Thursday, February 10, 2005

I love this man

Peggy Noonan writes eloquently today about John Paul II and what he is teaching us through his illness and suffering. It is tremendously moving. Here are a couple of excerpts.

I always get the feeling with John Paul that if he could narrow down who he meets and blesses to those he likes best it would not be cardinals, princes or congressmen but nuns from obscure convents and Down syndrome children. Especially the latter. Because they have suffered, and because in some serious and amazing way they understand more than most people. Everyone else gets tied up in ambition and ideas and bustle, but the modest and limited are able to receive this message more deeply and openly: God loves us, his love is all around us, he made us to love him and play with him and serve him and be happy.

* * * *
But why, I said, does God allow this man he must so love to be dragged through the world in pain? He could have taken him years ago. Maybe, said Mr. Novak, God wants to show us how much he loves us, and he is doing it right now by letting the pope show us how much he loves us. Christ couldn't take it anymore during his passion, and yet he kept going. Which reminded me of something the pope said to a friend when the subject of retirement came up a few years ago: "Christ didn't come down from the cross." Christ left when his work was done.

Like many pilgrims who are actually making it to Rome in these times, I wish I could lay eyes on John Paul the Great. I am blessed to have seen some of the ways God has use this man, who has truly fulfilled the traditional subtitle of the Popes: the servant of the servants of God. May God offer him physical relief and spiritual communion until He calls his servant to be with him in complete joy and glory.


TS said...

I watched the Christmas Mass at the Vatican on EWTN and fought back tears while watching the John Paul bless the children. The very young with the very old, yet both so innocent. I got choked up thinking that the Holy Father so wanted to convey his love and affection towards these children but couldn't, his face mask-like, his body so frail.

Therese Z said...

I told our mid-30's parish priest who literally cannot remember life without this Pope (isn't that amazing?) that one of the greatest things about him is that he speaks our language!

I can remember being in grade school in the 1960's, and having an address from the Holy Father piped in through the school loudspeaker system into the classroom, and it was a voice in Italian, with a hushed translation running with it, a little like watching golf. It was okay, but unless you were used to being around people who spoke no English, it seemed less real, less directed at ME.

Then along comes this Pope, who I saw (along with a million others) in Chicago in 1979 or 1980. Whose warmth and charm came directly to us not just with his face and body language but with his voice! He came to the window of the Cardinal's residence one evening to look at the people gathered outside, excited the Pope was in town, and waved and made gestures of sleep, and said "go home, get to bed, you must be sleepy, thank you." Not an important doctrinal teaching, just fatherly kidding. A lot of people fell in love with him right then.



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