There are a number of top reasons to love Pope John Paul II. As the longest-serving Popes today and indeed probably the most prolific writers from the Papacy, a great saint can in fact seem a bit intimidating on the outside. I am talking about, let’s be realistic the man was amazing.
But a glance into his early life plus a peek in the devotions he held dear will disclose that this is a guy just like us, and someone we will flourish to call upon.
Early Time of Suffering and Loneliness
Before he was Pope John Paul II, he was Karol Wojtyla, born in a tiny Polish town that year 1920. He was the youngest of three and the older sister Olga died before he appeared.
When he was eight yoa his mother died, leaving only young Karol, his father, with the exceptional older brother Edmund. He was very close with Edmund, who was thirteen years over him. But Edmund then died of scarlet fever when Karol was twelve.
Karol enjoyed sports but have also been very academically inclined. He started attending a university in 1938, where he studied philosophy and learned twelve different languages, (only one snippet of his intellectual abilities that I’d attempt to consider intimidating).
But then came the Nazi occupation of Poland, which closed the university and forced all able-bodied men to the office. So Karol were forced to set his studies aside to your manual labor of stone-cutting inside of a quarry.
It was around this time that his father died on the heart attack. Karol now didn\’t have immediate family left, by age twenty. But he did not hang around wallowing in loneliness or sorrow. Rather, he chosen to commit himself on the priesthood, although the Nazis were actively killing any priests who got within their way, as well as only seminaries were underground.
So underground he went. But he already has a little bit of expertise in this secret activity, when he had himself founded an underground theater company in order to write and perform stories that expressed the depth within the tragedy and oppression he previously witnessed in his life.
An Accessible Young Priest
Once the war was over, Karol was ordained into the priesthood in 1946. Considered one of his first posts what food was in a church very close Jagiellonian University where he had studied, so that as a priest there he spent ample time ministering to teenagers.
He also began teaching at Jagiellonian University as well as with the Catholic University of Lublin. Plus it was make your best effort than a group of adolescents started to spend time with him. They could hook up for activities like hiking, skiing, or kayaking, and they would possess a discussion about philosophy and life matters.
It was really out of this experience along with their discussions he gleaned numerous his guidance for human nature and God’s design for sexuality, that she would later write and teach on extensively in their book Love and Responsibility along with his selection of talks Theology of the Body.
But all this activity was technically against the law. Communism was the ruling power at that point, so priests weren’t able to travel and acquire combined with students. In yet one more clandestine practice, he pretended to become the young people’s uncle, that has been really rather fitting when considering the familial relationship he has together.
I rather like to believe that now in Heaven, the individual delays for everyone to inquire him to help us outside in a similarly uncle-ish way.
The Role of Mercy
For most of us, an earlier life like this man led would invite bitterness. But Karol knew as a kid a devotion towards the message of Divine Mercy proclaimed by his fellow Pole Sister Faustina Kowalska (whom he had later canonize).
During his papacy, he wrote an encyclical on God’s mercy, Dives in Misericordia, as well as established a feast day in celebration of Divine Mercy. But perhaps most remarkable is that often he acted in her youth instance of God’s mercy by forgiving the male who got down to assassinate him three decades ago.
So just like you i battle against forgiving others for past hurts, and also with forgiving ourselves for past mistakes, let us take John Paul II as one example and special patron, diving deep into God’s mercy toward us and reciprocating that mercy toward others.
Never Staying in Mediocrity
With a young life as stuffed with hardship and suffering since this man had, no-one might have blamed him for seeking a tranquil life and hiding away from the world. But he can\’t take under what God was calling him to.
Instead, the man made to turn into a bishop, a cardinal, and at last pope in 1978, where his motto was “Totus Tuus,” so this means, “totally yours.” He never did anything halfway.
As Pope, he canonized over 480 people and beatified in excess of 1300. This was an incredible number, as compared to previous Popes. But he did this since he firmly believed in the universal call to holiness, that sainthood was practical for anyone in virtually any walk of life, therefore we needed samples of holy women and men who gave their all to God.
There must be a great many things this excellent man is remembered and celebrated for, but in my opinion what needs always seemed biggest was his urging to travel all in, to forget fear, put your rely upon God, and endeavor to be the foremost possible: “Do not let yourself afraid. Don\’t content with mediocrity. Produced on the deep and allow nets down for your catch.” (Inaugural Homily).