Saturday, April 23, 2011

Towards the Beatification and Feast of Divine Mercy

Courtesy of Relevant Radio

O Blessed Trinity,
we thank you
for having graced the church
with Pope John Paul II
and for allowing
the tenderness of your Fatherly care,
the glory of the cross of Christ,
and the splendor of the Holy Spirit,
to shine through him.

Trusting fully in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us
a living image of Jesus the Good Shepherd,
and has shown us
that holiness is the necessary measure
of ordinary Christian life
and is the way
of achieving eternal communion with you.

Grant us,
by his intercession, and according to your will,
the graces we implore,
hoping that he will soon be
numbered among your saints.


Monday, February 14, 2011


Pope John Paul II pictured arriving on a pastoral visit to Egypt in 2000.
"Lord Jesus Christ,
who are called the Prince of Peace,
who are yourself our peace and reconciliation,
who so often said, 'Peace to you,'
grant us peace.
Make all men and women
witnesses of truth, justice, and brotherly love.
Banish from their hearts
whatever might endanger peace.
Enlighten our rulers
that they may guarantee
and defend the great gift of peace.
May all peoples on the earth
become as brothers and sisters.
May longed-for peace
blossom forth and reign always
over us all."

Sunday, February 13, 2011

John Paul II: A Man of Peace

John Paul II pictured on one of his many visits to the United Nations Headquarters in New York City

Leading by example, even at the worse moments in human history, Pope John Paul II witnessed to peace, forgiveness, and unity. Here are a few of his words to the new ambassador of the United States of America to the Holy See, which were offered following the terrorist tragedies of September 11, 2001.
At this time of national mourning for the victims of the terrorist attacks on Washington and New Yor, I wish to assure you personally of my profound participation in the grief of the American people and of my prayers for the President and the civil authorities, for all involved in the rescue operations and in helping the survivors, and in a special way for the victims and their families. I pray that this inhuman act will awaken in the hearts of all the world's people a firm resolved to reject the ways of violence, to combat everything that sows hatred and division within the human family, and to work for the dawn of a new era of international cooperation inspired by the highest ideals of solidarity, justice and peace.
He, who himself had been shot at in an assassination attempt, invites us to understand more deeply our need to be people of peace, our role in cultivating a world of peace. May he intercede for us in our daily attempts, both big and small, to live peaceably and peacefully.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wojtyla and the Theater

One thing is crystal clear: Karol Josef Wojtyla/Pope John Paul II loved life and lived it to its fullest.

One aspect of life especially dear to him was the arts, specifically theater arts. In fact, not only was Pope John Paul II a prolific pastoral writer but he was also an accomplished playwright. His most well-known theatrical work is a play known as "The Jeweler's Shop." If you haven't read it, I encourage you to pick up a copy or check out the made for television that aired in the U.S. after Pope's death.

Karol Wojtyla loved life and continued to celebrate this great gift throughout the years of his papacy. As a young man, he came to enjoy the rich gift of writing, a treasure we would receive years later, and the creative, expressive space of theater.

Recognizing John Paul II's love for the theater invites all of us to consider the arts as a place where God is to be found and where God can be made known and loved, not only in works that are religious in purpose but in works considered secular that carry a moral or spiritual message.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

On Love and Responsibility

It may come to be written that Pope John Paul II is best known for his body of work known as "Theology of the Body," but in fact this series of theological writings find its origin in a work he produced based on his pastoral experiences as a priest, "Love and Responsibility."

In this work, a reader finds Fr. Wojtyla, the man the world would later come to know as Pope John Paul II, setting forth the fundamental principles of human dignity and the nature of man and woman set forth. Fr. Wojtyla elaborates in accessible, easy to read language on the naturalness of relationships between men and women, much like the symbiotic nature of the Trinity -- Father, Son, and Spirit. Fr. Wojtyla views love and responsibility as the centerpieces of this nature-driven dynamic.
If you haven't read "Love and Responsiblity," do yourself a favor and check it out. It is available through Ignatius Press as well as at Pauline Book and Media Centers. Apparently it also now available in e-book format. You won't regret it -- reading "Love and Responsibility" provides a really meaningful insight into the man and priest who'd become the 27 year leader of the Roman Catholic Church and provides a basic introduction to the theological and philosophical principles of mutuality that underlie so much of Pope John Paul II's words and thoughts.

Monday, February 7, 2011

From the Family: The Lessons of John Paul II on Women

Within John Paul's appreciation of the family was his awareness of the beauty and value of women in society and the Church. These lines from his "Letter to Women" offer some very valuable insights into the role that Mother played in the early development of Karol's soul and later John Paul II's view on women, the family, and the Church:

"... Thank you, women who are mothers! You who have sheltered human beings, makes you become God's own smile upon the newborn child, the one who guides your child's first steps, who helps it to grow and who is the anchor as the child makes its way along the journey of life.

Thank you, women who are wives! You irrevocably join your futhre to that of your husbands in a relationship of mutual giving at the service of life and love.

Thank you, women who are daughters and women who are sisters! Into the heart of the family, and then all of society, you bring the richness of your sensitivity, your intuitiveness, your generosity and fidelity ..."

These words, spoken with such clarity, appreciation, and insight clearly come from one who has witnessed these ideas in action, these ideals lived out in his own family context. These words reflect the heart of one who longed to have experienced these gifts for a longer time than he had in actuality.

It is from that place of his own family that John Paul II would go on the blend his own familial experience, short-lived as it were with his mother, to the rich tradition and expansive teachings of the Church, the ecclesial Mother.
To learn more about John Paul's appreciation of women, it is worth understanding more of the impact that women played on the life Karol Wojtyla as family, as caretakers, as friends, as peers, and as spiritual companions.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Yesterday's introductory glimpse into the earliest years of Karol Wojtyla's life already show us why family, which has been a central focus and theme throughout his papacy as John Paul II, had been so important to him personally.

Today, let us join in praying his own words:

Lord God, from you every family in heaven and on earth takes its name.

Father, you are Love and Life.

Through your Son, Jesus Christ, born of woman, and through the Holy Spirit, fountain of divine charity, grant that every family on earth may become for each successive generation a true shrine of life and love.

Grant that your grace may guide the throughts and actions of husbands and wives for the good of their families and of all the families in the world.

Grant that the young may find in the family solid support for their human dignity and for their growth in truth and love.

Grant that love, srengthened by the grace of the sacrament of marriage, may prove mightier than all the weakness and trials through which our families sometimes pass.

Through the intercession of the Holy Family of Nazareth, grant that the Church may fruitfully carry out her worldwide mission in the family and through the family.

Through Christ our Loud, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life for ever and ever.