Friday, November 04, 2005
In the Wake of All Soul's Day: John Paul II
A Pope and the Art of Dying Well
In September, the Holy See released the official account of the death and funeral of John Paul II. The first four pages clinically describe the ailments and activities of the last weeks of the Holy Father, from the first hospitalization on Feb. 1 to his final hours on April 2.
This short chronicle, while medically exact, does not do justice to the dramatic and heroic nature of those concluding months. Those of us living in Rome will always remember the Pope's urgent hospitalization and the forest of film crews clustered around the clinic. Nor will witnesses ever forget his triumphant ride through the streets of Rome as he returned to the Vatican, seemingly victorious over death itself.
This extraordinary man, who had already defied society's tendency to shun the sick by keeping up a full public schedule despite his increasingly obvious Parkinson's disease, also showed us true dignity in death. (more)
What the Postulator of John Paul II's Cause Faces
Monsignor Slawomir Oder, the postulator of Pope John Paul II's cause for beatification and canonization, admits to feeling "fear and trembling" before this responsibility.
[W]hen one is before a human and spiritual giant like John Paul II, it's enough to start trembling, above all because one notes the closeness of the grace of God that acted in this man. But also because of the responsibility before the Church, and before so many people of good will, who manifest their desire to see John Paul II beatified as soon as possible. That is why one must move, on one hand, with great expectation in the heart, with a great sense of urgency but, on the other hand, with the awareness that the process must be carried out with the greatest seriousness, observing the procedural norms, because it is not only the expression of a moment of enthusiasm, but truly involves the authority of the Church, which pronounces herself on a Servant of God.
Monsignor Oder: Perhaps almost paradoxically, or perhaps not, maybe as conclusion of what is the natural course of a Pope's life, is the photograph of the last Good Friday, with the Pope leaning on the cross, which he holds in his arms, and with his gaze turned to the Master. For me, truly this image is the synthesis of John Paul II's life, of the path that united him increasingly to the Master until he really appeared before our eyes as just one with the Christ he held in his arms. (more)
# posted by Jamie : 8:12 AM