Blessed John Paul The Great
I thought it was going to be easy to put into words the celebration of the beatification of Blessed Pope John Paul II. It wasn’t going to be many because I found two videos — and moving pictures, as in rolling video as well as emotional scenes — speak much louder than 10,000 words. But the general sketch in my mind wasn’t translating. After all, a weekend of powerful and intense prayer, celebration and Mass defies mere human expression. Frustrated, I was about to step away for a few hours to let my mind regenerate the idea. Then, it hit me. Why is it that I am overwhelmed when I talk about him, when I see documentaries about him, when I see millions assembled in his honor? Could it be six years since he went to the Father?
It may be selfish, but it’s because I miss him. Still. I miss John Paul II as if I knew him or as if he was a relative. The power of his faith, his passionate exhortations — it’s easy to forget the earlier years of his pontificate, when he animated his homilies by waving his script or puncturing the air, accented by a warm smile, humility and a gentle sense of humor — transcended the ocean and miles. He was as present as our own pastors. He moves millions of us today: Be not afraid. Open up your hearts to Christ. That challenge to lift up your life amid earthly pursuits for the cause of Christ, his pontificate, his ministry all still resonate — not to mention the force of his will which in large part ended the enslavement of communism — make him the greatest man of the 20th century, a historic figure with whom we were privileged to share earthly time.
If anyone doubts the Holy Spirit, one need only undertake a cursory examination of John Paul’s life. If one doubts the power a Christ-like life, one need only witness the immense affect he had on the world and love for him, unlike that showered upon anyone else in human history. We loved him then. We love him now. How appropriate that his beatification Mass took place on the Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, which he instituted, and the feast on the eve of which he died six years ago. Six years? I miss him. Still. But now we know he remains with us. Blessed is he, John Paul The Great.
No news report needed. Only the awe of Pope Benedict’s pronouncement and the unveiling of the Blessed John Paul’s portrait.
For more detail, here’s a narrated report courtesy of RomeReports.com.