Monday, April 03, 2006

The Anchoress on "Remembering John Paul II"

Get it here!

She offers an amazing array of links to bloggers and MSM alike that reflect on the anniversary of John Paul the Great's death.

Our Lord continues to display his breathtaking humor. The anniversary fell on a Sunday, the one day of the week that I dedicate to non-blogging. So here I am, chasing the receding caboose of the train that's carried the rest of St. Blog's down the line.

C'est Lie Vie!

Here's some of what I wrote on the occasion of the John Paul the Great's departure:
I had two opportunities to see the Pope live. When I was sixteen, I made a trip to Italy with my high school. Being good Salesians of Don Bosco, and having an Italian-born Salesian Priest moderate our trip, we wound up in Saint Peter's Square for an audience. That is, we and the dozens of other visitors who had arrived. I couldn't nearly appreciate him then.

Years later, I had another opportunity to see John Paul II. I was in my mid-twenties, a full-blown relapsed catholic that had volunteered to chaperon a group of teenagers from my local Parish. They were headed to NYC--Central Park, to be exact, for Mass! The weather couldn't have been more Irish--just enough steady drizzle to notice, but not enough to care. There we were, along with the other 300, 000 faithful that had shown up.

I'll never forget his expression as he prayed. It was as though he were in the extreme pain of his eventual future. He almost appeared to groan, as if he literally was carrying the weight of us all, as well as the world. Of course, he was. That was the sense any one who had met him came away with most of all. He absolutely cared. He personally loved and cared deeply about each and every one of us, even though he could not meet us personally. That was his presence. That was how he evangelized.
Pope John Paul the Great's larger-than-life presence came not from his immense stage presence. It came not from his profound philosophy or deep theological resevoir. It came not from his robust physicality or his backround as an actor and playwright. It came not even from his unrelenting courage. As important as all of these facets of him were, they alone can't account for how he moved the world. Only one aspect of his being, of which he made all of us his witnesses, allowed him to command our attention in awe and wonder all those years: his discipleship.

He personally bore witness through every word, gesture and encounter to the loving presence of Jesus Christ. He spent his papacy exhorting Christ's Church to "be not afraid" and to turn to him once again. His trust in his savior inspired all of us to trust in Christ anew. His devotion to Christ allowed all of us to see the Church for who she truly is--the communion of all of us with Christ! In a world long prepared to retire religion as irrelevant and pursue the vain ideologies that end in madness and destruction, Pope John Paul the Great dared all of us to embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and then shout it from the rooftops!

I am convinced that John Paul the Great has been a prophet for our Church in our time. His extraordinary papacy of evangelization has revitalized the faith of countless Christians. Yet even with him gone, our Lord has not left us orphaned. For if John Paul the Great called us to turn to Christ and to "Be not afraid!", Pope Benedict XVI calls us to listen to Christ and do whatever he tells us.

The same Holy Spirit that so enlivened the ministry of Pope John Paul the Great continues to inspire his successor. And why not? He breathes life through Christ's mystical body--the Church!

May we open our hearts and allow the Lord to pour out his Spirit in us. Then, bathed in that gift of his grace, let us witness Christ through lives lived in dignity and courage. Let's share our relationship with the Lord with those in our lives. Let's allow them to enter our hearts and give the very best of ourselves to them for their own sake. In short, let's allow Christ to love them through us!