By Mary Sayad
Most of us will agree that he was a special man of God. He was first an exceptional Christian who placed God above all else. He was the pious and devout Vicar of Rome who taught and lived forgiveness, was filled with compassion and was renowned for encouraging and inspiring the youth. He endorsed the strength and bond of family. He was immersed in prayer and communion with God, and journeyed to many countries promoting peace and respect for life.
During a time when the Church was undermined by scandals and attacked by ultra liberals, Pope John-Paul II remained steadfast and brought about changes that improved and deepened the spirituality of his flock worldwide.
"While all is shrouded in darkness, God, the Light, keeps watch." Pope John-Paul II
In every sense of the word, he practiced what he preached and regardless of his various health problems and physical limitations, he worked unceasingly towards promoting the Word of God. In spite of his illness and physical weakness Pope John-Paul II fulfilled his mission with gusto and determination. His indomitable will set new standards for acceptance of personal suffering and he showed us, his flock, how to maintain our faith and hope in eternal salvation. In all aspects of his life we will hear "Job well done!" He lived and died with spiritual conviction and gave humanity dignity by his unfaltering example.
Our holy Pope John-Paul II was a man of God who promoted the recital of the rosary and because of his great devotion to Our Blessed Mother, he added a fourth mystery to the Rosary Meditations, the Luminous Mystery.
The prayer of St. Francis de Sales helps us to understand our personal trials and sufferings:
The Everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost Heart.
This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes,
understood with His divine mind,
tested with His wise justice,
warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands
to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you.
He has blessed it with His holy Name, anointed it with His grace, perfumed it with His consolation,
taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven,
a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-,merciful love of God.
Your companion in prayer,