MIAMI, Florida, APRIL 16, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Here is a reflection on the upcoming beatification of Pope John Paul II, written by Mother Adela Galindo.
Mother Adela is a native of Nicaragua, and the founder (in 1990) of the religious institute of sisters, Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The institute was established in the Archdiocese of Miami.
* * *January 2011
Feast of St. Francis de SalesDear Family:
With tears in my eyes and with gratitude in my heart, I write to you at receiving the great news of the gift of the coming beatification of John Paul II, our spiritual father. I know that all of you can imagine what this moment means for my heart…There are no words with which I can express what my heart is experiencing before this long awaited-for news, so yearned for with much prayer, fasting, offerings and great responsibility; responsibility that is a fruit of understanding the immense gift that we have received in the life, person, heart, and pontificate of John Paul II. A gift that is also our task.
There are no words to describe the profound gratitude that we should experience toward God the Father for elevating, in the heart of the Church, of the world and before our eyes, this great witness of love, truth, life and hope. Even after his death he continues being and doing the same that he did during his earthly life: “being a witness.” He was, is, and continues to be in the heart of the Church and of the world, a great witness…and on the First of May, the day of his Beatification, the Holy Father Benedict XVI, will elevate this great witness of our times, to the peak of the mountain so that his very luminous legacy can be a lighted candle that illumines the way and the history of the Church of the Third Millennium.The Mission of John Paul II was to be a witness:
To be a faithful witness, an ardent witness that love can do all things, that love is possible and that love is our greatest dignity and, at the same time, our greatest mission. That love is not a utopia, but rather it is capable of building a new civilization built upon the choices of love that each heart makes with responsibility.
To be a witness that darkness and evil do not have the last word, that evil has a limit: the potency of Divine Mercy that pardons all, heals all, restores all, elevates all, and creates. It creates, from all that is evil, an infinitely greater good.
To be a witness of the gift of the Maternal Heart of the Virgin Mary; that each disciple is called to receive her into the home of his heart and to give full freedom to her mission and maternal mediation, in order to allow her to form the human heart in wisdom, in grace, and in Christian and human maturity to be missionaries and apostles of Christ in the world. He was the great witness of the potency of belonging totally to Mary, of the fact that the Heart of the Virgin, Our Mother, is the most perfect and efficacious home and school for forming the human heart in the ways of heroic love and the holiness expressed in daily choices of love. He was the great witness of the potency that exists in giving a total and a generous Totus Tuus to Our Mother so we can be formed, in her immaculate and maternal hands, into ardent witnesses of the power and fecundity of love.
To be a witness of the dignity and greatness of the human person, of the true face of man…that man is capable of God, capable of his love, and capable of being his face, his voice, his hands, his feet, and a living reflection of His Love. He is a witness that the human person was created for full freedom, a freedom that resides in the gift of being able to choose the good, of making choices of the highest grade of love, choices that transform his history and the history of the world in the history of salvation. He was a witness that the human heart is capable of loving to the point of giving his life…capable of “being a gift,” of donating himself with generosity, unconditionality, with totality, integrity, and courage…capable of loving and donating himself without limits, and that in that love, in that donation, resides his greatest dignity.
To be a witness of Christian hope, a witness that in the terribly dark moments of human history, God makes himself present, God enters into history in so many forms…God intervenes in history, raising up men and women that, in the simplicity and generosity of their fiats, become witnesses of hope, lighted candles, rays of light that pierce the darkness and reveal to humanity that only with God and in God can man live and walk with meaning, and that only in Him can he find his highest destiny. A witness of hope…that where evil abounds, good super-abounds…that where darkness, error, violence, and the disorientation of the human heart seem to reign, God in his mercy always sends “stars” that illumine the storms of the ocean of history and, with their light, redirect its horizon, its origin, its destiny, its path…Yes, John Paul was a witness of hope…that in the dark chapters of human history, God is always with us and, with generous hearts, He writes new and more luminous chapters.
