He lives in us
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
The main topic of the last days was again the person of John Paul II, today the Servant of God, the Pope that is admired as John Paul II the Great, the White Pilgrim, the Missionary of the World, etc. All media say cordial words recollecting John Paul II, and people had similar feelings as those they had two years ago - in order to keep praying and manifest their love for what is true, pure and beautiful and what our beloved Holy Father showed and personified. Currently, many of us realise what kind of man we dealt with, and we value our rosaries, which we received during some papal audience, remembering his earnest request to pray for him 'during life and after death'. He was known in Poland as an exceptional bishop and metropolitan. Stefan Barela, Bishop of Czestochowa, held the opinion of Cardinal Wojtyla in great respect and he often asked him for advice. We treated him as a very dear person and at the same time as someone who wrote a new chapter in the history of the Polish Church and of the homeland.
I personally got to know the future Pope in 1958. I participated in the ceremony of his consecration; I listened to his lectures at the KUL. I remember well all his sermons that he preached at Jasna Gora during various ecclesiastical celebrations... We all loved him. He was always natural, ordinary, smiling and joking. I remember his gestures that were later copied in films and pictures, for example when he leaned on his arm with one eye screwed up...
And he was also an outstanding scientist, thinker and mystic, deeply immerged in prayer as if he were from another world.
His openness to God and to man contributed to good, both the spiritual one and the material one. Let us look at Rome during his pontificate, how he opened us, Poles, to the world. As the Shepherd of the Church he showed the European community that the care for all people could not weaken the care for one's nation and country. He gave his fellow countrymen an example of true patriotism, which respects different thoughts and cultures. His contribution to the fall of the godless, Utopian communist system was valueless: he encouraged us, supported the birth of 'Solidarity', and strengthened us by 'speaking about us and for us'. He was deeply concerned about the hardships of our contemporary history. We remember his cordial prayer at the grave of Fr Jerzy Popieluszko, the priest and martyr, during his third visit to his homeland. How many good emotions this Pope invoked! How close to each of us he was! How he won even the most hardened hearts by his sincerity and warm openness! How many emotions Poles experienced during his every visit to the country! And we felt so secure and well in those large gatherings. One cannot forget that. Therefore, these days the words of one of the pilgrims contain some truth: he did not die; he lives in us and encourages us to trust God and do good in your environment.
The legacy of John Paul II is to be deepened and this is the task for many years. We are glad that his works have gathered wide popular readership. More and more known personalities quote the thoughts or words of John Paul II from his speeches in order to support their reflections and prayers. And so do those who want to live by faith.
So, with the greatest love and gratitude, we remember the wonderful person of John Paul II and are looking forward to his canonisation so that we can see him in the glory and officially direct our prayers to God through his intercession, especially in the most complicated situations as we are passing through the earth.