February 13, 2013. (Romereports) “I thank you all for the love and prayers that have accompanied me. Thank you," said the Pope. "In these difficult days, I've felt almost physically, the power of prayer that comes through the love for the Church and your personal prayers. Continue to pray for me, for the Church and the future Pope. The Lord will guide.”
Looking calm and serene, Benedict XVI led his first public appearance, after announcing his resignation. Before a full crowd, he once again said he made the decision with complete liberty. He echoed Monday's statement by saying that he does not have the strength to carry out the office.
Then he continued with his weekly catechesis, on Ash Wednesday.
He talked about the temptation Jesus experienced when He was in the desert. In today's modern world, said the Pope, the temptation is to push faith aside and seek false solutions.
“While the Lord continues to raise up examples of radical conversion, like Pavel Florensky, Etty Hillesum and Dorothy Day, he also constantly challenges those who have been raised in the faith to deeper conversion.”
During this Lenten season, the Pope invited people to open their minds and hearts, as Christ knocks on their door. A source of true inspiration, he says, is that Jesus himself overcame temptation out in the desert.
The Vatican's Paul VI Hall was full of pilgrims who greeted the Pope, interrupting him with applause throughout, to show their gratitude for the last eight years.