Citing individuals in the late pope’s entourage while he was a bishop in Poland and after he was elected pontiff in 1978, the book [Why He Is a Saint: the Real John Paul II by Monsignor Slawomir Oder] says that John Paul II inflicted pain on himself to feel closer to God.
“In his closet, among his vestments, there was hung on a clothes hanger a particular kind of belt which he used as a whip,” Oder writes.
When he was a bishop, he often slept on the bare floor so he could practise self-denial and asceticism, Oder writes.
Many saints of the Church, including St Francis of Assisi, St Catherine of Siena and St Ignatius of Loyola, practised flagellation and asceticism as part of their spiritual life.
“It is clear the aspect of penitence was present in the life of John Paul II,” Oder told a news conference today. “It should be seen as part of his profound relationship with the Lord.”
How does this help him become a saint? (Not that the other requirements, like “evidence” of a “miracle,” make any more sense…)
It’s the same type of question I have for people who fast for days on end for religious reasons. Why harm yourself for God’s pleasure? I understand the importance of self-discipline, but there are better (smarter, healthier) ways to achieve that.
(via New Humanist)