The process leading to the May 1 beatification of Pope John Paul II has shown that there was no distinction between the private life of the Pontiff and his public one. According to the postulator of his cause, the process has been "a confirmation of the total transparency of his life as a man and a priest."
ROME, Italy (Zenit.org) - The process leading to the May 1 beatification of Pope John Paul II has shown that there was no distinction between the private life of the Pontiff and his public one. According to the postulator of his cause, the process has been "a confirmation of the total transparency of his life as a man and a priest."
This was the reflection shared by Monsignor Sawomir Oder at a conference last Friday in Rome. "There wasn't a public Wojtyla and a private one," he said. "The opinion about him developed by the world during his more than 26 years of pontificate has been shown to be true."
According to the monsignor, the media didn't "create" a likable, fervent, engaging Pope. Rather, those qualities were the essence of his person.
The beatification process has also confirmed a "real treasure," according to Monsignor Oder. It has shown that the source of the Holy Father's consistency, energy, enthusiasm and depth was his "encounter with God, his falling in love with Christ and knowing he was loved by Him."
The postulator recounted something Karol Wojtyla once said: "They try to understand me from outside [...] but I can only be understood from within."
Prayer was the "air he breathed, the water he drank, the food that nourished him," Monsignor Oder stated, a prayer that endured until the last hour of his agony.
As many witnesses attested, for John Paul II "the first task of the Pope for the Church and the world is to pray."
"It was from prayer that the fecundity of his action stemmed," the monsignor affirmed. When the Pontiff asked collaborators to suggest solutions to particular problems and they said they had not found any, he would repeat to them, "They will be found when we have prayed more."
Free for truth
Monsignor Oder also attributed John Paul II's "capacity to tell the truth without fear" to his prayer, "because only one who is before God does not fear men."
His inner freedom was also expressed in his detachment from material possessions, the postulator continued, calling the Pope a "man of radical poverty."
He explained how witnesses from Krakow recall laundering new clothes several times so they appeared used, thereby tricking Karol Wojtyła into accepting them instead of promptly give them to the poor.
His inner liberty was also exercised in relation to others, the monsignor said. The Pope was a man who knew how to accept criticism, and he would not shun a difficult position out of fear -- neither fear of authorities during his years in Poland, nor of public opinion during his years as Pope.
Success was never his objective, Monsignor Oder said. Rather, it was "to proclaim the truth of the Gospel and to defend the truth about man."
From this liberty, he continued, founded on his relationship with God, "was born the cry, 'do not be afraid,' the beginning and motto of his pontificate."
Monsignor Oder described the Pope as someone who sought closeness with every person.
"Wojtyla, who very soon lost his natural family, had a strong sense of family and knew human warmth," he said. And these familial bonds stretched beyond the confines of the Church.
Monsignor Oder recounted an encounter with a Jewish woman who told him she had lost her father twice: "The first time when her natural father died, and the second with the death of John Paul II."
Free for suffering
The cross is another element in Wojtyla's life that shouldn't be overlooked, Monsignor Oder said.
He remembered how the Pope carried suffering "with dignity, and, at the end, in a silence that spoke more than words."
The postulator reflected, "Millions of people in the world keep in their memory the image broadcast by TV of the Pope from behind in his private chapel, embracing the cross during the celebration of Good Friday."
Monsignor Oder thus described the beatification process as more than a "bureaucratic examination." Instead, he asserted, it restored "intensity and vigor" to aspects already known about Pope Wojtyla, and brought to light many more.
By Jennifer Hartline
St. Therese helps me understand: "the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the ... continue reading
By Fr. Dwight Longenecker
I was an Anglican priest the summer I met St Therese of Lisieux. I was living in England and had three months free between jobs, so I decided to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I was going to hitch hike and stay in monasteries and religious houses on the way. ... continue reading
By F. K. Bartels
The Little Flower of Jesus sacrificed her life for love of souls. She saw the magnitude of her Beloved's love for them. She offered herself for the building up of the Church, the People of God and the Mystical Body of Christ. That is truly a ... continue reading
By Youngsun Jun
Though I am not strong enough to hold the suffering souls in my arms and carry them home, I can do one thing: I can pray for the deliverance of the souls who are in the darkness. I can request help from the angels for them. I can make a 911 call for them. So again, I ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Saint Junipero Serra, pray for us! Saint Junipero Serra, your missionary zeal brought the light of Christ to millions. You endured so many hardships, and labored so much that your work resonates today in the hearts of hundreds of millions of Catholics. Saint Serra, I ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith A Fournier
Over the centuries, the Jesuits have been relied upon by Popes as trustworthy, heroic soldiers for Jesus Christ and His Church. Yes, there have been times when the company seemed to lose its fervor. However, Jesus Christ the King has always sent His Spirit to ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith A Fournier
On July 15th in the Liturgical Calendar of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, we commemorate the life, holiness, work and death of a great Bishop and Doctor named Bonaventure. He was born in 1218, became a Franciscan Friar in 1243, and died in 1274. A friend ... continue reading
By Justin Soutar
During his visit to the United States this coming September, Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, the heroic 'Apostle of California.' Once that happens, the Golden State will have its own patron saint and the Church will have another great missionary role ... continue reading
By Alex Basile
Every carpenter must practice patience. We can learn important lessons from the wood shop in Nazareth from the humble Saint Joseph. I have always been a "do it yourself" type of guy thanks to my father. My dad is always a steady presence during my home-improvement ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
This great defender of the faith insisted on the central claim of Christianity: God can be known and loved-indeed, that is why He came into our midst in the person of His Son; so that through a relationship with Jesus Christ, man could participate in the ... continue reading