WITH BLESSED JOHN PAUL II IN THE YEAR OF FAITH
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
We have hosted cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz in the editorial office recently, the metropolitan of Cracow and a long-time secretary of Blessed John Paul II, a legendary man. There was a statue of Blessed John Paul II on a table. During our conversation I noticed that it is a statue for the Polish Church, for our parishioners, for the Year of Faith, and I asked how the Priest Cardinal would call it. Without thinking he answered: A Witness of Faith. We all signed under this name with both hands.
People need witnesses, as well as faith needs them. In the Year of Faith, we will mainly be looking for its witnesses, those who entrusted their life to God completely and were going and are going – with God throughout their life. John Paul II turned out to be an unusual witness of faith; a convincing witness, especially that many if us knew him personally. But we all also were with him during his pilgrimages to homeland and we listened to his speeches, we saw him praying at an altar – also in the Chapel of the Miraculous Image at Jasna Góra, in Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, sometimes in the private papal chapel in Vatican.
John Paul II was presented as a special witness of faith by his friend, and today deceased Fr. Professor Tadeusz Styczeń, in his texts. In the end of his life the Holy Father, the priest compared him to Christ in Getsemania, left by everybody. And it seems that he was right. For John Paul II, despite his being under a good care of the closest surroundings, in his suffering and also in great responsibility lain onto him, was alone, not often understood by people – nor by the people of the Church, not appreciated and even neglected. Therefore, the Priest Professor appealed to everybody to be together with suffering Christ and suffering Pope.
Today we are looking at John Paul II being in the glory of altars, blessed, who in the vision of happiness sees directly the only God in the Holy Trinity. Now we can pray to him. At the same time, here, on the Earth, he left us his legacy, mainly included in papal documents and in his teaching during many pilgrimages to homeland. He really wanted to support his compatriots in difficult moments but also work on their developments, therefore he put us demands, he emphasized how important it is to perceive the most important matters in the social, family and personal life.
The message of John Paul II is addressed to all of us – to you and me. We must notice it. The Year of Faith is an occasion to take advantage of the depth of its faith and teaching not losing its actuality.
So, we present a kind of suggestion to priests and everybody for whom the legacy of John Paul II is valuable. Let’s invite our blessed Compatriot in the form of his statue to our church, chapel, a parish hall. The roadside shrines became deserted. Holy statues used to be in them, at which people were praying, especially in May and June. Hasn’t the suitable time come for us to place shrines with the figure of John Paul II in public places, at the side of roads, in our households or gardens?
We need the saints in their signs – a figure, bass-relief, picture. They remind us of the most important things, direct our way of thinking into a right direction. Monumental statues of John Paul II are expensive and require a special form of work. It is easier to have not a big statue of the Blessed pope, placing it in the Year of Faith –in agreement with a priest – in the general space of life and surround it with a cult. Our joy would be bigger if in the Year of Faith blessed John Paul II would be canonized. Personalizing the person of the Saint Compatriot in the places of our life will surely be something healing for our whole nation.
Blessed John Paul II, who are starting your special duty for us in the Year of Faith, please, help us experience this time in the closest relation with God in the Only Holy Trinity. Please, support our requests and best intentions through your intercession to God, please ask for God’s help and mercy for those who need them the most. Let your ‘TotusTuus’ become an example for our beloved God and entrustment to Him, and let your bright person enlighten our darkness of everyday life. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.