Blessed John Paul II and his Message of Mercy Continue to Light the World
more powerful than sin and every evil, the love which lifts man up when he falls into the abyss and frees him from the greatest threats" (14, 15).
Six years ago, on 2 April 2005, the light in Pope John Paul II's papal apartment was extinguished as his earthly life came to an end on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast day which he himself instituted, and which came about as a result of the private revelations of St. Fuastina, whom John Paul II canonized in Rome on 30 April 2000. It is not difficult to see in the timing of his death a providential connection between the message of mercy, which John Paul II so eloquently and movingly promulgated, and the reality of Mercy displayed before the world in our Savior's open arms upon the cross -- an invitation to mercy which seeks to draw humanity into a forever-embrace of Love.
It is also providential that the thousands of Catholics present in St. Peter's square on the eve of John Paul II's death tearfully prayed the Rosary with great devotion; for his love for the Blessed Virgin Mother was great indeed. His profound respect for Mary is highly palpable in his words, prayers, and writings.
Connecting Mary with our Savior's supreme act of mercy, John Paul II noted that Mary is "the one who obtained mercy in a particular and exceptional way, as no other person has. At the same time, still in an exceptional way, she made possible with the sacrifice of her heart her own sharing in revealing God's mercy. This sacrifice is intimately linked with the cross of her Son, at the foot of which she was to stand on Calvary. . . . No one has experienced, to the same degree as the Mother of the crucified One, the mystery of the cross, the overwhelming encounter of divine transcendent justice with love: that 'kiss' given by mercy to justice. No one has received into his heart, as much as Mary did, that mystery, that truly divine dimension of the redemption effected on Calvary by means of the death of the Son, together with the sacrifice of her maternal heart, together with her definitive 'fiat'" (Dives in misericordia 9).
St. Paul affirmed that "the Gentile peoples are to praise God because of his mercy" (Rom. 15:8-9). Blessed John Paul II, through his love for Jesus, and through his love for Mary whose "fiat" brought Mercy into the world, will be remembered as a humble and living image of what we all seek. His words, his careful and masterful teaching of the mysteries of Christ's life, will continue to echo in our hearts and lives. We will not stop missing him; not yet. Nevertheless, we have, again, cause for great joy.
On 5 April 2011, Msgr. Krajewski, a former member of John Paul II's office of Liturgical Celebrations, reflected on the late Pope's death, stating that when he left the papal apartment at the apostolic palace, he saw "a multitude of people walking silently in devotion. The world had closed down, got on its knees and cried."
Today we cry again. However, we cry not tears of sadness, but rather of joy: the world is not closed down: it is raised up as we come together as community and celebrate the elevation of Venerable John Paul II to Blessed John Paul II. We gather today under a new horizon, the horizon of Divine Mercy: we look beyond the present; we reflect on the wonders of God's unfathomable love; we raise our minds and hearts to Christ in praise and thanksgiving: "We praise you, O Lord, and we adore you, for you have done great things for us!"
The world will never forget the Gift of Mercy. Nor will we forget Blessed John Paul II who, always with charity and love, so beautifully articulated the message of mercy with great and penetrating depth. "Blessed John Paul II, pray for us! Through your intercession, obtain for us the ardent desire of our hearts: Mercy!"
F. K. Bartels is a Catholic writer who knows his Catholic Faith is one of the greatest gifts a man could ever have. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit him also at catholicpathways.com
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Blessed John Paul II, Beatification of John Paul II, John Paul II and message of Mercy, Mercy, Divine Mercy Sunday, F. K. Bartels
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Pope John Paul II News
- Rome's Exorcist Finding Blessed John Paul II Effective Against Satan
- Tribute to Blessed John Paul II in Honor of His Beatification
- A Monk Reflects on Divine Mercy and the Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Blessed John Paul II Transformed Lives and Continues His Work
- Thanksgiving Mass for Blessed John Paul II: Defender of the Human Person
- Do Not Be Afraid! Pope Benedict XVI's Homily, Beatification of Blessed John Paul
- Blessed John Paul II and his Message of Mercy Continue to Light the World
- Blessed John Paul II in Mother Mary's Arms -- Totus Tuus
- Blessed John Paul II: All Eyes Look to Rome for the Beatification of Pope John Paul II
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?