Saturday, April 02, 2005

Il Papa, Giovanni Paolo II

I was attending the annual conference of the Delaware Pro-life Coalition, clapping as the afternoon speaker, a medical doctor, finished up an impromptu presentation that he threw together this morning, abandoning his prepared talk. The talk he gave instead focused on end-of-life issues as they were played out in the media with Terri Schiavo and the Holy Father.

After the talk, one of the conference leaders came to the podium to announce that the Pope had died. Fr. John Grimm gave a prayer, and lead us all in an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for the Pope. Fr. John Grasing, this morning at Mass, had lead us in 3 Our Fathers, 3 Hail Marys, and 3 Glory Be's for the same intention. What a privilege on both occasions to be part of the communion of saints, praying our earthly shepherd into his reward.

I wrote this on christifideles just now:
History will remember him as THE towering spiritual and intellectual figure of the 20th century.

"Be not afraid." Over and over again, he repeated the message that God sent through the angels at key moments in salvation history.

When I read his book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, for the first time I felt a connection from a living Pope back to St. Peter himself. Not St. Peter before Pentecost, but St. Peter afterwards, who spoke so clearly and powerfully of the Lord Jesus and his intimate, saving love for us. JPII wrote like he too had walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus, ran as the soldiers took Him, denied Him, and come again to proclaim his gospel with courage throughout the world.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord,
And perpetual life shine upon him.
May his soul and the soul of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

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