“Remember that you are never alone, Christ is with you on your journey every day of your lives! He has called you and chosen you to live in the freedom of the children of God. Turn to him in prayer and in love. Ask him to grant you the courage and strength to live in this freedom always. Walk with him who is ‘the Way, the Truth and the Life’!” Pope St. John Paul II (10 Inspiring Quotes)
Those who lived during his time knew we were blessed to be under the leadership of Pope St. John Paul II. He was an incredible man who spoke the truth in such a bold way. Though this blog could not contain all the amazing achievements of this beloved Holy Father, below are some of the top ones for our reflection and appreciation for his feast day tomorrow October 22:
Not of the World but in the World
John Paul II had his eyes fixed on Heaven but knew that he had to present to the World in a way that would give glory to Jesus. He traveled to all the countries of his time except China and Russia. JPII also fought for freedom from Communism in Eastern Europe as he himself had suffered under the Nazis and Communists. He spoke boldly and through his influence did much to resolve world conflicts. “During his pontificate, several major conflicts made international headlines: Rwanda, Kosovo, Sudan, Iraq and the Balkan wars. The Pope, who had survived World War II, did not remain silent. He became the voice of humanity, actively advocating against violence. “War, never again.”” (The Top Ten)
The favorite prayer of Pope St. John Paul II was the Rosary, and he took time every day to pray all the mysteries of the Rosary. His encyclical Rosarium Virginis Mariae not only called the faithful to rekindle their love for the Rosary but he also added the amazing Luminous Mysteries (Mysteries of Light). This new set of Rosary Mysteries has allowed the faithful to reflect on the Public Ministry of Jesus. In his encyclical, he calls the Rosary “a compendium of the Gospel” to help us connect with the importance of these events in the life of Jesus and Mary. JPII also said in his encyclical “To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ.”
The Body is a Gift
JPII spoke with clarity over a series of 129 general audiences on God’s love along with our relationship with Him and others. This compilation of teaching is now termed the Theology of the Body. He discusses that we are called to mirror God’s love in our relationships. He reminded us of the natural gift of our genders and the role that the marital act has in both unity and procreation. In this current time, we need to pick up this profoundly true, clear teaching to better educate ourselves and our children in God’s intended plan for male and female. If only more of us understood the profound gift of our bodies, we would not have a culture that is so confused on love, the gift of life, and the human body. Here are some places to look for resources to educate your children: TOBET.org, RuahWoodsInstitute.org, TOBparentschool.org, and ElevatortoHeaven.com Looking to dive right in as adults here are some good reads of varying length and complexity: TOB Video, Articles and Podcasts, Theology of the Body for Beginners book, Love and Responsibility book of 319 pages, and the 768 page book called Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body.
Pope John Paul II declared 482 saints. He wanted the faithful to know of the brave and bold faith of so many. Among the most known saints he canonized are St Maximilian Kolbe, St. Josephine Bakhita, St. Faustina Kowalska, St. Katherine Drexel, St Padre Pio, St Josemaría Escrivá, St. Gianna Molla, and St. Edith Stein. He declared many as blessed including Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati and the now St. Kateri Tekakwitha and St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Look to the Youth
Pope John Paul II loved the youth and did so much to build up a culture for them. He created World Youth Day so he could gather with the youth in a special way. As a youth myself growing up under his Pontificate, I felt the powerful truth and strength of the Catholic faith. While in college, it was a privilege to attend in person one of his Wednesday audiences, and I knew that I was in the presence of an incredibly holy man who was deeply in love with the faith and with Christ.
On September 19, 1987 in Detroit, Pope John Paul II spoke these bold words of warning to America “’All the great causes that are yours today will have meaning only to the extent that you guarantee the right to life and protect the human person.’ He added that regarding the poor and refugees, the social fabric of the nation, the true advancement of women, rights of minorities, questions of disarmament and legitimate defense — ‘all this will succeed only if respect for life and its protection by law is granted to every human being from conception until natural death.’” (Greatest Achievement)
One of his well-known phrases was “Don’t be afraid.” He calls us to put out into the deep and hold onto Jesus without fear. Pope St. John Paul II truly lived that motto! He did not live in fear when he entered the seminary in secret from the Nazi, when he was shot during an attempted assassination, or when he struggled in the end with the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s disease. He knew that he was called to live fully united with Christ through the power of love and suffering.
Pope John Paul II loved Jesus and through the Divine Mercy devotion allowed the world to know more of the depth of Jesus and His Mercy given for all. Not only did JPII promote this devotion but also beatified and canonized St. Faustina. His closeness with the devotion is evident that not only did he die on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday in 2005 but was canonized on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2014.
Pope St. John Paul II, inspire us to live for Jesus like you did. Help us to speak boldly the truth and to cling to our amazing Catholic faith. Pope St. John Paul II, pray for us and for the whole world.
10 inspiring Quotes from Pope John Paull II retrieved from https://www.nationalshrine.org/blog/10-inspirational-quotes-from-pope-john-paul-ii/
The Top Ten Achievements of John Paul II retrieved from https://www.romereports.com/en/2014/04/22/the-top-ten-achievements-of-john-paul-ii/
Greatest Achievement quote retrieved from https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=6432
Author: Laura Stephens