Perfection of life,
is the perfection of love.
For love, is the life of the soul.
-francis de sales
Yes, Karol Wojtyla (AKA Pope John Paul II) perfected life by being perfected in Love.
Karol was born into a family. And, like most Poles he was given the gift of baptism by his religious parents. He developed natural talents and interests: in sports, the outdoors, the theater, books, and of course, a captivating raven-haired beauty with a flair for the dramatic(s). Nothing too unusual – except perhaps – for the many languages he was acquiring; nine in all.
…Seriously impressed as I struggle to keep up my Duolingo streak — even during Covid quarantine.
Like the rest of us, he was not immune to suffering. At a young age he lost his mother, Emilia. A few years later, when Karol was twelve, his older brother, Edmund, died serving as a doctor during a Scarlet Fever outbreak.
…Shout out to our Healthcare Heroes! Thank you for saving lives!
His motherland was invaded first by Germans, and then by Russians. With these forces came decrees limiting Catholic worship, freedom of movement and the freedom to gather. Catholic education became a punishable crime. The aim? Destroy the Church by destroying it’s culture.
…No worries here in the States. Life will return to normal. Hopefully soon!
He knew the strain and exhaustion of hard, physical labor on the body, while he worked long days in the rock quarries. He also knew well the pain of injury, having been struck by a German truck, laying him up in the hospital for two excruciating weeks.
…So thankful that the concussion he suffered did not have long term effects – for his thought has formed me; it is a pearl of wisdom- even if it requires much.
Grief soon entered his life again with his father’s passing. Karol was alone at just twenty-one years of age.
Shortly after the loss of his father, his friends and neighbors were rounded up by the foreign invaders, many to disappear permanently; with Karol just narrowly escaping, finding refuge from the fate of his community in the basement of the Archbishop of Krakow.
..Now, that’s a hell’a lot to suffer. Really. It is.
This exile allowed Karol Wojtyla the freedom to become who he was meant to be. With the providential hand of God guiding him, Karol was ordained a priest in secret – and through the grace of the sacrament – now had his soul configured to Christ. His mission had begun and through the loom of Providence, this man born to a humble family, would become Saint Pope John Paul II.
We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures, we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son Jesus.
As I wandered through the exhibit, full of precious relics of a father of many, I could feel this gentle shepherd’s presence walking with me, as a sweet companion on this part of my journey; One of the many times my spiritual father would walk with me, his child, over the course of my life – for he chose me before I chose him.
This love – this Eternal Love – he shows to me, is proof of his perfection of Life, for it is through this sacrificial Love that I was birthed through prayer. Forgetting himself, John Paul II, danced with grace letting the Spirit take the lead as he travailed for the world and especially, for the little lost lambs. You know, the weak and broken ones.
This Spirit is of the One who is mysterious and old. The One who rose before the Dawn. The One who called forth being from the depths He formed. The One always present to the Father’s Will. The Ancient of Days. Truth and Mercy. Love Incarnate. Jesus.
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