JP2 We Love You

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The Catholic Post invited readers to share their experiences with the Holy Father and thoughts on his legacy. Since I feel JPII has had a deep effect on my life, I responded and since I love to share about my love for Il Papa, I decided to share my response here too. I know its long and probably full of typos, but the Klingon clinging to my knees does not help me write well.

When I was little, I remember reading the Pope's biography in comic book form at the Family Resource Center in Peoria and renting from there "The Jeweler's Shop," a screen adaptation of one of the Holy Father's plays. Then came the chance to see him in Denver. World Youth Day '93 was a changing moment in my life.

Cherry Creek State Park was 12 years ago, but I can still hear John Paul II saying "It is time to preach it from the rooftops." He encouraged the young people present to imitate the early Apostles in their fearless preaching of the Gospel. Those words stayed with me through adolescence and I tried hard to live that message among my friends in high school, even picking up the nick-name "pope" because I was such a big fan.

After high school, I took a year to work in Nashville. There, in a library belonging to the Nashville Dominicans, I read some of the Pope's plays. It was here that I realized the Holy Father's love of family life and through his writing I began to see the great holiness of the home. I also read Blessed Are the Pure of Heart and understood the call to celibacy much more clearly.

The University of Illinois, where I went to college, provided a big "rooftop." Though pro-life activism I had many opportunities to preach the Gospel of Life and the words from Cherry Creek provided encouragement. The words "do not be afraid," with which the Holy Father started his pontificate and has repeated numerous times, also resounded in my heart.

I continued reading the writings of the Holy Father and plowed through part of the Theology of Body. During this time I was attempting to discern my vocation and I found the writings of John Paul II to be very helpful. By reading his works, I realized how perfectly each person's vocation matches their personhood. I finally understood that discernment did not mean figuring out some cosmic plan - it meant figuring out the glory God created me for. I had always been attracted to the holiness and charity of women religious, but in reading the Holy Father's writings, I became convinced that the Domestic Church also possessed tremendous sanctity and that was the path God laid in front of me.

Then came the great Jubilee Year, and I went to another World Youth Day. Here the Pope called us to be "Saints of the New Millennium," and not only that, but he said it with such hope that we would all respond generously. He seem convicted that all 2 million of us could be saints, and I did not want to disappoint him.

A few more years passed and I went to World Youth Day in Toronto with my brother and some close friends, including my boyfriend who is now my husband. Seeing him there and again later that summer in Rome taught me a very important lesson I needed to learn before getting married. The Pope's voice was weak and his movements difficult, but his presence was strong because it was full of love. The idea of preaching from the rooftops had been with me so long and I was struggling to understand how I could continue to do that as a wife and mother. The Holy Father's example showed me that the Gospel can be preached loudly without words simply by loving at all times, in all places.

My husband and I both found a mentor in the John Paul II, and guided by his words and the teaching of Holy Mother Church, we entered marriage with a complete openness to life, knowing that for us it would mean poverty and sacrifice. When I became pregnant with our son, I was too sick to work. Not being able to leave the couch gave me lots of time to read "Witness to Hope," by George Weigel. It was inspiring and touching, but the most tender part for me was reading about the families that were the Holy Father's dear friends in Poland and how he and guided them. Though separated by many years and miles, I felt like my little family was one of them. These days my rooftop is a sink full of dirty dishes or the grocery store line, and I think the Holy Father would approve.

John Paul II hopes in young people. Not an empty optimism that "children are the future," but a powerful, challenging belief that young people are today. His call to young people is not asking them to grow up to be saints, but to be holy now and to change the world around them today. His many writings provide tremendous insight on how live out this call. Some might feel his prolific and profound writings are his legacy, but in my eyes, these writings are merely meant to accompany the call to holiness which John Paul II has issued to the young people of the world. It is this challenge, this hope, that will be his legacy.

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Yey for Mama-Lu!

That was really good! I am extremely grateful I got to listen to you from your rooftop occasionally. May God bless you with many blessings!

I echo Rosie-- I have seen you often on the rooftop, and partly because I have seen you there and at times, have seen you refuse to come down, I hope I join you there now. :)

JPII!!! We love you!!! :)

Go Mama-Lu! I love you!

I, for one am proud yet humbled to share a rooftop with you.

yay mommy! thanks for being the best mommy! i love you!

p.s. what is a klingon? does that mean i'm cute?


Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

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This page contains a single entry by Mama-Lu published on February 21, 2005 12:36 PM.

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