Sometimes God Tries To Tell Us Something: The Life & Death of Pope John Paul II


Written on 2:02 PM by Jack B.

Unlike others who have been blogging constantly since before and after the death of Pope John Paul II, many of whom have had some poignant and touching thoughts, I have been searching for words to describe the passing of this great and good (the two are not always mutually exclusive) man. Mostly I've just been soaking up the coverage and experiencing this historical moment. One that may, perhaps, come once in a lifetime - the passing of someone who both a saintly figure and a major figure on the world stage.

Pope John Paul II has been the only pope I've ever known. I was alive for some of the reigns of Paul VI and John Paul I but I was too small to remember them. They seem like figures of history, just two-dimensional figures photographic images. John Paul II seemed very real. I felt I knew him better than some members of my family. So perhaps the reason I haven't been able to deal with it is because it's still hard to believe he's dead. Sick as he's been, John Paul has always seemed so indestructible. When I heard he'd been given "Last Rites" I didn't think much of it. He'd been sick before and recovered. He would again. Then the next day I wake up to find out he'd had heart failure and was in grave condition. I still couldn't believe it - not until I saw the immense crowds outside St. Peter's praying for his recovery. A recovery that they knew would not be forthcoming. The world was on a death watch and the media did what it does best - basically advertising it as such. "Don't turn the channel," they seemed to say "the Pope might die at any moment". I admit to being to being one of those sucked in to the non-stop coverage.

I'm not one an old-fashioned deist who believes God created the world and that's it. But I'm not convinced either that God is as active in the affairs of man as some might think. After the mess man has made of things over the past few centuries I wouldn't be surprised to find out the Creator of the Universe is more interested in observing the progress of microscopic bacteria on a planet in another galaxy than the meddlesome, sometimes selfish, sometimes bloodthirsty descendants of Adam. Sometimes though I think HE does like to send his ungrateful creations on Earth a message (whether we heed it is another matter entirely). Sometimes these messages can be rather obvious (think of The Great Flood or the Exodus from Egypt), sometimes simple but with great meaning (think of Christ) and sometimes seemingly complex but in reality so clear that only the hard-hearted and self-absorbed (which is unfortunately a lot of people) can't see it. The life of Karol Wojtyla is one of those last kind of message.

But then I look at what's going on now these past few days since the Pope's death and when I see the outpouring of genuine love (and some phony love too no doubt) for a man said (by his critics) to be an out-of-touch autocrat in a so-called archaic church on the decline it brings to mind many questions:

- If Catholicism is dead or dying (especially in Europe) as some tell us

Like I said, sometimes God tries to tell us something.
But the BIG question is: How many of us are listening?

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