Tuesday, April 12, 2005

John Paul and St. Patrick

In 1979, John Paul said this to a group of seminarians in Ireland:
"I wish to recall to you one simple but important lesson taken from the life of St. Patrick, and it is this: in the history of evangelization, the destiny of an entire people--your people--was radically affected for time and eternity because of the fidelity with which St. Patrick embraced and proclaimed the Word of God, and by reason of the fidelity with which St. Patrick pursued his call to the end.
"...God counts on you: he makes his plans, in a way, depend on your free collaboration.
"The Catholic faith of Ireland today was linked, in God's plan, to the fidelity of St. Patrick. And tomorrow, yes, tomorrow some part of God's plan will be linked to your fidelity--to the fervor with which you say yes to God's Word in your lives.... Remember St. Patrick. Remember what the fidelity of just one man has meant for Ireland and the world."

I remember reading those words at the time and they made a deep impression on me. I had made my first profession of vows about 3 months before, and they inspired me to want to live out better the vocation God had called me to, despite all my failings.

But reading them now, after all these years, in light of what this Pope's pontificate has meant for the Church and the world, makes me so grateful that the pope lived out his vocation so faithfully. We can say, "Remember John Paul. Remember what the fidelity of just one man has meant for the Church and the whole world!"


Sixtina87 said...

You just love to write and write, don't you??? I can tell that you have a strong devotion to the Pope and thats wonderful. What impacts has he made in your life???

Bobbi said...

I am grateful for the opportunity to write about what John Paul's fidelity has meant to me personally.

As the wife of a(former)ordained minister of word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church USA, John Paul gave me hope in a time of despair. By 1994, at the age of 39, I had become more and more dissatisfied with the denomination’s accommodation of the culture. I became more aware of a clear, compassionate voice coming from Rome. While I had admired John Paul II from time to time throughout his pontificate, he was naturally a marginal figure in my life to that point. But as I watched the PCUSA and other mainline Protestant denominations drift farther from their moral and doctrinal moorings, what I heard about him in the media made it clear the Catholic Church was not about to abandon the Gospel.

After a long journey, my husband and I entered into full communion with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil in 1995. The deep joy of knowing Christ in the Eucharist is always with me. I have the joy of walking beside others in their journey of faith as an RCIA catchist.

I am deeply grateful to God for the life of the Pope who helped me find my spiritual home in the Catholic Church.