A Mother's Hand Guided the Bullets: John Paul II, Forgiving a Would-Be-Assassin
FREE Catholic Classes
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.
Nearly 100 people have completed their adventure with the Knights Templar on Catholic Online School. Are you next? LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading
Pope Francis will canonize Bl. John Henry Newman on October 13 of this year. The Vatican made the announcement on Monday. Newman was an ... continue reading
Vincent was a man like us who encountered the same Risen Lord Jesus whom we have encountered. He struggled with the choices which always ... continue reading
El rector del Santuario de Lourdes (Francia), P. Andre Cabes, acaba de inaugurar el "Ano Bernardita" o ano jubilar de Santa Bernardette ... continue reading
Joseph was a humble man. There was not an ounce of false bravado or machismo in this servant of God. Named after the great Patriarch who ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Prayer Requests Live for Tuesday, July 23rd 2019 HD Video
- Pope Francis petitions Assad to protect weak and defenseless in Syria
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, July 24th, 2019 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Tuesday, July 23, 2019
- Church in Puerto Rico to hold 24 hour prayer encounter amid protests
- Moon landing should inspire 'even greater goals,' Pope Francis urges
- St. Bridget of Sweden: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, July 23, 2019
- Prayer Requests Live for Monday, July 22nd 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, July 22nd, 2019 HD
- Prayer Requests Live for Friday, July 19th 2019 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
Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org
Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel
Learn the Catholic way
Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all
K-12 & Adult Education Classes
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education
Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.