To be a “witness” to the salvific power of human suffering. John Paul, formed in the school of the Cross since he was a child, was a witness -in first person- that suffering, in all of its forms, only reaches its most profound meaning and its highest fecundity on the Cross and in light of the Cross of Our Redeemer. John Paul II learned suffering in the school of the pierced Heart…He knew profoundly the pain of the loss of his loved ones, his friends, his mentors, his brother seminarians…He knew the effects of a lack of freedom, of the trampling of human dignity, of persecution, of war, of injustice, of loneliness, of infirmity…He knew the martyrdom of peoples and the suffering caused by totalitarian regimes, regimes without God…that, whatever their name, their end is always the destruction of man. John Paul was formed in the school of the Cross…He knew its form…its shape, its force…its pain…its wisdom…and he did not run from it, but rather he made it his path, his most efficacious means of transforming himself into another Christ…John Paul understood that only love, revealed in the Pierced Heart of Jesus on the Cross, gives the answer, the meaning, and the most profound value to human suffering. That only love transforms suffering into a fecund fountain.
To be a witness that human love is the most precious gift and most arduous task of the human person. That love, which is always a gift should be cultivated, guarded, communicated and elevated with the mature response of the heart. John Paul was a witness that love is authentic when one lives it with responsibility: that the gift of love is always a task. John Paul was a valiant and untiring witness of the Family and of its mission in the life of the Church and the world. He taught us that the family is the place where the human person is introduced to love, learns love, experiences love, and is formed to love…That the Family is the Home and School of the human heart, the place where the civilization of love begins and is built. Where the human person learns what is his dignity, his value, his gift…and where he learns to donate himself. John Paul is a witness that the Family “is the way of man” and, therefore, is “the way of the Church”…that the family and man will always be her greatest mission…and that the value, dignity, and fecundity of human love can only understand itself in the light of divine love… John Paul witnessed, before all of us, his donation as a spouse and as a father…He donated himself completely, he donated his heart, his “personal I,” his gifts and his life…he donated his body…even physically spilling his blood and in St. Peter’s Plaza. And he taught us that the human body should be a visible expression, a transparent, pure, and fecund communication of conjugal love.To be a witness of the Sacre dness of Life…of how much we have to love life, how much we have to care for it and respect that immense gift…He taught us with his own testimony to “embrace” each child and to discover in their faces the tenderness of God. He taught us to defend life with courage in all the Areopagus’ of the world…to make ourselves present in our historical moment and to be the voice of those that do not have one, to be the voice of the unborn …to be the voice of forgotten and abandoned elderly…to be the voice of those that suffer violence from others…John Paul took into his arms and smiled at each child that he encountered along his path…and with this so eloquent a gesture, he told the world that every child conceived in the womb of a mother is a miracle, is always a miracle of God who is Love…a miracle that should be welcomed, and that the more difficult the circumstances surrounding the conception, the more capacity that that gift, that child, has – to open an unexpected fountain of generosity and love in those who welcome his life. He is a witness that all human life, from conception until natural death, is a “gift” and that each life, each human person is always “the way of the family and the way of the Church.”
To be a witness of the peace that overcomes and crosses over the greatest barriers that divide man. He taught us that truth, love, respect, solidarity and a sincere reception of the other never, never raises up barriers, does not create them, does not keep them impenetrable…But rather overcomes them, crosses them…debilitates them…He was a witness that peace is an choice of the human heart…that peace is built when we make choices of peace, solidarity, sincere charity…when we decide not to wait for others to break down the barriers, but rather when we responsibly dispose ourselves to tear down the ones in our own hearts….and being ourselves conquered by peace…we open space in the barriers…debilitate their hardness…and they collapse. John Paul is a witness that only options that are built upon the wisdom of love construct peace, even to the point of being able to collapse the Berlin walls that exist between men.
To be an untiring Witness of the New Evangelization that is so urgent in our world and in our times. The pilgrim Pope was a witness of the Gospel before men, before the Church and before the world…until the ends of the earth. A witness before all nations…races, people, and tongues…a witness that entered the depths, that went out into the depths of all the oceans of our times…each ocean was his mission…and the mission of the Church…With an acute gaze, with a missionary ardor, and under the Star of the New Evangelization, he disposed himself with generosity to go to all peoples, to row all the oceans that presented themselves before his eyes, and to row them even though their waves were very high and the storms struck the bark of Peter. John Paul rowed into the deep and he called us – the Church of the Third Millennium – to do the same. He took all the oars which his love and missionary ardor could conceive and find, in order to row, to take Christ across the mountains like the Holy Virgin…and like Peter, throughout the nations and oceans, with promptitude, wisdom and dedication.
