Wednesday, April 2, 2014

John Paul II's Death and His Continued Presence in Our Lives

Today is the nine year anniversary of the entrance into eternal glory of Blessed John Paul II. He died on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, a few minutes after the Mass for the feast day was celebrated at his hospital bedside.

How well I remember that vigil, and the days leading up to it. The last lesson he gave us was showing us how to die. We wept, and yet we also knew that although something great had come to an end, another greater and more wonderful thing was just beginning. John Paul II, having entered fully into the heart of Jesus, took up a new place as a powerful advocate for us in the communion of saints.

He seems more accessible, more close personally since his death, more aware of me and Eileen and the lasting value of the blessing he gave us on our visit to Rome in 1996 and the few brief words we shared. His blessing of our marriage on that day seems to open up into an assurance that in God's Kingdom he has a great solicitude for us and our family. I rely on his powerful intercession.

Later this month, on Divine Mercy Sunday, he will be officially canonized as a saint of the universal Church. What a blessing it was to grow to maturity in his days, to see him and hear his words, to witness his struggles, to find again and again in every kind of circumstance his passionate love for Christ.

The central grace of my life was 25 years of learning to follow Jesus through the teaching and witness and courage of this man. Thank you, Lord, for your mercy, for giving us this living icon of your Son.

Blessed John Paul II, pray for us!