Sunday, May 01, 2011

Blessed John Paul II: the Marian Pope

George Weigel and Sandro Magister have written excellent pieces about the significance of the beatification of Pope John Paul II as well as his life and works.

For George Weigel see passim but in particular Remembering Pope John Paul II (ABC Religion and Ethics 1st May 2011)

Pope John Paul II is an immense figure and will be for centuries to come.

The Pope`s homily today at his Beatification Mass could only touch on a few points of his character, works and teaching.

On the Vatican website the section A Tribute to John Paul II tries to summarise in pictures something of this great man. The pictures below are from this website.

The pictures are beautiful and wonderful. Very evocative. Hopefully they will spread and encourage his devotion.

One theme in Blessed Pope John Paul II`s life is his extraordinary devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The examples are legion. You need only look at his Encyclical Redemptoris Matris (25th March 1987), Letter to All Consecrated Persons Belonging to Religious Communities and Secular Institutes on the Occasion of the Marian Year (Pentecost, May 22, 1988 ) and his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (16th October 2002)

In his homily today Pope Benedict XVI said:

"Our thoughts turn to yet another beatitude, one which appears in the Gospel before all others. It is the beatitude of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer.

Mary, who had just conceived Jesus, was told by Saint Elizabeth: “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord” (Lk 1:45). The beatitude of faith has its model in Mary, and all of us rejoice that the beatification of John Paul II takes place on this first day of the month of Mary, beneath the maternal gaze of the one who by her faith sustained the faith of the Apostles and constantly sustains the faith of their successors, especially those called to occupy the Chair of Peter.

Mary does not appear in the accounts of Christ’s resurrection, yet hers is, as it were, a continual, hidden presence: she is the Mother to whom Jesus entrusted each of his disciples and the entire community. In particular we can see how Saint John and Saint Luke record the powerful, maternal presence of Mary in the passages preceding those read in today’s Gospel and first reading. In the account of Jesus’ death, Mary appears at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:25), and at the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles she is seen in the midst of the disciples gathered in prayer in the Upper Room (Acts 1:14)....

[Pope John Paul II] was fully aware that the Council’s decision to devote the last chapter of its Constitution on the Church to Mary meant that the Mother of the Redeemer is held up as an image and model of holiness for every Christian and for the entire Church.

This was the theological vision which Blessed John Paul II discovered as a young man and subsequently maintained and deepened throughout his life.

A vision which is expressed in the scriptural image of the crucified Christ with Mary, his Mother, at his side. This icon from the Gospel of John (19:25-27) was taken up in the episcopal and later the papal coat-of-arms of Karol Wojtyła.

A golden cross with the letter “M” on the lower right and the motto “Totus tuus”, drawn from the well-known words of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort in which Karol Wojtyła found a guiding light for his life:

Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt. Accipio te in mea omnia. Praebe mihi cor tuum, Maria – I belong entirely to you, and all that I have is yours. I take you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart” (Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, 266)."