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.
A personal encounter with Mother Alphonse Marie Eppinger inspired "conversions which were far more miraculous than the raising of the ... continue reading
San Nicolas de Tolentino nacio en San Angelo (Italia) en 1245; se dice que su madre, avanzada en anos, no habia podido concebir y junto a ... continue reading
Santos Cleto y Donaciano fueron obispos que vivieron en el siglo V. Cleto fue quemado vivo, mientras que Donaciano murio en el desierto ... continue reading
"Tarde te ame, oh Belleza siempre antigua, siempre nueva. Tarde te ame", dijo San Agustin. Este gran Santo es uno de los 36 doctores ... continue reading
El Papa Francisco dejo esta manana el interior del Vaticano y se traslado como es tradicion a la Basilica de Santa Maria la Mayor para ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- St. Matthew: Saint of the Day for Friday, September 21, 2018
- Benedict XVI defends resignation and title pope emeritus in private ...
- Prayer Requests Live for Thursday, September 20th, 2018 HD Video
- Catholic Charities is collecting airline miles to reunite refugee ...
- Publicaran libro inedito escrito por San Juan Pablo II
- Daily Reading for Saturday, September 22nd, 2018 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Friday, September 21, 2018
- Prayer Requests Live for Wednesday, September 19th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Friday, September 21st, 2018 HD
- Prayer Requests Live for Tuesday, September 18th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Thursday, September 20th, 2018 HD
Sts. Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang, and Companions
September 20: Feastday: September 20 The evangelization of ... Read More
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