The story of Pope John Paul, the legacy of a man unaftraid, with love unchained, for the world. The tribulations, the character and enviable strength of a beaufiul man...a real man.
joseph j duome
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Pope John Paul II…a tribute…
THE LEGACY OF A MAN, UNAFRAID
WITH LOVE, UNCHAINED, FOR THE WORLD
by joseph j duome
“…be not afraid…”
The words of Christ to his Apostles as they were about to face the hateful trauma of those who chose not to believe…and condone brutal flagellation and death.
“…be not afraid…”
The words of a young Polish priest, who lived to become the voice of the Roman Catholic Church and its billions of followers as he urged the citizens of his native land to confront and defeat the enslavement of Nazism and communism…with a glorious victory.
The young Polish priest, Karol Wojtyla, who thrived with his fearlessness, his courage, was buried as an 84 year old Pope John Paul II in one of the most awe inspiring funerals in history where the world’s powerful, the meek, the rich and the poor in thousands gathered in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square to offer a fond farewell and thanks. A single bell tolled; and the glorious voices of a choirs filled the air to signal the start of the holy mass.
He, a sportsman, actor and an indefatigable worker, touched almost every man woman on this planet in his 28 years of his Papacy. Even in death he showed the world that in suffering there was love, humility. and compassion.
Not unlike the millions, cold, sleepless, who viewed this wondrous spectacle on April 8th in Vatican grounds of Rome, our emotions were caught up with the passion of love displayed by the faithful present to pray, pay homage and to view the Pope’s last “visit”. There was love and admiration unabashed. Men openly wept; women brushed away tears almost without stop; nuns, priests faces filled with holy reverence for the Shepard of their faith. And, when the celebrant of the mass, Cardinal Ratzinger, first offered up the Eucharist, hundreds of priests proceeded to offer Christ’s holy body to the hundreds of thousands of Catholics.
All paid tribute to a man whose gnarled hands touched and embraced Aids victims, hugged and kissed the sick, the old, decrepit and the young so special to his heart.
“…be not afraid…”
He was afraid, but it was a fear that he would not be able to carry out God’s mission he had been called on to fulfill. Of this he was certain ever since a would-be assassin’s rifle shot almost killed him. He ultimately placed one of the bullets into the tiara of Our Lady of Fatima. His blood soaked garments were placed before another statue of the Blessed Mother, his staunch savior..
The world has rarely, if ever, has known a human being the like of this charismatic man. He apologized and took responsibility for the despots of the past, atrocities of the Crusades, the Inquisition and for the deplorable treatment of the Jewish people (he declared that anti-Semitism was a sin against God). He believed the world should “breathe” with two lungs---East and West--in harmony and love--promoting greater understanding among all religious faiths.. From the first moment of his papacy, he scolded theologians, clergies, bishops whom he believed strayed from Church doctrine. He was steadfast in his traditional beliefs, incurring the wrath of non- Catholics and Catholics alike.
The majesty of this phenomenal event will not soon be forgotten. There will be those who , despite the awesome influence he wielded in the one hundred and twenty nine countries he trod, will claim he fell “short” in dealing with same sex marriage, abortions, women priests, war and the snail-like action taken with the sexual scandals. When offered this litany of non traditional stances, John Paul never once budged. He, the Bishop of Rome, the successor to St. Peter and God’s holy messenger, adhered to the writings of St. John of the Cross who described faith as the only safe guide through the sufferings ad emptiness of human life.
He believed in the words of Jesus: “I do not pray for my disciples alone; I pray also for those who believe in me through their word. That all may be one…as you, Father are in me and, I in you that they may be one in us…”
John Paul II electrified millions with his words, his presence--even in death. He knew that evil did not have the last word although vast waves of secularism and a culture of death, and a disrespect for life and human dignity had become pervasive in the world..We will remember always the silenced voice of this man who leaves us an invaluable legacy as he lay in a cypress coffin in St. Peter’s Square with the wind gently billowing the pages of the Book of the Gospel as it rested atop of his final resting place.
In Krakow in his beloved Poland, John Paul said, when elevated to the Papacy: “Christ is writing his sentences on the heart of a living man, and sometimes they are painful sentences..” And, indeed, in his sufferings he showed us all the dignity of a profound faith and belief in God.
The writer if a former New York newsman and WWII veteran…and one who miss John Paul deeply…