To be a Witness…was his mission…A witness to the dignity and sublime vocation of women…A witness of the true identity of man, called to donate himself to be a guardian … A witness of oblative love and of the spousal fecundity of the priestly heart. A witness of the potency of holiness and fecundity of consecrated life in the life of the Church… A witness of the solidarity that overcomes the selfishness of peoples and of men. A witness of humanity…of the greatness of man…the greatness that should not be renounced, but rather should be discovered in the face of God-made-Man. A witness of the Living Christ, of his Heart that beats and lives in the midst of the Church and the world in the Eucharist. A witness before the youth of the strength and the truth of the Gospel…and of the responsibility that resides in their choices in order to build their future and the future of humanity.
John Paul was a faithful, eloquent, and authentic witness of love…he loved donating himself…and he loved to the extreme: he loved Christ, his Mother, the Church and the human person… He was simply a Witness of all that is beautiful, true and good in the human heart and in the world…A witness of all that is good, beautiful and true in everyone...A faithful, ardent, untiring witness of love, of life, of truth, and of hope: he was and is a witness of God before men…and a witness of men before God.
Dear Family, his beatification is a historic moment for the Church, the world and for our family. Let us prepare ourselves by “making memory” of his legacy… entering into the gift of having been called to “have his heart continue beating through our hearts…and this family”…of “having his legacy confided to us as a path of life and as a mission”…Let us make memory in order to dispose ourselves maturely and responsibly to live, incarnate, and arduously work so that the legacy of John Paul II will mark our lives and mark the history of the Church and the world of the Third Millennium.
I invite you all to pray, read, and mediate upon his teachings…and to “go out into the deep” in the books from the last two pilgrimages in which we “contemplate together” many events, calls, lights…related to John Paul II that have marked forever our history, our identity and our mission.
The Lord in his infinite mercy, will raise up before our history…before the ocean of our history “a great witness”...our father who, in his great heart, has wanted to give me this gift during this year dedicated to “going out into the deep” and in my 25th Anniversary of giving my own totus tuus.
I give thanks with all my heart to the Lord, to Our Mother…and to John Paul II, for the fact that the miracle that elevates him to the altars has taken place precisely in a religious. This is a very beautiful and eloquent sign that his Beatification has been made possible through a miracle of healing that his intercession obtained for a religious. I believe that John Paul, being a Pope of so many petrine gestures for the marian heart…has wanted also in his Beatification to direct our gaze to the feminine religious life, the extension in history of the marian presence. John Paul, even from the home of the Father, continues giving us signs of his petrine love for the marian principle, of his petrine mission of healing, elevating and guarding the dignity and mission of women in the life of the Church and the world. Thank you, John Paul…for this gesture of love for the feminine genius!!! Thank you for your Josephite, petrine and priestly heart, for guarding over the Mother and the Child with your heart…for giving your life for your spouse -the Church…and for all of us, the child that was entrusted to your care. What a gaze – so piercing and full of love – of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, to decide that your Beatification should take place on May 1st , feast of St. Joseph the Worker, the first day of the month of May, month of Our Lady, and Divine Mercy Sunday. The Holy Family and John Paul II!
Dear Family, let us prepare ourselves in prayer, reflection, and gratitude to celebrate this next May 1st, Divine Mercy Sunday, with the great gift of hearing Pope Benedict XVI…say…“I proclaim…Venerable John Paul II…Blessed in the heart of the Church”…the floodgates of Mercy will be opened wide by the promise that the Heart of Jesus made to St. Faustina…but I know that this year, together with the marian hands of St. Faustina, there will be the petrine hands of John Paul opening with great strength these floodgates of Mercy for the whole Church, the world, humanity…and our family.
May John Paul II teach us “to make memory” of all the legacy of John Paul II in order to grow “in identity” and to take up with more ardor and genero sity “the mission of the Church of the Third Millennium: the New Evangelization. May we discover each day the gift we have received in order to respond to this gift with love and responsibility. John Paul II…What can I say, dear family! My words to describe the gift of John Paul II are so poor…at least I tried to open to you my heart in gratitude to our spiritual father…to that heart that I so looked for and that came out to meet me from a balcony on October 16th, 1978.Do not be afraid, open wide the doors of your heart to Christ the Redeemer!
May love always triumph…as it triumphed in him!
Mother Adela, sctjm