‘Lord, I love you!’ How Pope Benedict’s Final Words Teach Us to Pray

“If you follow the will of God, you know that in spite of all the terrible things that happen to you, you will never lose a final refuge. You know that the foundation of the world is love, so that even when no human being can or will help you, you may go on, trusting in the One that loves you.” 

– Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger), “Jesus of Nazareth”

The last words reportedly spoken by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI before his death were, “Lord, I love you!

When I relayed this to my 6-year-old daughter, who had been praying for the pope, her face lit up – but not with the expression of trite, giddy excitement you’d expect from a girl her age – it was with a tender, hopeful sense of completion and purpose.

It was then, in that moment, that I knew she understood our call as Christians – to love the Lord unto our dying breath. And seeing that example in the pope meant something to her. And her reaction is seared on my heart forever.

How do I know that she “gets” it?

As far back as she can remember, we’ve been teaching her to pray, “I love you Jesus. Help me love you more and more.” And lately, as she’s grown in her faith and is approaching the age of reason, she’s verbalizing her understanding: “The most important thing is to love God most.”

This is the fruit of the simple prayers she’s been praying:

“Jesus, help me love you most.”

“Jesus, I trust in you.”

“Jesus, Mary, Joseph, I love you, save souls!”

And in the way we’re raising her in the faith – teaching the Ten Commandments, the Sacraments, the Mass, Sacred Scripture – they’re all important elements of God’s love story with us. It’s all about us learning to love Him, and desiring to love Him more.

Love. God’s love for us.

It sounds so simple, right? But that’s what our faith is all about. And thank God for Pope Benedict XVI, who has shown us so simply how to live that love – until our dying breath.

On the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, here are some practical ways to honor the Name of Jesus in your home:

  • Never, NEVER use His Name in vain.
  • Develop the habit of bowing your head at the sound of His Name.
  • Pray His Name throughout the day, like you just read above
  • When you glance at an image of Jesus or venerate a statue, crucifix, or image in your home, kiss Jesus and pray, “I love you, Jesus.”
  • Be sure your children see you do this, and encourage them to do the same.

Lord Jesus Christ, You have said, ‘Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you’; mercifully attend to our supplications, and grant us the grace of Your most divine love, that we have loved You with all our hearts, and in all our words and actions, and never cease to praise You.

Make us, O Lord, to have a perpetual fear and love of Your holy name, for You never fail to govern those whom You establish in Your love. You, Who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.

Click here for the Litany of the Most Holy Name of Jesus
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s “Jesus of Nazareth” is available at EWTN Religious Catalogue

And for more practical ways to grow in love of God and get your family to Heaven, be sure to get “The Prayer Book for Tired Parents” by Dave and Debbie Cowden

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