|01-02-2011 - Traces, n. 2
THE GLORY AND
Pope Benedict XVI's announcement of the beatification of Pope John Paul II has of course also made me "very happy," as Pope Benedict himself said. The news has struck me at various levels of experience, so to speak. First, I was in awe before this demonstration of the Lord's Presence and care for His Church at a time of so much confusion, scandal, filth (Pope Benedict's own word), weakness of faith, relativism, and suppression of the desires that make us human. Now we can see, in the midst of all of this, Christ cared for His Church through the leadership, teachings, and gestures of a saint.
And then I think about the times we were together, even before he became Pope. At that time, I felt I was in the presence of a man whose humanity was "heavy." I thought about one of the meanings of the Greek word doxa, which is often translated as "glory." Next to Cardinal Wojtyla I felt, that first time, the "weight of a glory" that had taken hold of his humanity. I don't know how else to describe it, but it was as if his humanity was the gate to a black hole in space with its unimaginable force of gravity. I concentrate on the first day I met him, since there were no "props" that could be contributing to this aura of glory that emanated from his presence: no white cassock, no window high in a castle, no choir–nothing but a simple man having a bowl of corn flakes.
Finally, I am thinking of the times I had the grace of concelebrating the Eucharist with Pope John Paul II, standing next to him at his invitation, proclaiming the Gospel, preparing the offering, pronouncing together with him the words of consecration, praying for the Pope and the Church in the Eucharistic Prayer, and being given by him the chalice with the Precious Blood to hold up as we pronounced the final words of the Eucharistic Prayer.
I pray now that, through the intercession in heaven of Blessed John Paul II, I might be able to continue walking along the path enlightened for me by Fr. Giussani and the communion with him to which I have been called.