Saint John Paul II's Legacy, A Man of Great Humility

Saint John Paul II's Legacy, A Man of Great Humility

By Karen Riobo

The human being is single, unique, and unrepeatable, someone thought of and chosen from eternity, someone called and identified by name. - St. John Paul II. 

Today, October 22, we celebrate Karol Wojtyla or Saint John Paul II. His primary focus was rooted in giving value to the dignity of the human person. We are chosen, unique, deeply loved, and desired by God. His mother, Emilia Wojtyla, understood this truth well when choosing between her high-risk pregnancy and her life. Her Catholic faith allowed her to choose life. On May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland, Karol, her second son, was born. 

Early years 

Growing up, John Paul was athletic and enjoyed skiing and swimming. He was interested in theater and poetry in college, but the school was closed by the Nazi movement. Based on his circumstances, he decided to act upon his desire to become a priest. John Paul began studying at a secret seminary run by the archbishop of Krakow. After World War II ended, he finished his religious studies at a Krakow seminary and was ordained in 1946. 

Charismatic and Influential 

St. Pope John Paul II was a very accomplished and talented man. He spoke 11 languages, which helped him relate and communicate better with many world leaders and faithful. As Archbishop of Krakow, he was called to participate in the council that discerned Vatican II, created World Youth Day, added the Luminous Mysteries to the rosary, canonized St. Sister Faustina, and instituted Divine Mercy Sunday. To top it all off, John Paul used his influence to bring about political change and is credited with the fall of communism in Poland. These are just a few of his milestones in 27 years as Pope. His meekness and wisdom allowed him to shine the face of God to all. There are many stories about how he treated those around him and how peaceful and joyful he was. 

Mercy, his legacy, and TOB

On the feast of Our Lady of Fatima in 1981, the Pope was shot and the bullet missed his heart by a few inches. He says that Our Lady protected him. In a beautiful act of mercy, Pope John Paul paid a visit to the Turkish shooter in jail and forgave him for what he had done. 

This Pope understood the path to Holiness, which demands radical courage and compassion. 

The most groundbreaking gift this Holy Pope left us was the 129 weekly sermons from 1979 - 1984, called, Theology of the Body, where John Paul II intends to establish adequate anthropology. The human body reveals God. 

These are just a few facts of the great man that he was. A man of deep and constant prayer, it is said that the Pope will spend hours prostrated on the floor before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. He would delay his schedule at times because wherever He felt Jesus, he would stop and pray. The rosary was his weapon against the evil attacks he experienced. 

St. John Paul II showed us and encouraged us to live a life without fear. He was not afraid to address uncomfortable issues for the sake of truth. His famous line was, “Be not afraid.” 

He was who he was called to be in the Lord and had big dreams for humanity. He fully understood this scripture passage... “With man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 

A Prayer to St. John Paul II
Oh, St. John Paul, from the window of heaven, grant us your blessing! Bless the church that you loved and served and guided, courageously leading it along the paths of the world in order to bring Jesus to everyone and everyone to Jesus. Bless the young, who were your great passion. Help them dream again, help them look up high again to find the light that illuminates the paths of life here on earth.

May you bless families, bless each family! You warned of Satan’s assault against this precious and indispensable divine spark that God lit on earth. St. John Paul, with your prayer, may you protect the family and every life that blossoms from the family.

Pray for the whole world, which is still marked by tensions, wars and injustice. You tackled war by invoking dialogue and planting the seeds of love: pray for us so that we may be tireless sowers of peace.

Oh St. John Paul, from heaven’s window, where we see you next to Mary, send God’s blessing down upon us all. Amen.
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