ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI revealed the secret of Cdl. Joachim Meisner's inner peace, which was his confidence that God would keep the barque of Peter from sinking.
In a tribute read at the funeral Mass of the former archbishop of Cologne, the retired Pope wrote, "I have been all the more impressed that in this last period of his life, he learned to let go and live increasingly from the conviction that the Lord does not leave his Church, even if at times the ship is almost filled to the point of shipwreck"
The former Holy Father, who had spoken with the cardinal just the day before he died July 5, attested to the level of spiritual joy that Cdl. Meisner maintained. "What struck me particularly in the last conversations with the cardinal, now gone home, was the natural cheerfulness, the inner peace and the assurance he had found," remarked Benedict.
We know that it was hard for him, the passionate shepherd and pastor of souls, to leave his office, and this precisely at a time when the Church had a pressing need for shepherds who would oppose the dictatorship of the zeitgeist, fully resolved to act and think from a faith standpoint.
It wasn't just his love of the Church that caused the cardinal so much stress but his love of souls being restored to grace in the confessional and his love for Our Lord in the Eucharist. Benedict touched on both sources of joy in the cardinal's life.
The first was that he often related to me that what filled him with deep joy was to experience, in the Sacrament of Penance, how young people, above all young men, came to experience the mercy of forgiveness, the gift, in effect to have found life, which only God can give them.
This is all the more remarkable as many clerics are speaking and acting as if conversion is impossible for the modern fallen Catholic. Many seemingly aren't concerned that Catholics be restored to a state of grace prior to receiving Holy Communion.
The second source of joy for Cdl. Meisner, according to Benedict, was the increase in Eucharistic adoration especially that which had began at World Youth Day in Cologne back in 2005. "This was the central theme for him at World Youth Day in Cologne — that there was adoration, a silence, in which the Lord alone speaks to hearts," wrote Benedict. He added that Eucharistic adoration at that event "became an interior event that has remained unforgettable and not only to the Cardinal. This moment for him was subsequently always present internally and a great light for him."
The former pope in his homage noted that Cdl. Meisner had died while praying his breviary. "The art of dying, which was given to him, again demonstrated how he had lived: with his face towards the Lord and in conversation with Him," said Benedict. "Let him now intercede for the Church of Cologne and for the whole world!"