SIMPLY - A WITNESS
FR. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
It has already been 7 years since the death of the Holy Father, and a year since his beatification. From the perspective of this time, today we are looking at the great event in the history of the Church and the world, which was the pontificate opening humankind to God so much. Communists felt it very well, therefore, at any cost - even at the cost of the assassination to his life - they were trying to disturb him in proclaiming Christ's Gospel, especially in the countries where they were holding the authority and after the death of the Holy Father - they were trying to treat his surroundings with disrespect (let's remember the attack on Father Konrad Hejmo, and later on other priests). But we must remember that the Church is managed not only by the human heart and mind, but when somebody is against the Church, he is against God. Although new generations of Poles are entering the life, the memory of John Paul II is still lively and is transformed onto new forms of expressing worship and respect towards him, also onto new forms of evangelisation (richness of Papal Days, grants of the Fund 'Work of New Millenium', evangelisation of the youngest, visual evangelisation, etc.); For, also John Paul II was an extremely innovatory man, as far as preaching the Gospel is concerned, and he did it with passion and joy, which was proved by his unusual pilgrimages to the nations of the world, monumental Worldly Youth Days, to which more and more young people arrived from sometimes far distances and which were often a life chance to them, a great heritage of his teaching, but also literary works, supporting education and art, etc. I will also mention here Wednesday audiences, mostly also the private ones, which especially cost him a lot of effort at the end of his life, but they were a meeting with holiness to us - when he was teaching and demanded, first of all, from himself till the end. He was honest and authentic in everything what he did, therefore he attracted everybody so much. He was also honest and authentic in his life through his faith. And we saw it very well, too; simply a witness.
Therefore, we were so emotionally agitated by this death, although, taking it in a human way, he was a man in old age and who was ill and experienced by his life. We remember that evening very well. The whole world stood in stillness. We remember these pictures, saved on film tapes: old and young people - everybody thoughtful, crying, plunged in a prayer, looking steadily at the windows of the Papal palace. It was similar in many places of the world. People gathered around churches to pray and thank God for the gift of such a friend of God and people. The Great Pope died. It was something more for us, Poles - the father of the nation died, the greatest of Poles to whom we are so grateful for so many things. We are still uncovering his wise thoughts anew and we reach for the great testimony of his faith, faithful to God, Church and homeland. How many things the Church is grateful to him for. For his teaching was a continuation of what the Second Vatican Council had elaborated. The time was still bringing new challenges and problems, and he was trying to find God's medication for them, a good because God's advice: also how often he asked God for necessary graces in his personal fervent prayer. He did not avoid expressing reprimands or calling everybody to order but he did it all from love and with love to the man; everybody, even this one who had done the assassination to his life. He taught about important matters, both for the community of the general Church and for every man. The world was following him and listening to his teaching, his words. Not everybody and not always agreed with him in everything but these words were always significant, full of explanation and friendly to everybody. The words, he had said on special occasions, have remained in our memory, and they concerned our nation, faith and the cross, the words which we recall today, when some people want to trivialize the Church and the cross, remove them from our minds or eradicate from our soul. However, he himself is the best testimony about how many good things a man of faith can do and how he can make the name of his homeland famous. There is still a lot to say about John Paul II - and thoughts about him are still very lively and breathe with unfeigned admiration. We say that he is a great promoter of the civilisation of love. His example shows best that such a life has got sense, that only such a civilisation can be called the civilisation of the future. John Paul II left us a great testament and life indications of great importance. When we are today often knocked down by various problems, neo-paganism is pushing its way into our life with a vengeance, anniversaries connected with John Paul II and his pontificate may bring his person to the memory as well as attitudes and thoughts which are transformation of the principles of the Gospel onto the present times.