Friday, April 08, 2005

(Above: JP II handing me rosary beads in 1998)
In 1998 I was very fortunate to meet Pope John Paul II. Bishop Robert Mulvee, while in Rome, invited myself and 2 other RI seminarians, studying at the NAC, to meet John Paul II. His Holiness gave us rosary beads and as I received them, he shook them and said, 'good for contemplation!' Of course, there was no argument here!
That phrase has stuck with me into the priesthood. 'Good for contemplation!' The rosary is truly good for contemplating the life of Christ. In fact, with the addition of the Luminous Mysteries, given to the Church by John Paul II, the Cross and Resurrection fall smack in the middle of the entire rosary (10th and 11th mysteries). How fitting! The Death and Resurrection of Christ is the foundation of our faith to contemplate.
John Paul II truly lived the Death and Resurrection of our Lord. He experienced the cross throughout his life as he suffered the loss of his entire family by the age of 20 and struggled through his own health battles. Yet, in the midst of suffering, he believed in and lived the Resurrection as a man of joy. Look at the photos and videos and you will see a man full of joy for the Lord.
As we pray for our beloved, departed Holy Father, we recall the words of our Lord at Calvary. 'Woman, behold your son...son, behold your mother.' As we watched our Holy Father pass from this world in those last days, we constantly saw his lit apartment rooms with the image of Our Lady and the child Jesus on the outside wall. There the words, 'Totus Tuus' are written. How fitting that we recall those words of surrender by John Paul II. Totally belonging to Jesus! Totally God's servant through Mary!
We pray for the soul of John Paul II and ask God to behold his servant. 'Mary behold your son' and pray for John Paul II, now, at the hour of his death, AMEN.
John Paul the Great...pray for us too!

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