Sunday, April 02, 2006

John Paul II, we still love you

All of my life, I had known only one Pope. Our faith tells us that we are never separated from those who are with God. The One Body in Christ is stronger than death. We believe that they join us in our prayers and help us to know God better.

Still, I find it hard to believe that John Paul II died a year ago today. It was a fast seems that only yesterday that my wife woke me up (I had fallen asleep watching the news constantly) and told me that he had died.

One of the things that amazes me about the life of John Paul II is how I do not doubt that he loves me. And that brings even closer the unshakable knowledge that Christ loves me.

If a normal human can demonstrate to me that kind of love, it strengthens my faith in Christ to even greater levels.

This is what the examples and lives of the saintly do.

John Paul II was a Pope for the young and the old. But he had a special effect with the young. This man who preached a hard road and lived a hard life under Nazi and Communist rule, appealed to a generation and an age group that everyone thought didn't care about or want the difficult things.

They call us Generation X (at least the first generation of young people he inspired). The "x" stands for many things. It means we have no set identity. It means we don't believe in much. It means we are cynical of the world around us.

I never felt like an X.
I've always had an identity.
I am a Christian. I am a Catholic. I am loved, as are we all, by Christ.

I never felt like an X, in part, because there was always a man telling me that he loved us...and even more so, and with a greater love, Christ loves us.

A man, who didn't know me, loves me. And I'm sure of it. And he preaches about how much more Christ, who knows us better than anyone, loves the entire world.

John Paul II strove for unity. He helped open the channels of communication between faiths. John Paul II had a dialogue partner very similar in Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic faith. In many ways they are brothers who worked toward the will of the Holy Spirit.

Benedict XVI has continued the work of God that John Paul II worked so much to accomplish.

When he died, I worried that the Church would not strive as hard for unity. But I remembered that the first words he said to us as Pope were, "Be not afraid."

I wear a wristband that has those words on it. John Paul II was a great force for unity. But the force that guided him is the force that guides us all, the HolySpirit. The comforter who does not leave us.

I am not afraid.
The Holy Spirit is with us all.
We are one Body.

No comments: