Cardinal Ruini on John Paul II

Frank Zammit and Cardinal Ruini, 2011

On the Third Sunday of Easter, April 10, 2005, Cardinal Ruini spoke about the life of John Paul II and his closeness to the people of Rome:

The Lord Jesus, risen from the dead, became the
travelling companion of the two disciples who were walking from
Jerusalem to Emmaus: we might make a bold comparison and say that our
deeply beloved Pope, “who came from far away”, became the travelling
companion of Christians of Rome for over 26 years.
Today, while we are stunned and filled with sorrow by
the demise of John Paul II but also confident and joyful at the
certainty of his presence in a new, mysterious and luminous way, we
might ask ourselves how John Paul II managed to be so close to us and
touch so deeply the hearts of the people of Rome, but also of the
Italians and of so many citizens of the world. The true answer is simple and significant:  he was and
continues to be for everyone a brother and father, because he was a man
of God who lived constantly in God’s presence, closely united with him
and trusting totally in his infinite mercy.
Our Pope, therefore, was first and foremost a man of
prayer, and he spent most of his time and energy praying. He identified
with Jesus Christ and configured himself to the Priesthood of Christ so
that he could say: “Holy Mass is absolutely the centre of my life and of
all my days”.
He was totally consecrated to Mary; and he proved how
authentic this consecration was when, on awakening from the anaesthetic
after his tracheotomy, he wrote immediately: “To Mary… I once again
entrust myself: Totus Tuus!” [totally yours: the Pope’s motto].
Yet this extraordinary closeness to God did not distance
him from us earthly, sinful people, nor did it envelop him in an
atmosphere of remote holiness.
On the contrary, John Paul II was a real man who fully
enjoyed and appreciated the savour of life:  from the beauty of art,
poetry and nature to the vigour of sport, from philosophical and
theological thought to the courage required to take the most demanding
decisions.
Through him, therefore, we felt the Lord truly close to
us. We realized in a certain way that God does not dwell in inaccessible
regions but is the Lord of life and wants to be the centre of our
lives.

Moreover, our Pope wrote in his first Encyclical
Redemptor Hominis

that man is “the primary and fundamental way for the Church”,
explaining that “we are not dealing with the “abstract’ man, but the
real, “concrete’, “historical’ man… in the full truth of his
existence, of his personal community and social being” (Redemptor Hominis, nn. 13, 14). 

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