John Paul II's Last Lesson: on Suffering

Explains Benedict XVI

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 22, 2005 ( Benedict XVI said that the last lesson that Pope John Paul II left to humanity was to show with his example that suffering has meaning.

Today, when reviewing with the Roman Curia the key events of 2005 for the Church, Benedict XVI began by reliving the last days of John Paul II.

«No Pope has left us an amount of texts as he has left us; previously, no Pope was able to visit, as he did, the whole world and speak directly to the people of all the continents,» Benedict XVI said. «But at the end, he was given a path of suffering and silence. …

«With his words and deeds, he gave us great things; but no less important is the lesson he gave us from the chair of suffering and silence.»

The German Pontiff said that John Paul II «left us an interpretation of suffering which is not a theological or philosophical theory, but a ripe fruit through his personal journey of suffering, undertaken by him with the support of faith in the crucified Lord.»

«This interpretation, which he had elaborated of the faith and which gave meaning to his suffering, lived in communion with that of the Lord, spoke through his silent suffering, transforming it into a great message,» Benedict XVI continued.

Evil’s limit

He said that, in the face of «the spectacle of the power of evil» in the 20th century, John Paul II answered the question that every man asks himself: «Is evil perhaps invincible? Is it the ultimate, authentic power of history?»

«The power that puts a limit to evil is divine mercy,» explained Benedict XVI. Likewise, divine mercy puts a limit «to violence, to the ostentation of evil.»

«The lamb is stronger than the dragon, we might say with Revelation,» he added.

Evil «also exists in the world to awaken love in us, which is giving of oneself,» said Benedict XVI when touching on some of the ideas highlighted by John Paul II.

«Surely we must do everything possible to attenuate suffering and prevent injustice which causes the suffering of the innocent,» Benedict XVI added. «However, we must also do everything possible so that people will be able to discover the meaning of suffering and, in this way, be able to accept their own suffering and unite it to the suffering of Christ.»

At a time of much violence in the world, John Paul II «again showed us love and suffering at the service of others,» Benedict XVI said. «He showed us, so to speak, ‘live,’ the Redeemer and redemption, and gave us the certainty that evil does not have the last word in the world.»

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