Pope John Paul II……
THE WORLD SHOULD HAVE LEARNED
FROM ‘A WITNESS TO A TRAGIC AGE’
Pope John Paul II “was witness to the tragic age of big ideologies, totalitarian regimes, and from their passing,” said Agostino Cardinal Villani, Vicar of Rome at a prayer vigil at the Circus Maximus on the even of John Paul II’s beatification, understood mankind was passing into a “new phase of history.”
It was John Paul II’s “constant concern that the human person must be its protagonist,” he added.
“He was a staunch and credible defender of the human person to the nations and the international institutions, which respected him and have paid him homage, recognizing him as a messenger of justice and peace.”
Reflecting on John Paul II’s 27-year pontificate, Cardinal Vallini paid homage to John Paul II’s “witness of faith: a convinced and strong faith, free from fear or compromises, true until his last breath, forged by trials, fatigue, and illness, whose beneficient influence has spread throughout the Church, indeed throughout the world. His witness, through his apostolic travels, inspired millions of men and women of all races and cultures.
“He lived for God. He offered himself entirely to God to serve the Church as a sacrificial offering. He would often repeat this prayer: ‘Jesus, Pontiff, who handed himself to God as offering and victim, have mercy on us.’ His great desire was to become more and more one with Christ the priest through the Eucharistic sacrifice from which he drew strength and courage for his tireless apostolic action. Christ was the beginning, the center and the apex of each of his days. Christ was the sense and the purpose of his actions. From Christ he drew energy and fullness of humanity….
“With his gaze fixed on Christ, the Redeemer of humanity, he believed in humanity and showed his openness, trust and closeness. He loved the human person, pushing us to develop in ourselves the potential of faith to live as free persons, cooperating in the realization of a more just and caring humanity, as workers for peace and builders of hope. Convinced that only the spiritual experience can satisfy humanity he said: the fate of every person and of all peoples is tied to Christ, the only liberator and Savior….
“In his extraordinary energy of love for humanity he loved, with a kind and tender love, all those ‘wounded by life,’ as he called the poor, the sick, the nameless and those excluded a priory — but he had a particular love for the youth.
“His calls for the World Youth Days had the purpose of making youth into the protagonists of their own future, becoming builders of history. The youth, he said, are the wealth of the Church and of society. He invited them to prepare for the big choices to be made, to look ahead with confidence, trusting in their own abilities and following Christ and the Gospel….”