Somehow, I don’t think I was the only one who, seeing the wonderful, almost eerie pictures of the dove who would not leave John Paul alone, considered that it might be a sign that this transparently holy man would be soon called to heaven.
I have thought for a long time that he would be with us until some important event took place, that through all of his illness and suffering, there was a reason he was still alive. Could the Iraq elections have been that event? For all that “the Vatican” (which has its own palsy-walsy relationship with many UN faithful) denounced the war, I always thought it was significant that Bush and Blair – neither of whom are Catholic – made several trips to see Wojtyla and had private sessions with him during each visit. While the pope “prayed there would be no war” he also spoke out against tyranny.
I’m just speculating, of course, but the press likes to present JPII through a filter, as they present everyone else. In reading his statements, I do not see the “condemnation of Bush” that the media put out there.
JPII and Sister Lucia of Fatima are elderly but still quite in their wits. They have both lived visionary lives completely consecrated to God – to the praise and service of God – and have survived singular events the rest of us could not begin to imagine.
She grew up in the meanest sort of poverty and while still a child found herself called upon to deliver an urgent message – enduring ridicule, intimidation and all the rest. In the middle of a muddy field she pointed to the sky – and the sun danced and drew terrifyingly near – and the mud dried, and the storm departed, and the story is not over. Lucia is said to have answered an inquiry with the words, John Paul did the consecration; it is done. (When I find that link, I’ll add it.)
He grew up motherless, living in an occupied land, made a slave laborer to the Nazis. He carried a weary Jewish woman on his back at war’s end, and had to study for his priesthood in an underground seminary. He preaches Christ Crucified, in season and in out, and makes a living testiment in his own body, to the graces found in obedience and suffering – until we almost cannot bear to look.
God bless them both. If JPII is leaving us, we are losing a great light. But in heaven he’ll be helpful, too! I wonder how much longer Lucia will remain, and for what purpose.
FLASHBACK: Peggy Noonan’s breathtaking account of an audience with JPII. Some of her best writing, ever.