11 April 2008

Two great blessings...

Each of us has memories of Pope John Paul II, and one of my own great experiences was the blessing of meeting him and speaking with him when I was but a young priest newly-ordained. Even seeing him at a distance was a wonderful thing, and I often think about the times we would have groups of our students and other parishioners at the General Audience, trying to get as close to him as possible.

Peggy Noonan has an excellent column in the Wall Street Journal, where she says:

At the open-air mass in St. Peter's on April 2, the third anniversary of the death of John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI spoke movingly – he brought mist to the eyes of our little group of visiting Americans – of John Paul's life, and the meaning of his suffering. "Among his many human and supernatural qualities he had an exceptional spiritual and mystical sensitivity," said the pontiff, who knew John Paul long and intimately. (Those who hope for swift canonization please note: "supernatural." Benedict the philosopher does not use words lightly.)

He spoke of the distilled message of John Paul's reign: "Be not afraid," the words "of the angel of the Resurrection, addressed to the women before the empty tomb." Which words were themselves a condensed message: Nothing has ended, something beautiful has begun, but you won't understand for a while.

Benedict was doing something great leaders usually don't do, which is invite you to dwell on the virtues of his predecessor.
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