A Mother's Hand Guided the Bullets: John Paul II, Forgiving a Would-Be-Assassin
Death had appeared all but certain to bystanders when three bullets fired by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca tore through the pope's flesh on May 13, 1981. By John Paul II's assessment, "It was a mother's hand that guided the bullet's path."
One of the bullets that struck John Paul II remains in the crown of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima, Portugal.
ROME, Italy (John Paul Moments) - On December 27, 1983, as John Paul II sat in a bare, whitewashed jail cell of Rome's Rebibbia prison, he was unprepared for the question voiced by an unshaven prisoner to his side, "So why aren't you dead?"
Why aren't you dead?
Death had appeared all but certain to bystanders when three bullets fired by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca tore through the pope's flesh on May 13, 1981, staining the pope's white cassock with deathly scarlet.
Ali Agca was a professional assassin, he had aimed at close range, and he had aimed well. But somehow, the bullets missed lethal targets, one grazing the pope's right elbow, and another deflecting off his left index finger before passing through his abdomen, a fraction of an inch from a major artery.
By John Paul II's assessment, "It was a mother's hand that guided the bullet's path," and permitted that "the dying Pope. stopped on the threshold of death." The assassination attempt had taken place on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, and the pope had no doubt that his survival was due to the intervention of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In gratitude, the Pope gave one of the deadly bullets to the bishop in charge of the shrine at Fatima, Portugal. To this day, that bullet remains in the crown of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary housed at that shrine.
However, as John Paul II sat at the side of his would-be-assassin, Ali Agca expressed fears that this Lady of Fatima might come after him next. The pope stated the contrary; he himself had come to forgive, not to harm. But Ali Agca did not ask for forgiveness.
Thus, as the pope took the hand of the gunman, he showed us that a Christian must forgive his enemies, even when they do not want forgiveness.
Randall J. Meissen, LC, author of Living Miracles: The Spiritual Sons of John Paul the Great, is a former professor at Legion of Christ College in Cheshire, Connecticut, and currently works in youth ministry in Valencia, Spain. He can be contacted at rmeissen(at)johnpaulmoments(dot)com.
© 2011, JohnPaulMoments.com. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
JohnPaulMoments.com is dedicated to promoting the teaching of John Paul II through the radio and podcast program "John Paul 2 Moments" and various print publications.
For over four centuries, a historical and iconic miraculous statue of Jesus Christ carrying his Cross has become an emblem of passion, ... continue reading
Traversing Canada in a duffel bag, the arm of St. Francis Xavier continues to inspire the faithful Watch
A holy relic of St. Francis Xavier is touring Canada from St. John's to Victoria. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - The forearm ... continue reading
Scientists at a university in Liverpool have unveiled what they say is the most realistic portrait ever created of St. Nicholas of Myra, ... continue reading
Most Catholics believe in Santa Claus for their whole life. That's because we recognize that St. Nicholas, a.k.a. "Santa" is a saint of the ... continue reading
While he was alive, St. Francis Xavier never got to ride in an airplane. They would not be invented for 400 more years after his death. ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- The government shutdown continues, but bombs still drop, surveillance ...
- St. Francis de Sales: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, January 24, 2018
- Third Mega-quake in three weeks suggests 2018 will be a bad year for ...
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, January 24, 2018
- Daily Reading for Thursday, January 25th, 2018 HD Video
- Is God sending a warning? Third megaquake in the year suggests 2018 ...
- Pope Francis in Peru invites us to be saints
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, January 24th, 2018 HD
- The shocking numbers that reveal why poverty is here to stay HD
- Science is transforming the pro-life debate for the better HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, January 22nd, 2018 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education