Today is the anniversary of the death of our dear papa, John Paul II. Two years ago Dom and I, just recently engaged, were at a conference with Scott and Kimberly Hahn. Dom was working for CWNews at that point and thus was frequently dodging back to the lobby to check on the latest news so he could post the update on CWN when it came. We were pretty certain it could come that day. When the news did come, Fr. Clark, whose parish was hosting the conference, quietly told Scott who then led us in prayer. There, among my brothers and sisters in faith, at the threshold of my new life with Dom, I paused to pray for our dear Papa and remembered what my sister had said the day before: imagine him dancing with Mother Teresa. Oh the joy in heaven!
Many people have been sharing their reflections and remembrances on this anniversary, but so far the best thing I’ve seen on the internet on the subject is Elizabeth Foss’s reflection. She shares her memories and experiences, here, a loving tribute to the Papa we all loved.
Update: Another beautiful reflection from Karen Edmisten. I especially love this part:
… although I knew his prayers for �all the faithful� included me, I also knew that on a practical level, JPII didn�t know me. He didn�t know for whom or for what I prayed, he didn�t know my private struggles and many weaknesses. He didn�t know how much I personally needed him. Now he does.
As I prayed at Mass, on Divine Mercy Sunday, I felt an overwhelming need to cry out to my papa. I asked him to pray for me. I felt drenched in his love and paternal concern as I imagined his beaming face. I felt convinced, down to my bones, that he now knows. He knows every private struggle that I reveal to him in prayer and he will lay them before my Heavenly Father�s throne, in urgent and loving intercession. He is now present to me as never before.
Another update: Oh, I’m crying again! Suzanne Temple of Blessed Among Men
writes about her son Simeon, who like so many children I know, like my own nephew JohnPaul, was spontaneously attracted to John Paul II, in love with him not because of parental prompting but because he was our Papa and inspired such love:
“Oh, Simeon,” I said gently,“Pope John Paul died today.”
He looked at me with surprise. This was the first he had heard that the Pope was even unwell. He hadn’t been expecting this like I had been.
“Really?” he asked as his eyes filled with tears.
“Oh Simeon,” I said and embraced him. As he sobbed in my arms, I let go my own emotions and cried, too. Quite suddenly and unexpectedly, I saw my six year old son in some way as an equal. Not so much that he had grown up or that I had become very little, but we met somehow on a plane outside of time. For one beautiful moment, my son and I were a brother and sister in the Faith, comforting one another because we had lost our dearly beloved “Papa in Rome.”