April 2 marks the ninth anniversary of death of Blessed John Paul II. To mark that date, we offer this excerpt from Fr. Thomas Rosica’sbook on Pope John Paul II that is being released by Novalis Catholic publishing house this week.
When the throngs of people began chanting “Santo subito!” at the end of Pope John Paul II’s funeral masson April 8, 2005, what were they really saying? They were crying out that in Karol Wojtyla, they saw someone who lived with God and lived with us. He was a sinner who experienced God’s mercy and forgiveness. He was the prophetic teacher who preached the Word in season and out of season. He looked at us, loved us, touched us, healed us and gave us hope. He taught us not to be afraid. He showed us how to live, how to love, how to forgive and how to die. He taught us how to embrace the cross in the most excruciating moments of life, knowing that the cross was not God’s final answer.
He belonged to the entire world, but in a special way, he belonged to Canadians. More than any other pope in history,John Paul II had made his mark in this country, blessing and speaking to people from coast to coast. He even made a special trip back to a distant Aboriginal community in the far north just to keep a promise. He brought the papacy home to us, shared his concerns – and listened to ours – and made us believe he had seen into our souls.
This book is about that special relationship. That a person is declared “Blessed” or “Saint” is not a statement about perfection. It does not mean that the person was without imperfection, blindness, deafness or sin. Nor is it a 360-degree evaluation of the pontificate or of the Vatican.
Beatification and canonization mean that a person lived his or her life with God, relying totally on God’s infinite mercy, going forward with God’s strength and power, believing in the impossible, loving enemies and persecutors, forgiving in the midst of evil and violence, hoping beyond all hope, and leaving the world a better place. That person lets those around him or her know that there is a force or spirit animating his or her life that is not of this world, but of the next. Such a person lets us catch a glimpse of the greatness and holiness to which we are all called, and shows us the face of God as we journey on our pilgrim way on earth.
In the life of Karol Wojtyla, the boy from Wadowice, Poland, who would grow up to be a priest and Bishop of Krakow, the Bishop of Rome, and a hero for the ages, holiness was contagious. We have all been touched and changed by it. Pope John Paul II was not only “Holy Father” but “a Father who was and is holy.” At his funeral mass, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (soon to become Pope Benedict XVI) told the world that the Holy Father was watching us and blessing us “from the window of the Father’s House.” What a declaration of holiness and proximity to God!
Excerpt from “John Paul II – A Saint for Canada”
by Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB
Published by Novalis, 2014
You can purchase this book on our web store.