During the course of a private meeting Benedict XVI said that a mystical experience led him to resign
“God told me to.” This was Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s reason for stepping down from the pontificate. An anonymous individual who visited Ratzinger about a week ago gave a statement recounting what was said during the private meeting, Catholic news agency Zenit reports.
Ratzinger’s decision to stay out of the limelight still raises many questions, six months after the shock announcement of his resignation, Zenit says. One person was lucky enough to hear the reasons for this decision from Ratzinger’s very lips. Although the Pope Emeritus lives a cloistered life, he does very occasionally accept highly private visits in the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican which is his current residence.
During these meetings, the former Pope does not comment, reveal secrets or make any statements that may weigh on the new pontificate as “the words that were said by the other Pope.” He is as discreet as he has always been. At most, all he does is observe the wonders that the Holy Spirit is doing through his successor, or he talks about himself and about how his decision to resign was the result of divine inspiration.
When asked why he stepped down from the Throne of Peter, the Pope Emeritus said “God told me to.” Ratzinger then apparently added that there was no apparition or any phenomenon of this kind. It was a “mystical experience”. The Lord planted the seed of an “absolute desire” in his heart “to remain alone with him, secluded in prayer.” According to the source, this mystical experience has lasted throughout all of these past months, increasing his longing for a unique and direct relationship with the Lord. The more the ope Emeritus observes the “charisma” of his successor, Pope Francis, the more he realizes that his decision to resign the papacy was “the will of God,” Zenit reports.
So it seems that not only is Ratzinger more convinced than ever about the prudence of his decision which sparked controversy among his closest collaborators, but he is also happy with his successor’s achievements so far. In a previous interview with a German academic, Benedict XVI spoke about how he and Francis were in tune in theological terms. It is also worth noting that Francis never misses a chance to publicly praise his predecessor, whose advice he treasures.