According to reports from Vatican sources, Benedict XVI spent about three hours at the papal summer residence, walking in the palace gardens, praying the rosary and attending a piano concert of classical music. He then returned in the evening to the Mater Ecclesiae monastery, where he now lives.
The four consecrated women of Communion and Liberation who cared for Benedict XVI’s papal apartments, and continue to take care of his living quarters, accompanied him on his excursion.
Now more than six months after the announcement that shook the world, Benedict’s decision to live a hidden life is still being reflected upon. Some have had the privilege to listen to the Pope Emeritus himself speak about his choice. Despite his cloistered life, Benedict has allowed — sporadically and only on certain occasions — some private visits at Mater Ecclesiae.
One such visitor, who met with the Pope Emeritus several weeks ago, reported that Benedict spoke of his motivations for resigning.
“God had told me,” he said, clarifying that it was not any kind of apparition or phenomenon of that kind, but rather a “mystical experience” in which the Lord had developed in his heart an “absolute desire” to remain alone with Him, withdrawn in prayer.
Ratzinger, the anonymous source revealed, declared that this “mystical experience” has lasted all these months, increasing more and more the longing for a unique and direct relationship with the Lord. In addition, the Pope Emeritus reflected that the more he observes the “charisma” of Pope Francis, the more he understands that his choice was “the will of God.”