Saint John Paul II – first memorial celebration

Today the memorial of Saint John Paul II is celebrated for the first time on the Roman Calendar. On this day in 1978 he began his ministry as the Pope, the universal Pastor of the Church. I take this opportunity to provide a to a marvelous talk given by University of St Thomas faculty, emeritus, Rev. Janusz A. Ihnatowicz, on the Sanctity of John Paul II , found on the website of the John Paul II Forum.
His many deeds and writings are too numerous to recount; and today we celebrate his holiness of life. A passage from Raissa Maritain’s book, Notes on the Lord’s Prayer, strike me as particularly apt for the life of Saint John Paul II. In discussing the third petition, “Thy Will be Done,” Ms. Maritain writes the following:

 

One might say that in passing from one stage to the other the petition becomes more intimate and goes in a deeper way to God’s own good. May
honor and witness the rendered to His holiness. May His reign come to all men,
and that kingdom where His very divinity is participated in by created minds.
May the superabounding Love which is one with His Being, may the desire of
His heart, may His will find accomplishment without obstacle in the world of
men as in the world of the blessed in heaven.
The third petition is a prayer of loving acceptance, which
means most often a prayer of abandonment of self and of submission in the midst
of crushing trials and ruin, a prayer of prostration in order to participate in
the humiliation of the Savior. But it is also, and even more, a prayer of
exaltation, zeal and fiery desire, an insatiable prayer, inflamed by Love, a
prayer which makes us enter into the primeval desires of God and of his
incarnate Son, and which claims for the glory of the Father that which will
never be fully realized here below and cannot be, but which must be asked for
with all the more fervor and perseverance and which will be accomplished at the
end of ends and in so much more beautiful a manner that every created mind
among the saved will be in raptures with it.    Notes on the Lords
Prayer
(New York, 1964) pp. 69-70

Consider how the life of John Paul II always gave honor and witness to the Holy Name of God (“Hallowed be Thy Name”); he allowed God to reign in his mind and heart and shared those marvelous fruits with the whole Church and the whole world in his priestly ministry and especially in his teaching. (“Thy Kingdom come”) His encyclicals are nothing less than an extended discourse on the Kingdom of God, from the Trinitarian Life of God to the life and mission of the Church and renewal of man and society through the mysterious leaven of the Kingdom. He superabounded with the Love of God and gave himself daily in seeking to further accomplish the work of Jesus Christ (“Thy Will be Done”).  He abandoned himself to God, from his youth with the “Totus Tuus” and the war time sacrifices, throughout his whole life, but especially in suffering the assassination wound, the various illnesses, and at the debilitation at the end of his life, when he, the great actor and spokesman for God, could no longer utter a sound. He participated in the humiliation of the Savior; and yet how much did he pray with exaltation in the Holy Spirit, inflamed by love; how deeply he entered into the Mystery of the Redeemer of Man (Gaudium et Spes §22). And now he is with the Blessed in heaven, in the rapture of the Beauty of God.

We thank God for his presence among us and dedicate ourselves to deepening our awareness of faith and reforming our lives to reflect the visage of Jesus Christ.

1 Comment
  1. Today's Magnificat has a nice piece by Father Stan Fortuna, which quotes some passages from Saint John Paul II on Love. One is a reply to the perennial question of why God's universe contains suffering:

    "suffering is present in the world in order to release love, in order to give birth to works of love towards neighbor, in order to transform the whole of human civilization into a civilization of love."

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