Sunday, April 23, 2017

JPII, We Miss You

What was different about this year, this Holy Week, this Easter Week?  I don’t know, but a light has shined in my heart throughout these days.
Yesterday, breakfast with my friend was most pleasant; the time passed quickly, and I almost didn’t notice the repetitions of his words and thoughts, the signs of his Alzheimer’s disease.  I found pleasure as I watched his face smile as he described the small pleasures of his day, and then again as he watched the video screen in front of the little girl seated next to us: “It’s Mickey Mouse,” he said, and he seemed fascinated by the screen’s action.  He was happy, and so was I.
In the afternoon, I called friends to have them join me, but no one was home.  I think that was a blessing too, and so that evening I watched the DVD titled Credo by myself --- but I never felt alone.  It is the story of Pope Saint John Paul II’s life, and burial.  As Andrea Bocelli sang out with his beautiful voice, I watched the scenes unfold of Pope John Paul II’s wonderful life, and the celebration of his death, twelve years ago this very day, on the eve of the feast of Divine Mercy, the feast day which he initiated in the Church.  Three million people came from around the world, standing many hours in line, to file past JPII’s body as it lay in state at St. Peter’s in Rome.  And as Bocelli crooned, scenes of JPII’s world travels shone on the television screen, and I saw the huge crowds:  at Mexico, Africa, and the various World Youth Days --- where they showed the millions of youths chanting: “JPII, we love you,” and then his smiling face responded: “JPII, he loves YOU!”  And I watched the millions gathered around him in his beloved Poland, and then many of those same people at his funeral.  Many youths filed past his body; some cried uncontrollably.  I did, too.  I watched the many times JPII stopped to bless and hug babies, and the one little girl in her First Communion white dress who received the host reverently from him, and then rushed forward to hug him, as he smiled and hugged her back. 
And after these scenes of millions of people from around the world who flocked to see him, it showed him now being carried to his funeral mass --- in a simple pine box.
Last evening in the chapel I prayed The Luminous Mysteries of the rosary.  JPII wrote those meditations.  So many thoughts came to me as I prayed the mysteries of Christ’s greatest blessings to us, and as I recalled one very personal one to me this day.
Divine Mercy.  It was one of the things JPII preached throughout the world:  we need God’s mercy, and it is there for the asking.  No matter how long we’ve been away, no matter where in the world, God waits for us.  JPII preached it in his living, and in his painful dying: Jesus, I trust in You.
JPII, --- we miss you.


  1. What a gift to the world JPII was to us. How blest we were to have lived and witnessed his pontificate. How well I remember the day he died and his funeral.

    So many only see the political implications of some of the things he did and evaluate him only by way of that criteria. But he also gave us a sorely needed spiritual infusion, a legacy that has brought God into modern times, among these things: Divine Mercy.

    The power of St. Faustina's message from Our Lord is so deep and diverse. Some people want to see it only as a message of nullification of sin. But as our priest pointed out at Mass on Sunday, it is a call for repentance. Our priest quoted St. Faustina's diary saying Our Lord told her regarding punishment of sin, My Mercy does not want this, but My Justice demands it.

    Father then explained that the theological concept of Justice means giving someone their due. In terms of God, because he is God, justice dictates we owe Him worship, loyalty, love, service and obedience (following His commandments), giving Him His due. When we sin, His Justice requires punishment (giving us what is our due). But then there is His Mercy. God tells us, repent, ask Me, have contrition, and I will forgive anything. The Divine Mercy is great and remarkable because of the implications of Divine Justice.

    It was a powerful homily that really has impacted my reflections the last few days. This, combined with your reflections on JPII and your Easter experience, has given me much food for thought. Thank you.
    Happy Easter Tom.
    God bless.

  2. Happy Easter to you also, Fran. You are a friend I appreciate.