.
Sister Death comes when she will, but in the normal course of affairs, she comes later in life. This allows the soul time to prepare to meet her, but that preparation is itself, for many people, a great source of anxiety. It is one thing to lose a friend or an acquaintance in a tragic accident, but as one gets on in years, every brush with death bears with it the intimation of your own time coming to an end. I see this in my Dad who seems to attend any and every funeral within a fifty mile radius of our home, even if he knew the deceased only very little. It is as if he wants to be as familiar as possible with Sister Death so as to be ready when she comes, and come she will. The Holy Father is only one year older than my Dad, so I am sure he has similar thoughts.